Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the world. However, some may be more susceptible to developing cavities than others. If you’ve ever wondered why it seems as if you have a cavity forming every time you go to the dentist, the answer very well may be because of your genes. According to research, about 60 percent of tooth decay appears to involve genetic factors. While it’s still a relatively new area of study, it is becoming more evident that tooth decay and genetics are closely related in several essential ways.
Cavities are caused by bacteria that feed on sugars from the foods we eat. The acid these bacteria produce is what causes tooth erosion and wears away your enamel. Cavities can be a result of many controllable factors, like overeating sugar or poor oral hygiene. Your genes can also play a significant role in how your teeth look and how healthy they are.
Genes are the primary producer for enamel structure. The stronger your enamel surface, the better it’s able to absorb vital minerals, like fluoride and calcium.
Saliva can be used to find polymorphisms, or gene variants, that take many forms. Your specific spit can help (or hurt) the amount of cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth.
Teeth, just like people, come in all shapes and sizes. Those cursed with crowded teeth may experience difficulty flossing, making it easy for plaque linger. Similarly, teeth with more grooves give bacteria a surplus of hiding spots.
Most cavities are 100% preventable, regardless of your genetic makeup. After all, hitting the genetic jackpot will only protect your teeth so far if you have bad oral habits or lack proper hygiene. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing cavities because of how smoking decreases your body’s saliva production levels. Additionally, a diet high in sugars and starches can have a negative effect on the health of your teeth.
While you may already be aware of how damaging sugars can be on your smile, many lesser-known culprits cause tooth decay.
Snoring can irritate your teeth over time. Breathing through your mouth while you sleep may seem innocent, but many studies have proven that it increases dry mouth. A mouth lacking saliva is an ideal place for germs to feed and spread.
It takes just 20 seconds for the bacteria in your mouth to convert sugar into cavity-causing acid. Consistent sipping and snacking reintroduce sugar to your smile. Rather than several small snacks throughout the day, focus on proper meal times, and eat a balanced meal to avoid cravings.
When it comes to the state of your oral health, you cant only blame bad genetics for your shortfalls. Specific characteristics and issues can be blamed on the collective gene pool, but for most oral health issues, you can only blame yourself. Missing dental appointments for two or more years significantly increases your risk for tooth decay. Regardless of how well you brush and floss, at-home care isn’t enough on its own. Your dentist can offer damage control and detect small potential issues before they start.
Be proactive when it comes to your health, and take the preventative approach to your oral care. Talk with your dentist about whether genetic factors could be affecting your oral health, and ask for tips on how to take better care of your teeth to avoid future issues. Contact Elite Dental & Denture PC today to discuss how your genes are affecting your smile.