You can thank your parents for a lot—but what about the state of your oral health? Researchers have long debated the relationship between nature versus nurture. The answer is usually some combination of both conditions, and the same is true for a person’s susceptibility for cavities. Your actions are by far the biggest determinants; how frequently you brush and floss your teeth, see the dentist for cleanings, and indulge in sugary desserts will have the biggest impact on your oral health. However, you might be surprised to learn that many other inherited traits also affect a person’s susceptibility to dental decay.
Were You Born to Have Bad Teeth? These Inherited Traits Impact Your Risk
1. Sweet Tooth
A recent study in Denmark shows people with the FGF21 gene were about 20% more likely to gravitate toward sweet, sugary snacks than those subjects without the gene. People with high-sugar diets are more likely to develop cavities.
2. Bite Alignment
Crevices between teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss. If food gets caught in these areas, plaque and tartar will form. Braces or oral surgery could help resolve some of these alignment issues.
3. Saliva Production
Some people don’t produce enough saliva, which causes a condition called dry mouth. Saliva helps rinse away food and bacteria from your mouth and balance the pH level. If a person has chronic dry mouth, they’ll need to see their dentist at least twice a year or more to avoid decay.
4. Saliva Composition
Saliva contains bicarbonate, which helps to regulate a person’s pH level. Families have different levels of bicarbonate in their saliva, which means some people are naturally better at controlling acidity in their mouth. When the pH level drops below 5.5, harmful bacteria will grow.
5. Oral Microbiome
Everyone inherits bacteria from their parents when they’re born. Some scientists hypothesize this microbiome could affect a person’s propensity for tooth decay. However, new research shows most of the inherited oral bacteria strains get replaced over time, and it’s unusual to inherit the “bad” bacteria that can cause cavities.
Sometimes the odds seem stacked against you when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy. If you need oral surgery, a tooth extraction, or another oral pathology service in Tarrant County, TX, turn to the trusted professionals at Alliance Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Dentists David Parmer, DDS, MD, and James Macholl, DDS, MD, have over 25 years of experience and provide compassionate, thorough care. They’re committed to helping you understand your treatment and helping you make informed decisions about your health. To learn more about their services, visit their website, or call (817) 741-2200 to schedule an appointment today.