• Can Your Genes Influence Your Risk For Cavities?

    on Jan 13th, 2017

There a lot of things that we can blame on our parents, ranging from bad hair to poor eyesight. However, new studies show that you may also be able to point fingers at your genetics for your susceptibility to cavities. While there isn’t a specific gene that directly causes a cavity, there are a few genes that contribute to decay. In fact, up to 60% of the risk for tooth decay derives from genetic factors.

Scientists have found that the following three genetic tendencies can play a significant role in the development of cavities:


A “Sweet Tooth”

There are actually gene variants that display a range of “sweet preference” in an individual. Therefore, if your mom or dad passed on the gene to crave more sweets or sugary foods, your teeth may suffer the consequences.


Soft Teeth

You may have heard the phrase, “I inherited my soft teeth.” This refers to a softer and weaker enamel (the outer layer of your tooth). Since genes play a role in the development of your tooth structure and since softer enamel is more vulnerable to acid and bacteria damage, we can safely assume that genetics can make you more susceptible to cavities.


Spit Volume

Your spit or saliva plays a critical role in keeping your teeth protected. Not only does saliva wash away bacteria and food debris that cause cavities, but it can also neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. Some people are genetically made to produce more saliva than others. If your parents handed down a “low saliva trait”, you may consequently battle cavities more frequently than someone who has an sufficient spit production.

While we can certainly acknowledge and plan for these genetic tendencies that affect our oral health, it is ultimately within our control to maintain a healthy smile. There is still a large majority of your oral health that depends on strong brushing and flossing habits and visiting your dentist regularly. If you do know that you have “soft teeth” or that you crave an abundance of sugar, let your dentist know. At Dentistry of Highland Village, we are fully capable of keeping your teeth cavity-free, regardless of your genetic makeup.


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