When it comes to cavities, do some people have a genetic predisposition? Or is bad behavior to blame?
Research shows that may be it’s a little of both.
The Gene Factor
Like left-handed people and redheads, cavities can be genetic. Here’s how:
Genes are the primary producer for enamel structure. The stronger your enamel surface, the better it’s able to absorb key minerals, like fluoride and calcium.
Saliva can be used to find polymorphisms — gene variants that take many forms. And your specific spit can help (or hurt) the amount of cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth, according to a 2010 study.
Teeth, just like people, come in all shapes and sizes. Those cursed with crowded chompers may experience difficulty flossing, making it easy for plaque to stay put. Similarly, teeth with more grooves give bacteria a surplus of hiding spots.
When Bad Behaviors are to Blame
Most cavities are 100% preventable, but hitting the genetic jackpot will only get you so far if you neglect your teeth. Smoking and sugar are obvious oral health no-no’s, but what about the lesser-known culprits?
Here are some not-so-obvious behaviors that can contribute to cavities:
Snoring can irritate your teeth (in addition to your spouse). Breathing through your mouth has been shown to increase dry mouth, creating a perfect place for germs to go wild.
• Constant Snacking
After you eat sugar, it takes just 20 seconds to convert it to cavity-causing acid. Consistent sipping and snacking reintroduces sugar to your smile. In terms of eating/snacking, time trumps amount.
• Dental Appointment Skippers
If you’ve missed a dental appointment, it can be hard to make it up and get back on a schedule, so don’t let it slip! Missing your dental visits for two or more years significantly increases your risk for tooth decay. No matter how rigorous your regimen, brushing and flossing can’t do it all. Dentists do damage control on your teeth and can detect issues before they start.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.