You may have stellar brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits, but it is genetics that plays the leading role in your oral health. About 60% of the risk for tooth decay comes from genetic factors.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic worldwide disease and we only have partial control over it. While you should continue to brush multiple times a day and floss daily, here is what you should know about the role that genetics plays in oral health.
Sweet Preference – Mary L. Marazita, director of the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, found that there are gene variants that show a range of “sweet preference.” The stronger your genetic preference is for sweets, the more likely you are to develop tooth decay. So, it turns out we are not all candy-loving maniacs, but that some of us have a stronger genetic preference for it, which can affect your teeth.
Tooth Enamel – Some people simply have softer tooth enamel than others. Genes play a major role in developing the structure of enamel, so if you have weak enamel, it is due to your genes. Weakened enamel makes it easier for bacteria and acids to cause cavities and decay.
Saliva Strength – Saliva production is key to keeping your mouth healthy. Saliva washes away bacteria and food particles in your mouth that can cause decay. Genetically speaking, some of us are better at producing saliva than others. Low saliva production can lead to cavities, decay, and gum recession, so if you lack the genetic variant for high saliva production, then your mouth could suffer.
While genetics does play a factor in your oral health, risk of tooth decay can be lowered by brushing and flossing regularly. So, even if your family has a history of soft enamel paired with a sweet tooth, continue to brush, floss, and take regular trips to the dentist.