Can you Blame “Bad Teeth” on Genetics?

According to scientists, the health of your teeth depends on two things: dental hygiene and your genes. In fact, most experts agree that 60% of your susceptibility to tooth decay is based on your genetics.

If your genes play such a big role in the health of your teeth, how can you thwart the harmful effects of “Bad Genes”?

1.) Based on your genetic makeup, you are more or less likely to eat sweets.

Your sweet preference is determined in large part by your genes, and those who eat more sweets are more likely to experience decay. The stronger your genetic “sweet preference”, the more cavities you will likely develop.

2.) The strength of your enamel is a genetic trait.

Some people just have a thicker, more effective protective shell around their dentin than others, and that’s why they experience less cavities. Strong enamel makes for stronger teeth less susceptible to decay and damage. If you were born with thin, weak enamel you simply have to work harder to prevent cavities and decay than others, as the plaque and bacteria in your mouth will more quickly break through and rot your teeth.

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3.)Your ability to taste food plays a role in your oral health.

The degree to which a person can taste and differentiate between flavors is a genetic trait, and studies show that people who cannot discern as well between flavors are more likely to develop cavities than those who can. So, the larger spectrum of flavors you can sense will make you that much better off when it comes to oral health. How do you develop a broader taste profile? Little is known about why this connection between taste-ability and dental health is strong, but many scientists believe that those who possess a stronger sense of taste have a lower sugar pereference which means they eat less sweets and have stronger teeth as a result.

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4.) Metabolizing the right nutrients.

Some peoples’ saliva is simply more effective at breaking down important nutrients like Calcium and magnesium. Eating the right foods is half the battle, metabolizing them correctly is the next. Those with “better” saliva will experience fewer cavities.

Dr. Chavez, a dentist in Provo, has seen patients with near identical hygiene habits when it comes to their oral health, who have very different oral health profiles. Your family dentist may not recognize that for all your brushing and flossing, your genetics are thwarting you! If you believe that genetics is playing a larger role in your dental health than you are comfortable with, give Dr. Chavez’s office a call at (801) 396-2944.

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