You may be one of the many people who feel frustrated when they hear they have cavities, even though you brush twice a day and floss regularly. I know I know, you do exactly what the experts say should be done to avoid tooth decay, so what gives?
Genetics and how they effect oral hygiene
Yep, it’s very possible that your great great grandfather had a disposition towards tooth decay and passed it right on down to you. Nature is a mad scientist, so don’t feel bad, you could have inherited a tendency towards something much, much worse. The good news is you can still battle your genetic trait; it just takes a little more effort.
Before we get into the prevention techniques, let’s talk about the different factors that could lead to your unfortunate genetic inheritance.
1. Teeth are not all the same
The simple truth is that everybody has different teeth. In fact, teeth can be used as a unique identifier to your person, because no two sets of teeth are the same. Unfortunately, some teeth can have defects in their enamel that are prone to bacteria invasion, and some have deep crevices and grooves that trap bacteria.
2. Crooked need love too
Crooked or crowded teeth can sometimes be hard to clean properly, even with the most rigorous brushing. You may not even realize you’re not cleaning it as well as it needs, causing a bacterial build-up. Regular flossing is key to reaching those difficult places. Did you know that without flossing you miss cleaning about 35% of your tooth? Gross right?
3. Saliva, what a pal!
Saliva not only aids in the consumption and digestion of foods, it helps keep your teeth clean too! Those who are prone to dry mouth are at higher risk for cavities. Dry mouth can occur due to stress, medications, illness, or simply old age. Chewing gum (preferably sugar free) is encouraged because chewing stimulates saliva flow.
In short, if you think you may have some weak genes, that genetic disposition to tooth decay can still be combatted by following these guidelines.
- Floss twice a day
- Ask Dr. Mandefro about fluoride treatments
- Chew sugar free gum to encourage saliva flow
- Drink plenty of water, especially after meals
- Use mouthwash
- Maintain routine check-ups at Town and Country Family Dentistry