Are Cavities Genetic?
June 12, 2023
Cavities are a widespread dental issue that affects millions of people around the world. While many believe cavities to be caused by poor oral hygiene and an abundance of sugary foods and drinks, some question if their susceptibility to developing cavities can be genetic - passed down from parents or other family members.
Dentists agree that cavities are not solely genetic or hereditary; although genetics can play a role in their development, other factors like diet, oral hygiene practices, fluoride exposure, and oral health habits are much more significant contributors to this issue.
Studies have demonstrated that genetics can play a significant role in developing cavities. One study revealed genetic factors account for around 60% of this risk, while environmental elements like diet and oral hygiene make up 40%. It's worth noting that these genetic influences aren't specific to cavities but rather have an overall influence on overall oral health.
Genetic factors, such as tooth shape and alignment, can make it more challenging to effectively clean teeth and prevent plaque and bacteria buildup that leads to cavities. Furthermore, some people may have weaker enamel or thinner tooth enamel which makes their teeth more prone to decay.
Genetics play a significant role in dental health, but the good news is there are ways to prevent cavities and promote good oral hygiene. Eating less sugary and acidic foods and drinks can help reduce the risk of cavities, while brushing and flossing regularly, using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and visiting the dentist regularly will all help keep teeth healthy.
Though genetic predisposition to cavities may exist, that doesn't mean people cannot take steps to prevent them. By practicing good oral hygiene and making healthy lifestyle choices, individuals can reduce their chances of developing cavities even if their family history includes dental issues.
Genetic factors aside, age, gender and medications can all increase the likelihood of developing cavities. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable due to changes in their teeth and gums while women may be at higher risk due to hormonal fluctuations. Certain medications like antihistamines or antidepressants may cause dry mouth which reduces saliva production - thus making it easier for bacteria to grow and increase cavity risks.
In conclusion, genetics can play a role in the development of cavities; however, other factors such as diet, oral hygiene practices, fluoride exposure and habits are far more influential factors. While individuals cannot change their genetics, they can take steps to prevent cavities by practicing good oral hygiene, abstaining from sugary and acidic foods and visiting the dentist regularly. With proper care and attention, individuals can maintain good oral health and reduce their chances of developing cavities.
Do you suspect you might have a cavity? Contact Swish Oral Care now to find out!