Can bad teeth run in a family?
Sometimes we see people with bad oral hygiene habits go pain and decay free; and individuals with good oral hygiene habits come down with tooth decay. This may lead you to also ask if the cause of your tooth decay may be beyond your control.
It is important that we first define a bad tooth as a tooth that is in a poor state of health.
A mix of factors…
Experts in the causes of tooth decay blame it on both oral hygiene and genetic factors. Our first contact with oral bacteria as babies is usually from mothers or other caregivers. They pass their own oral flora to us. If they have high caries-forming bacteria, your chances of caries in childhood just went up.
As we age, the bacteria composition in our mouth changes. There is a decrease in the bacteria entity inherited from our parents. There is also an increase in the bacteria introduced by the environment. This means that our diet, oral hygiene and arrangement of teeth become more important factors than inherited flora. The bottom line of a study conducted on this subject showed that bacteria that contribute to tooth decay had no evidence of genetic roots in the majority of cases. They were instead high in the mouth of individuals who ate more sugar.
The strength of tooth enamel is important in the tooth’s resistance to decay and this characteristic varies between people. It is softer in some people, making them a little or a lot more prone to cavities.
The composition of the saliva and the immune system of a person also determine how much protection they have against the population of caries-causing bacteria.
The arrangement of the teeth may depend on the number and size of teeth, size of jaw and how the tongue and lips are positioned to function. The shape of the teeth can also make plaque to ‘hide’, making them difficult to remove. All these may have genetic origins.
The answer is yes. Your cavities may have a part that is not dependent on you.
As dentistry becomes more advanced and new developments arise, genetic treatment will become more and more integrated into dental treatment.
What should you do?
What you should do to improve your chances of oral health, with ample evidence is to understand the role oral hygiene plays in the health of your teeth.
Always remember to:
- Brush natural teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.
- Pay special attention to teeth that support a partial denture in order to remove accumulated debris.
- It is also important to brush the tongue, and tone gums and roof of the mouth to remove bacteria.
- Ensure a clean and healthy, sugar-free diet.
This article does not however, substitute the professional care you should receive from your healthcare provider.
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Read our article on health secrets your teeth can reveal here.