If you need to get frequent fillings for tooth decay, you may want to blame it on your genes for soft teeth. Read on to learn more about the relationship between your oral health and your genes.
What Does the Research Say About the Role of Genetics and Oral Health?
Science Daily says that your genetic makeup doesn't predispose you to tooth decay, yet a CNN article says that 60% of the risk of tooth decay does seem to be because genetic factors. So, unfortunately, there's no clear-cut answer as the relationship between oral health and genetics is still being explored.
Yet, researchers are finding that even if you are predisposed to cavities, you shouldn't underestimate how individual choices and external factors influence your health. For instance, in one study, the oral bacteria for cavities, like Streptococcus mutans, was seen in a higher abundance in individuals who tended to consume more sugar. So even if your oral microbiome is inherited, your lifestyle can impact its development as well.
So What Other Factors Could Be Causing Your Tooth Decay?
Socioeconomic factors can certainly play a role in oral health, as low-income families may not have access to dental facilities close by, or they may feel like they can afford treatment. However, if you feel like you cannot afford dental care, keep in mind that many places offer low-cost care, payment plans, or even Medicaid coverage for preventative services such as cleanings. Some schools even offer free dental sealants to children in lower-income levels. Preventative care is vital for preventing tooth decay.
Besides socioeconomic factors, consider your habits and overall health. For example, using tobacco products can greatly increase your risk of decay. Tobacco products contain chemicals that reduce blood flow and slow healing. Tobacco products also irritate gum tissue, which loosen gums and make it easier for decay-causing bacteria to settle in pockets and cause gingivitis or cavities.
Do you suffer from a health condition, like Rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes? Inflammation and oral bacterial infections have been linked to various health conditions, although causality is still debated.
Does your community have fluoridated drinking water? Fluoride is important for oral health because it strengthens enamel and protects it from decay. If you don't have fluoridated water, it's important to visit your dentist for fluoride treatments. You may also want to use a fluoride mouth-rinse at home.
As you can see, while genes may have some influence on your teeth, they're only one part of a larger picture of your overall health. It's important to continue your brushing and flossing habits. Also, if you still are having frequent cavities, you'll want to ask a family dentist about other possible external factors.