It happens sometimes—you could be diligent with the brush and floss, and end up with bad teeth. And you won’t even know why. Suddenly, your teeth develop out of alignment. Or you get tooth decay at the slightest indulgence. But don’t worry, it’s not some cruel trick by the universe. As it turns out, a good chunk of why some people have more cavity-prone teeth is genetic.
Of course, this isn’t the only reason why some people have bad teeth. When you have a recurring disease, after all, it’s a two-way street. A genetic predisposition to cavities might make you more likely to develop them. But you’ll only actually get these dental problems when the conditions are ripe for it.
For instance, neglecting to brush and floss regularly will probably make it easier for you to end up with a mome tooth than it will for those without a genetic predisposition to cavities. Because 60% of your risk of cavity-prone teeth is genetic, you must know how cavities are hereditary. Mainly to see whether you’re at risk of getting a dead tooth.
So why do some people have bad teeth? And what makes up a genetic predisposition to cavities? Let’s look into the ways cavity-prone teeth are genetic.
Five ways your genetics play a role in your dental health
When you think of genetics and dental health, the first thing that probably comes to mind is how strong or weak your teeth may be. And in a way, this is true. Your genes, after all, do determine several dental aspects. These include tooth enamel health, saliva quality, and how your body reacts to the colonies of bacteria—good and bad—in your mouth.
This isn’t all there is, however. Part of what determines your genetic predisposition to cavities is how much you like sweets and how experimental you are when it comes to what you eat. But how does all of this come together?
- Your sweet preference and taste ability determine whether you’ll take a liking to tooth-healthy food or bacteria-friendly treats. If you have a fondness for sweets and aren’t too experimental in your taste preferences, you’re more likely to indulge in sugary foods regularly. This, of course, will not bode well for your teeth—especially if they can’t fend for themselves properly. The opposite is also true. If you aren’t too much of a sweet tooth and enjoy a variety of flavors, chances are you’ll have less of a risk for mome tooth and the like.
- On the other hand, your tooth enamel strength, saliva quality, and microbiome determine how well your teeth hold up in the face of environmental threats. Those with a thicker enamel shell are undoubtedly more immune to bacterial attacks. So even if you do have a sweet tooth, you’re less likely to get cavities regardless. Your saliva does double duty clearing your teeth of residual sugars and food particles while infusing your teeth with the needed minerals. How well it does its job, then, also determines whether you’ll be at risk of tooth cavities (and a dead tooth) in the process. Finally, how your body reacts to your microbiome—the bacteria in your mouth—is crucial. It determines whether it allows harmful bacteria to increase, or whether it helps good bacteria fend them off.