When you were growing up, you might have thought that everyone else was getting a cavity filled at each dental appointment, but it probably didn’t take you very long to find out that that wasn’t the case. Some people get a few cavities filled every year, while others get a few cavities filled over their entire lifespan. What makes the difference? New research is finding that your genetics actually determine about 60% of your risk for tooth decay! Here’s how:

1) Saliva and Enamel Strength
Your greatest guards against tooth decay is your saliva and your tooth enamel. What we’re finding out is that your genetics determine the strength of each. Your tooth enamel, in particular, is a huge factor in the health of your teeth and is directly related to genetic makeup.

2) Taste Preferences
Your genetics have an effect on your taste ability and preferences. Someone who is wired with a sweet tooth will struggle with tooth decay. There is also evidence that someone with a variety of taste ability will be less likely to have tooth decay.

3) Ability to Fight Bacteria
Your mouth is full of different kinds of bacteria, which is perfectly normal. Your immune system is genetically wired to interact with these bacteria, and some immune systems are more aggressive than others. This, too, will affect your oral health.

As scientists learn more about the human genome, we will learn more about how genetics affect your oral health. The important thing for you to remember is that even if you, genetically, have the world’s best teeth, you still need to brush, floss, and see a dentist regularly. Even strong teeth become decayed if they aren’t cared for properly! Begin by setting up an appointment for your routine cleaning! Contact us today, and we’ll get you into the office as soon as possible!