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Those Cavities Are Your Parents Fault?

Those Cavities Are Your Parents Fault?

Periodontal Treatment Mount Pleasant MIAs much as we like to think otherwise, our genes are running the show to a large extent. Hair color. Eye color. Height. Coordination. Baldness or not. The propensity towards injury.

Even cavities. That’s right. Ever notice how some people have a filling in seemingly every molar, while others have few despite eating more Frosted Flakes and the like than they can pile up off the Battle Creek cereal lines.

What gives? Genes.

Scientists now understand that healthy teeth depend on a combination of genetics and dental hygiene (including twice-yearly trips to Dr. Egger!). Research now shows that about 60 percent of the risk of tooth decay is due to genetic factors. These show themselves in individual genes that can be found in the saliva and also that dictate certain immune responses such as the individual propensity to not have gum disease.

According to scientists, these are the five areas impacted by your genes.

Your tooth enamel

The enamel is the protector of your teeth. Some people, much to their chagrin, have softer enamel than others, making it easier for bacteria to get through to the interior of the tooth, i.e., decay. Genes are the primary determinant of your enamel structure.

Preference for sweets

Scientists have identified gene variants that show a range of “sweet preference.” The stronger your genetic “sweet preference,” the better chance you’ll have tooth decay one day.


“Taste ability” is a measure of the variety of things you can taste. This is a complex process that includes your tongue and is linked with your sense of smell. Studies show that the greater your “taste ability” profile, the less likely you are to develop tooth decay. Why this is the case is still a mystery under further study.


Elements such as calcium and potassium are critical to healthy, strong teeth. These elements must be properly broken down by your saliva for your teeth to use them.


Your body has communities of different bacteria. In your mouth alone, there are communities on your tongue, on the surfaces of your teeth, and below the gum line. How your body manages or responds to these bacteria affects your tendency toward tooth decay.

So there’s 60 percent of your risk for tooth decay — all thanks to Mom and Dad. But for the other 40 percent, that’s up to you. Your dental hygiene and your propensity to love soft drinks (they are the number one environmental factor that encourages tooth decay) all play a role in whether you get cavities or not.

And, of course, your propensity or not to visit Dr. Egger for your twice-yearly exams and professional cleanings plays a starring role. Due for your next appointment? Call us, 989-773-3560.