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Can Your Genetics Cause Tooth Decay?

22 Dec


This is an interesting question.  A statement that I hear very often in the office is,

“His dad has soft teeth and I just knew he was going cause our kids to have soft teeth also.”

I am married and have a little one, and I know when she is acting up there is no question that it is my genes that make her act that way.  So I thought it would be good to give the dads a break here and talk about the history of dental decay.

In ancient Egypt the primary source of nutrition was grain.  These grains wore their teeth down significantly.  So if you look at a mummy from Egypt they have very flat teeth and significant bone loss (periodontal disease).  However, there came a time when the traders brought sugar cane to Egypt, and boy did Pharaoh love sugar cane (I can imagine it tasted much better than the bland grains that they had been eating).  At this point all the royalty of Egypt began eating lots and lots of this new treasure, “Sugar.”  What we can find in the records from this point forward is that the teeth of the royalty were not as worn down, and instead they began getting tooth decay. Interesting huh?

So we are no longer in ancient Egypt, but we are inundated with refined carbohydrates and sugars on a daily basis.  So does this same pattern still hold true? Absolutely!

We all have bacteria in our mouths, this bacteria use the sugar we eat to create acid (see previous post for more on the bacteria).  However, everyone has differing levels of these bacteria in our mouths.  Certain people are more likely to get cavities due to having high levels of these bacteria.  So how do we get rid of it?  Well the answer is, we can’t, at least not completely.  We can help remove it for periods of time, but it will return again and again.   Because of this we need to decrease how often we provide a sugar source for the bacteria.

So in summery, It isn’t Dads fault, Moms Fault, Granddads fault, the dogs fault or anyone else’s fault that your kiddo has “soft teeth.” It is because they have certain types of bacteria, “sugar bugs” that are more likely to cause tooth decay.

Merry Christmas from the Parkview Owls

Merry Christmas from the Parkview Owls

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