Nothing can make you feel insecure about your oral hygiene habits like talking to someone who’s never had a cavity! And, conversely, if you’re one of those people who’s never dealt with tooth decay, you might wonder what kind of poor tooth brushing or sugary diet might be leading your friends to need fillings.
But while impeccable dental hygiene is certainly the key to preventing tooth decay, research shows that the reason why some people get cavities and some don’t might not be quite so simple.
You May Be Genetically Prone to Cavities
Researchers at the University of Zurich recently performed a study with the goal of pinpointing the gene complex tied to the creation of tooth enamel. Their research on genes and tooth enamel in mice allowed them to identify mutations in enamel protein that cause defects in tooth enamel.
Mice with these mutated proteins had tooth enamel with slightly different composition than mice with standard proteins. Their tooth enamel had different hardness and less stable structure, which made it less effective at resisting decay. This means that bacteria are more easily able to attack the teeth, no matter how good the subject’s oral hygiene is.
This could mean amazing things in dentistry for people with this kind of genetically defective enamel. Products could be developed using this genetic knowledge to strengthen defective enamel and protect people with mutated genes from increased risk of cavities.
Unfortunately, until then, this just means that there are some of us who have to work extra hard to prevent tooth decay.
How to Prevent Cavities
We all know that brushing and flossing is the first step to preventing cavities. But there are actually plenty of areas of your life where you can develop habits that will prevent cavities and keep your teeth strong and healthy.
First of all, brushing and flossing isn’t enough — you have to brush and floss well, and regularly. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and for two full minutes. It’s best to use a soft-bristled brush, and move it in gentle circular motions along the gumline. Ensure that you are getting the fronts and backs of teeth, and not brushing too hard, which can damage your gums and cause wear to the teeth. You should also be flossing daily.
Your teeth will acquire some build-up that only your dentist can clean. This is why it’s imperative that you see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Most adults should see their dentist twice a year, but you should consult with your dentist about the best schedule for you based on your age and oral health.
Your diet can also be welcoming cavities into your mouth. Make sure you are eating and drinking foods that don’t encourage tooth decay.
It may not be fair that some people have to worry about cavities more than others, but good oral hygiene can protect even teeth with defective enamel from tooth decay. Looking for a dentist in Blue Bell, PA? Call us at (610) 272-0828 or request an appointment online.