Does Tooth Decay Run in the Family?

Does Tooth Decay Run in the Family?

Everybody’s mouth is different. In fact an imprint of your teeth is just as unique as your thumbprint, yet you’ve noticed that almost every member of your family has cavities. Regardless of how thoroughly you brush and floss, it seems like cavities keep being diagnosed. So what gives? Does tooth decay run in your family? Let’s look at some of the factors.

Saliva is your friend

As long as it stays in your mouth, saliva is awesome! It is constantly rinsing your mouth and it washes away any acid and sugar that can linger after you eat. Some people have dry mouth and don’t produce as much saliva as necessary. This could be from medication, poor diet, age, and you guessed it – hereditary. If you think you have dry mouth, try and drink more water throughout the day to make up for the lack of saliva.

Shape of your teeth

The shape of your teeth can have an impact on how easy they are to clean. If your teeth have deep grooves and crevices, they will have a tendency to trap food and plaque. When food stays on your teeth for too long it will promote tooth decay.


Enamel is the hard protective layer that covers your tooth and is actually the hardest substance in your body! Some people just naturally have softer enamel than others, making the protective layer easier for caries to penetrate. Softer enamel means your battle against tooth decay is just a little bit harder.


Our mouth is full of bacteria that in most cases are harmless. Unfortunately there is one kind that promotes tooth decay:

Streptococcus mutans

This strain of bacterium sounds scarier than it actually is. What it does is create a more acidic environment in your mouth that causes plaque to build up quicker than normal. In a sense, the streptococcus mutans feed the plaque, which is how it grows so fast. This bacteria is infectious and can be easily passed to family members.

The conclusion?

Tooth decay can in fact be hereditary, but before you angrily call your parents, bear in mind they most likely are also dealing with the same problems! Luckily, Dr. Nettey-Marbell can help you keep your teeth in shape, even if you are disposed to tooth decay.

Call Parkside Family Dental today to schedule your convenience appointment.

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