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Genetic Risks for Cavities

Cavities are small pits of decay in your enamel. Typically, most cavities develop due to poor oral hygiene habits. For example, a lack of proper brushing and flossing increases the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Otherwise, the plaque will continue to build up, creating acid. The acid will eat away at your enamel. Eventually, you will develop cavities. However, there are other factors that influence cavities. 

Some people have a higher genetic risk of developing cavities. That’s right! Your genetic makeup can determine your likelihood of cavities. But, you can take steps to maintain good oral health

Genetic Risks for Cavities


Your enamel plays a large part in your risk of tooth decay. This is where your genetic composition can influence your oral health. Some people are born with naturally thinner enamel. Unfortunately, thin enamel can mean weak enamel. Weak enamel can break or chip more easily, which increases your risk of infection. Also, thin enamel is more prone to erosion. 

Erosion occurs when physical or chemical means break down the enamel. For example, grinding your teeth can physically erode your enamel. Over time, your enamel will become thinner, and your tooth will lose its shape. Conversely, chemical erosion occurs when acid attacks the enamel. If you have thin enamel, you are more susceptible to erosion and decay. 


Another genetic factor that can increase your risk of cavities is your saliva. Although you may not realize it, saliva is a crucial part of your oral health. Saliva helps keep your mouth moist to reduce the growth of bacteria. Bacteria thrive in dry areas. If you have more bacteria in your mouth, then you are more likely to develop tooth decay. Also, saliva helps neutralize harmful bacteria and help enamel. 

Your genes can influence the composition of your saliva. This means that your saliva may not have the ability to neutralize acids as effectively. As a result, you may be more likely to develop cavities. 

Family Patterns

To see your risk of cavities, you need to look at your family history. Some families have a history of cavities. This means that they may share genetic traits that lead to an increased risk of cavities. If many people in your family have cavities, you may be more likely to have them as well. 

While genetics play a role in your oral health, similar habits in families can be a factor. For example, your family may have the same daily oral hygiene habits. You learn many habits from your family, including how to take care of your teeth. This may also include your diet and other habits as well. These can both increase your risk of cavities. 

Impact of Oral Hygiene

Your genetic risk of cavities is only one factor for oral health. Your genetic risks can help you make choices for your health. As a result, you can improve your oral health and reduce your chances of cavities. 

If you have good oral hygiene, it can lower your risks of cavities.