Recent studies have shown that alignment and placement of teeth are hereditary, but significant dental issues such as decay are not. The physiological make-up of teeth may resemble your parents, much like bone density or thickness of your hair, but not to the point where you should expect to have dental problems if your parents did.
What is hereditary are habits.
The greatest causes of dental problems are:
1) Not flossing and brushing before bed
2) Not wearing a nightguard while sleeping
3) Eating sticky / gummy sweets
5) Soft drinks
Not flossing and brushing your teeth before bed-time will allow food caught between your teeth to secrete an acid and eat the tooth enamel over night. Flossing is far more important than brushing. Brushing your teeth in the morning is useless if you do not brush at bedtime and junk has accumulated on your teeth overnight.
Wearing a Nightguard at night will protect your teeth from night-time bruxism (grinding your teeth) while you sleep. The facial and jaw muscles are extremely strong and will put immense pressure on your teeth if they are not protected with a properly fitted Nightguard. Bruxism causes teeth to chip and break and gum lines to recede.
Sticky and gummy sweets cause tooth decay. Most people are aware that eating a Snicker bar is probably not good for your teeth but innocuous eating habits cause the most trouble. Many foods are marketed these days as “health food” like Cliff Bars or Power Bars, but when it comes to your teeth, they are just as bad as eating a Snicker. If it is sticky or gummy, it is bad for your teeth. When choosing sweets, ice cream without sticky additions such as toffee bites, cake and cupcakes are easier to floss and brush out of teeth than hard candies and sticky bars.
Smoking – don’t do it unless you want to lose your teeth and get dentures!
Soft drinks contain an acid that destroys the enamel coating on teeth. Moderate consumption of soft drinks in a short duration (20minutes) is better than nursing a drink all day and continually bathing your teeth in acid and sugar. Sip water in between drinking a regular soft drink.
Moderation is key for good eating habits. I won’t see a movie without popcorn, chocolate covered almonds and a soda but it is going to be the exception, not a habit of daily or even weekly consumption of sugary drinks and sticky candy. If I have the choice of eating a coconut or pumpkin pie or something that is sticky or gummy, I am going to opt for the pie because it will wash out and not stick to the teeth.
Habits are hereditary. If kids grow up with soft drinks and candy in the house, especially before they can care for their teeth, chances are high they will develop significant dental issues if they continue with those habits.
Call to schedule an appointment with Waco dentist, Steven T. Cutbirth DDS — (254) 772-5420.