image of sign It's Mom and Dad's Fault and Got Cavities?

Image Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

“Our family’s Got Bad Teeth. We Always Get Cavities.”

One possible reason you have a lot of cavities is that your parents had a lot of cavities. Maybe not just one parent, but both of them. Did they have cavities? Not knowing what happened with your parent’s teeth is pretty common. Cavities are not the typical topic of conversation at the dinner table now, or any other time in history. Who sits around and asks about teeth at dinner? Who has dinner together any more?

If you are wondering why me, why so many cavities? Your parents might be to blame and let me tell you why.

Cavities Are Not Inherited

Cavities are not directly inherited, but the shapes of your teeth are inherited. If you inherited less than perfectly shaped teeth it might be one cause for cavities. I call these cavities Mom and Dad cavities and they’re not your fault.

Believing you are doomed to have the exact same cavity problems is not always the case.

Squeeze The Juices Out

The shape areas I am talking about are the valleys on the biting or chewing surfaces of teeth. These places are responsible for holding food steady so the opposing teeth can crush through the food ball and squeeze the juices out. One tooth steadies the food for the opposer to crush it.

Opposing teeth work together, each with mountains plunging into corresponding valleys like teeth on gears, chewing up food, beginning the first part of digestion.

As food is crushed it squirts out to the sides, is caught by your tongue and cheek and pushed back onto the valleys again to be crushed again until it is easy to swallow.

Virtually Clean Themselves

Broad, rounded valleys on the biting surfaces of your teeth almost never develop cavities. Food doesn’t get stuck as these areas virtually clean themselves.

But, with crevices as you chew, food jams into them and sticks. Narrow crevices can hide food where a tooth brush can barely reach.

image of tooth cross section no grooves

No Grooves
Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

Deep Grooves Are A Different Story

With deep grooves in the valleys of your teeth it’s a totally different story,  as food is completely out of reach of even the best tooth brush. These increase your risk for cavities since food remains wedged in these areas providing a continuous supply for awaiting hungry bacteria.

The best course of action is to identify and treat these high risk spots early, before aggressive cavities hollow out the inside of the tooth and cause severe pain and tooth removal.

image of tooth cross section narrow grooves

Narrow grooves
Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

Bacteria Are Feasting On Groceries

Bacteria in these crevices feast on the groceries you have delivered, pooping out acid as a waste product as they enjoy their meal. It’s the acid which starts destroying your teeth, softening the white enamel and eventually the yellow dentin, causing it to fizz. The closer the mix of food and bacteria initially is to the nerve, like in deep crevices, the less time it takes to destroy your tooth.

Take home lesson:

✓    Find your small cavities early
✓    Fix your cavities before they destroy your teeth.

Beginning cavities may not give you any early warnings. If you do get one, it might be a hard to describe “tingling” sensation when you brush or eat. Or it may a more severe “zingy” sensation with sweets or cold as the acid concentration builds up. The descriptions vary.

Teardrop Shapes Are The Worst

The teardrop shape to the biting surface enamel is the worst. It puts your teeth at high risk for cavities that are half-way to the nerve long before you get any warning that they were even starting.

I hate having to explain that you are in danger of loosing a tooth due to humongous cavities without getting any warning pain at all.

It is impossible to compare one family member to another when it comes to cavities. Shapes of teeth will vary and so will cavity potential.

image of tooth cross section deep grooves

Teardrop grooves
Courtesy of: Craig Sommer DDS

Your Dentist Understands What To Look For

These images demonstrate the differences between the types of teeth. There are those that will never collect food because all of the transitions from mountain to mountain are smooth. And then there are teeth that harbor food in places where it is increasingly more difficult for tooth brush bristles to reach.

A tooth with thicker enamel on the biting surface has a much better chance of avoiding cavities than one with thiner enamel in the valley areas. That’s an inherited trait too.

The shape of your teeth accounts for one of the differences between you, other family members and your friends when it comes to developing cavities.

In Summary

Just to summarize,  smooth valleys shed food easily with little chance of cavities developing. Shallow grooves will up the potential making it harder to keep teeth clean with a tooth brush. Still deeper grooves make it harder yet. And the teardrop shape, with little protective enamel, being the worst with high risk for tooth loss.

The downside is that just looking at your teeth in the mirror doesn’t tell you what your risk level. This is where a professional is needed to diagnose your specific risk.

Are Your Teeth In Good Shape?

Your holistic dentist can evaluate your decay risk potential when it comes to tooth shape issues.

If you are not in the habit of seeing a dentist regularly, certainly have sensitivity checked out by a holistic or biological dentist. The sooner you evaluate the health of your teeth the better off you are.

They will do their best to guide you in your decision making using a holistic approach.

You could have some serious issues developing with severe pain waiting right around the corner and not even be aware there is a problem. Call a holistic dentist today.