The Wall Street Journal (1/13, Mitchell, Subscription Publication) reported that DNA may be one of the factors contributing to dental caries, according to Dr. Michael Glick, editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association. Dr. Glick says some studies suggest genetics could increase the chances of having primary-tooth caries by up to 64 percent, although it is unclear which part of the cavity-forming process genetics affects. Dr. Glick says genetics may impact the way tooth enamel is formed. Some studies also suggest people may inherit having a sweet tooth. However, separating out the impact on cavity development from a high-sugar diet versus a genetic predisposition is difficult, Dr. Glick says. Even if a person has a cavity gene, evidence shows it is not possible to get cavities without sugar. To prevent dental caries, Dr. Glick recommends reducing sugar consumption, practicing good oral hygiene, visiting the dentist regularly, and using sealants.
The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org provide information on dental caries for dental professionals and for patients.