Are bad teeth inherited?

Dear Dr Ellie,

My parents both had bad teeth – and dentures before they were 50, and I have always had dental problems. Will my son have bad teeth too?

Marguerite, Kansas

Dear Marguerite,

Parents do pass on bad teeth to their children, but not in the way you think. It isn’t genetics–tooth decay is an infectous disease!

Parents transfer (or “infect”) their children with “cavity-forming” bacteria through kissing and other common contact. Aggressive tooth bacteria can actually be with a person their whole lives and be passed through generations.

It is also important to know that baby teeth do matter–children with decay in their baby teeth are nearly 3 times more likely to have decay in their permanent teeth. But eating xylitol (and products with xylitol such as Zellies), can change this pattern. Parents who eat xylitol can reduce tooth decay in their children by up to 80%.

There is something you can do to stop the pattern of tooth decay in your family. Your son does not have to suffer the same dental problems that you have. Use xylitol, and the CWT program and you will be protecting your family…for generations.

All my best,

Dr. Ellie

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