Soft teeth is a term used to describe teeth without a hard, dense enamel. Poor dental hygiene is the cause of cavities and decay, not soft teeth.
Do some people really have soft teeth and how do you explain what soft teeth means?
Dr. John Vitale: Some people have, the enamel layer of their tooth, when formed, is not as dense as the enamel in other people’s teeth. To that extent, the tooth would be more difficult to cut or less difficult to cut with the dentist cutting the teeth when putting fillings in or what have you. However, there is some genetic link to it but a very, very small genetic link.
How would someone know if they actually have soft teeth?
Dr. John Vitale: You really don’t. Unless you have hypo-calcified areas or spots on your teeth where you have less calcification on the tooth, you wouldn’t know. The dentist would tell you. He would be able to tell, especially in the event if he had to place a filling in one’s mouth. The ease with which he is able to get through your tooth to place the filling, some teeth have more resistance to your handpiece, others don’t. Some would have a harder tooth and some would have a less harder tooth.
The myth says that having soft teeth is the reason cavities run in families. Is there any truth to this?
Dr. John Vitale: Very little. I think the biggest factor with decay is cleanliness in your mouth. That’s very, very important. If you allow food to get stuck between your teeth and into your gums, you’re more susceptible to decay. In the event that you do get decay and your enamel is less dense than another person’s, the decay may travel a little faster but the initial onset of the decay is not caused by you having soft teeth.
What are steps parents can take to prevent early childhood cavities?
Dr. John Vitale: I think the biggest factor is keeping the child’s mouth clean. That’s number one. Number two, obviously brushing after the child or your children eat. Number three, never letting them go to sleep with a bottle in their mouth. The last thing you do before they go to sleep is make sure their teeth are cleaned. Don’t put anything in their mouth like milk or formula or anything and then have them sleep.
Are people with soft teeth prone to any other health issues?
Dr. John Vitale: The answer to that questions is no. I don’t think there is any genetic link to other diseases or health issues.
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