In a family dental practice like mine, I often help adolescents navigate the frustration of finding yet another cavity. Unfortunately, the adolescent years are the time in which an individual is most at risk for tooth decay. While the common belief that too much sugar causes cavities is only partially true, altering your sugar intake can decrease your risk of cavities. In reality, tooth decay occurs when our saliva, which actually works to restore sensitive adolescent tooth enamel, cannot compete with the amount of enamel-eating acids that are produced by naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths. These bacteria only produce acid in the presence of fermentable carbohydrates, like many sugars.
In order to reduce tooth decay, adolescents need to reduce the amount of sugars they put in their mouths and work to remove sugars from the surface of teeth through regular brushing and flossing. Often, a simple regimen of oral hygiene and diet modification can prevent cavities. Of course, this “simple” solution may only be as simple as an adolescent’s ability to fight the lure of the nearest soda machine.
About the Author: Sherwin Kevy, DDS, has more than 30 years of experience practicing dentistry. The small, family dental practice he runs allows him to enjoy a unique personal connection with his patients. Dr. Kevy especially appreciates the opportunity to help guide younger patients through the many challenges of adolescence.