Appalachian Worry: Mountain Dew Mouth

Youth in the region are plagued by rotten teeth, say critics
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2013 6:05 PM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2013 7:00 PM CDT
Appalachian Worry: Mountain Dew Mouth
Diet Mountain Dew.   (PRNewsFoto/PepsiCo)

You've likely heard of meth mouth, the nasty-looking damage to teeth that results from the use of methamphetamine. But Mountain Dew mouth? It's a thing, reports the Salt blog at NPR, and public health advocates in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia say the damage is real and widespread. One researcher estimates that 26% of preschoolers have tooth decay, and 15% of those ages 18 to 24 have had a tooth pulled. It's not all from soda, of course, but Mountain Dew in particular is wildly popular in the region.

"I see erosion from the acids in the drinks, and decay from the sugars," says a West Virginia dentist. "They go hand in hand many times, and they're equally bad. I would definitely attribute these problems to drinks." One potential remedy being floated: Stop allowing people to buy soda with food stamps. It ends up being a double-whammy, says the researcher. Taxpayers first pay for the soda, and then they pay for a dentist to start yanking teeth. (Read more Appalachia stories.)

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