(NaturalNews) Appalachia, the region that runs from southern New York down to northern Alabama, has a growing problem called "Mountain Dew mouth." Cavities, tooth decay and rotten teeth are known to be the aftermath of bad dental hygiene and the overconsumption of sugary, high-acidity drinks like soda and sports drinks. The growing number of rotten teeth in secluded Appalachian communities can in many instances be attributed to a staple of the region: Mountain Dew.
Mountain Dew is a drink very closely embedded in the Appalachian culture. Before being bought by PepsiCo, Mountain Dew was invented in Tennessee in the heart of Appalachia. Its high sugar and caffeine content seem to be habit-forming, with many accounts of Appalachians constantly sipping and carrying bottles everywhere throughout the entire day.
Soda and other sugary drinks have been shown to cause cavities, because their acidity not only breaks down tooth enamel but also lowers the pH level inside the mouth, causing bacteria to grow more abundantly. These two factors can greatly increase irreversible tooth decay. Sports drinks are even worse and have been found to be three to 11 times more acidic then soda! A 2013 study published in General Dentistry even went as far as to demonstrate that consuming large quantities of carbonated sodas can be just as damaging to your teeth as crack cocaine or methamphetamines! The acidity of the soda was great enough to wear down tooth enamel, thus resulting in a greater occurrence of cavities.
The reason for the high prevalence of rotting teeth in the Appalachia region is that many of these poor, secluded communities don't have easy access to dental facilities. Another reason is that a lot of people in many of these communities continuously sip on the soda throughout the day. This has resulted in a recent 2013 poll indicating that 15% of adults 18-24 years old have had a tooth extracted due to decay. Likewise, 67% of West Virginia residents 65 years or older have lost at least six teeth due to gum disease or decay.
While this magnitude of tooth decay cannot be solely attributed to the consumption of soda, when coupled with bad dental hygiene, the large consumption of acidic, high-sugar soda can have devastating dental effects. Currently, there are programs to educate many of the secluded communities on the harms of the overconsumption of soda and on basic dental hygiene to battle the growing cases of Mountain Dew mouth in the region.
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