News reporter Diane Sawyer helped expose the truth surrounding the high frequency of "Mountain Dew Mouth" (tooth decay caused by excess soda consumption) in the Appalachian region. Sawyer went to one of America's poorest areas to conduct a report on rural children living in poverty. While there, she discovered that within the land, the specific sugary soda brand is consumed more frequently than water and has caused a disproportionate amount of dental cavities in local children. While the microcosm of society is struggling to better control their addiction to "doing the Dew," the rest of America should take note as any type of soda or soft drink has the potential to cause dental problems and that is why 1-800-DENTIST advices individuals to skip soda to save their teeth and prevent being embarrassed in front of a dentist!
Once upon a time, milk did a "body good" and water was a favorite beverage among the nation. However since the term "soda water" was first coined in 1798, the bubbly beverage has become king. Statistics from the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA), indicates that the average American consumes more than 600 12-ounce servings (12 oz.) per person per year annually with the average male aged 12 to 29 drinking an average of 160 gallons a year. According to the latest nutritional guide produced by the U.S. Government, individuals should instead opt to "Drink water instead of sugary drinks," as soft drinks while refreshing, are the biggest source of empty calories in the average persons diet.
Drinking soda is as American as baseball and apple pie. Statistics indicate that the nation ranks first among countries for soft drink consumption with the average annual rate being 13.15 billion gallons of carbonated drinks consumed each year. While the sugar and caffeine can provide instant taste satisfaction, soda products (both sugar laden and sugar-free options) are void of any nutritional value and in fact, can cause a myriad of both general health and dental health issues.
Some general health issues conditions caused by drinking soda include:
Plus, the fact is soda is a smile killer. An evaluation of Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by a team at the University of Michigan "confirm that adults who drink three or more sodas a day have up to 62% more decayed, missing, and filled teeth than those who drink less," (http://www.prevention.com/health/health/diabetes/drinking-soda-4-reasons-to-stop-soda-consumption/article/d9bc50d1fa803110VgnVCM10000013281eac____/3).
Sodas consumed in excess will leave trace elements of sugars and carbohydrates on teeth. As those food traces are left to linger, oral bacteria will group together to form dental plaque and feast on the foods and will produce a tooth eroding acid as a byproduct of their digestion process. Additionally, malic and tartaric acids are often added to sodas and in test-tube studies those additives have been found to cause damage to tooth enamel. Finally, the caffeine present in many colas can result in unconscious tooth grinding increasing the odds of unnecessary dental wear and tear.
Thanks to the research exposed by Diane Sawyer and her team, Mountain Dew has earned the dishonor of being the worst beverage on the market, however the manufactures are not solely to blame for their reputation. In the Appalachian region it was found that parents use the product as a way to calm crying babies as local baby bottles in town were more often filled with the product (as opposed to water) as the high mix of sugar and caffeine relaxes children. By using the soda instead of water in bottles, children can sip on the sugary goodness for hours, depositing tooth eroding acids and sugars on teeth. The longer those components linger, the greater odds of dental havoc in the form of cavities and tooth decay.
It is important to note that the dental problems caused by soft drinks cannot be attributed to one specific brand or flavor. As a matter of fact, individuals who opt to hydrate courtesy of sports drinks are at greater risk to dental health issues. Research conducted by New York University dental researchers have found that the high concentration of strong acids in a majority can cause the worst damage to tooth enamel.