Enjoy Mountain Dew® soda’s high-voltage flavor? Buyer beware. The effects of drinking too much of it can be just as shocking.
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“People who frequently drink Mountain Dew and other types of soda can develop major dental problems, including extensive cavities that visibly darken and break the teeth. This phenomenon is sometimes known as ‘Mountain Dew mouth,’” says dentist Anne Clemons, DMD.
Dr. Clemons explains why soda has such a strong effect on the health of your teeth and ways you can prevent it from happening.
Dr. Clemons says that most sodas contain the Mount Rushmore of cavity-causing ingredients: sugar (in the form of high fructose corn syrup), carbonation and citric acid.
“Tooth enamel is the hard, outer layer of your teeth. These ingredients can wear down your enamel through a process called erosion,” she explains.
Here’s how tooth erosion works:
“Even healthy mouths have bacteria. But the sugars and acid throw it out of balance, creating a snowball effect,” says Dr. Clemons. “The cavity-causing bacteria continue to increase over time, and these changes to your teeth get exponentially worse.”
The earlier tooth decay starts, the harder it is to stave off — which is why prevention is so important.
Dr. Clemons says these habits can help reduce your risk:
While Mountain Dew mouth pictures may have you running for the hills, there’s room for compromise. “Prolonged contact with the teeth is what changes things,” Dr. Clemons says. “How and when you drink soda matters.”
Here are her tips for enjoying soda responsibly:
Regular dental checkups not only help prevent tooth decay, but they also lead to better treatment results. But make honesty your policy. Your dentist needs to have a clear understanding of your habits. Making sure you brush twice a day for at least two minutes can also help in the long run.
“I can fix your teeth, but it won’t matter if the environment in your mouth that’s causing tooth destruction doesn’t change. It’s critical to control, improve and change your risk factors,” Dr. Clemons says.
“Regular checkups also help us catch cavities early, which gives us a better chance to save the tooth. We can build up the tooth’s eroded structure with dental fillings, crowns and root canals. The treatment we use depends on how much of the tooth is affected.”