Mountain Dew Mouth Ruining Children’s Teeth

Poor children in Appalachia are being stricken with high levels of tooth decay, and even tooth loss, that some dentists have linked to Mountain Dew, PepsiCo.’s popular soft drink that is made with high levels of caffeine and sugar. Some are blaming the easy availability of Mountain Dew, and its addictive amounts of caffeine, for this epidemic of <"">“Mountain Dew Mouth.”

Mountain Dew contains more caffeine than most other soft drinks, and to cover the bitter taste of the caffeine, it also contains higher amounts of high fructose corn syrup or sugar. According to one report, every 12-ounce can of Mountain Dew contains the equivalent of 11.5 teaspoons of sugar. The caffeine in the 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew is the equivalent of taking one-half of a tablet of NoDoz. While all soft drinks can cause tooth decay, a 2001 report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said dentists consider Mountain Dew to be one of the worst offenders because of its high caffeine and sugar content.

It seems that victims of Mountain Dew Mouth are drinking far more than one 12-ounce-can of Mountain Dew per day. According to a 2009 ABC News report on Mountain Dew Mouth, some children in Appalachia reported routinely purchasing large bottles of Mountain Dew, which they drink throughout the day. These kids are basically soaking their teeth in sugar all day, dentists say. Filling baby bottles with Mountain Dew and feeding it to young babies was also found to be a common practice.

Because of this unchecked consumption of Mountain Dew, some babies and toddlers have been diagnosed with Mountain Dew Mouth after dentists discovered 12 or more cavities in their first row of baby teeth, according to ABC News. Dentists who serve Appalachia’s poor via mobile clinics said they have seen a level of tooth decay and tooth loss in children there that is more commonly found in senior citizens.

Dentists told ABC News that Appalachia’s children are addicted to Mountain Dew. Experts believe the combination of high sugar and high caffeine contributes to this problem. Dentists also told ABC that because of Mountain Dew’s high caffeine content, it appeared that it is used as a kind of anti-depressant for children in poverty stricken areas.

When ABC News first reported on the phenomena of Mountain Dew Mouth, PepsiCo. tried to blow off the concerns raised by the report. “This is old, irresponsible news,” the company said in a statement. “It is preposterous to blame soft drinks or any one food for poor dental health.” The statement actually argued that the problem could be “sticky foods like raisins.”

But later, public outcry caused PepsiCo. to backtrack a bit. It issued a second statement stating its products could be part of a balanced diet if consumed in moderation, and it promised to work with schools and other organizations to educate people and encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles.

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