Mountain Dew in the Fridge

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Dental Phenomenon of Mountain Dew Mouth

            When you hear the phrase “Mountain Dew Mouth,” what image does it evoke? Maybe all you think of is the delicious, sparkling fizz of the electric green drink the name implies. After all, Mountain Dew is one of America’s favorite drinks. Soda consumption is at an all-time high. And, when Newsweek counted down America’s top ten favorite sodas, they found Mountain Dew came in fifth. The only sodas that could top it were Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and Diet and regular Coca-Cola.

            Unfortunately, despite the popularity of the drink and the awesome, sports-inspired commercial it comes along with, the phrase “Mountain Dew Mouth” represents a less-than-awesome picture. It is shorthand for serious dental problems resulting from overconsumption of Mountain Dew. The damage this drink does to unsuspecting consumers is both striking and severe. Here we will explore why Mountain Dew Mouth occurs, and how it is affecting Americans today.

A Crisis Unfolding

            Mountain Dew Mouth has been labeled a “widespread dental drama” sweeping our nation. The name refers to the severe tooth decay that results from steady consumption of soda—in particular, Mountain Dew. Drinking soda throughout the day, every day, is the lifestyle of millions of Americans. This makes Mountain Dew Mouth a seemingly unstoppable phenomenon.

What’s the Big Deal?

            Sure, soda isn’t good for your teeth. It’s not good for you at all, really. But you might be wondering—what’s so bad about Mountain Dew that it has its very own condition named after it?

            Good question.

 It’s difficult to underestimate the corrosive effects of soaking your teeth in Mountain Dew for months and years on end. One dentistry reports that they see many teens who have grown up on Mountain Dew. By the time they come to the dentist to do something about it, it’s too late. The reality is, Mountain Dew takes all of the already harmful qualities of soda… to the next level.

As Healthline explains, “A combination of sugars, carbonation, and acids within the beverages are credited with the dental damage [caused by soft drinks]. Sugar, carbonation, and acids weaken tooth enamel, the protective covering on your teeth. They also encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Without enamel protecting your teeth, these bacteria can do significant damage.”

What does it do?

That powerful combination of sugars, carbonation, and acids is exactly what consumers bathe their teeth in as they take in bottle after bottle of Mountain Dew. Each bottle further erodes the protective enamel on teeth, encourages the growth of unhealthy bacteria, and leaves unsightly stains behind—not to mention the black, rotting look of visible cavities. The more steadily someone consumes it, the more they saturate their teeth in what is little more than acid and sugar.

The potency of this trio present in Mountain Dew is what sets it apart from other sodas. As Healthline reported, “This soda has approximately 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12-fluid ounce (360 ml) serving — more than Coca-Cola or Pepsi.” And acid? Well, Bateman Dentistry tells a story that’s not for those with weak stomachs. They report that a few years back, “a man filed a lawsuit against Pepsi, asserting there had been a mouse in his can of Mountain Dew when he opened it! In Pepsi-Cola’s defense, they said the mouse body would have dissolved by that point.” Let’s get that straight—Pepsi-Cola’s defense incourtwas that Mountain Dew was so acidic it would have melted the mouse? If Mountain Dew is so caustic it can dissolve small animals, surely it can melt our teeth!

How This Dental Drama is Hurting Americans

          This “widespread dental drama” has widespread impact. Most significantly in the Appalachian region, which spreads from southern New York to Alabama. This is a region characterized by lower access to dental care. It also has higher rates of poverty, and a lack of awareness about the damage being done to their teeth. Many Americans in the Appalachian region are drinking multiple sodas a day. Mountain Dew, one of the more popular sodas, is consumed by many without knowing the problems it will cause down the round. As Healthline furthers, “Some researchers estimate that around 98 percent of people living in the Appalachian Region experience tooth decay by age 44, and about half are diagnosed with periodontal disease. It’s not unusual to see young mothers putting Mountain Dew in their baby’s bottles. It’s also common to see young adults with rotting teeth in this region of the country.”

            Though the crisis is particularly acute in the Appalachian region due to the culture, lifestyles, and lack of awareness, Mountain Dew Mouth doesn’t only affect this region. Anyone consuming a steady diet of soda, particularly Mountain Dew, is susceptible to the rampant tooth decay and accompanying dental diseases that can follow.

What Can Be Done?

            The question of what can be done is an important one. On a policy level, many changes are being considered, such as removing soda as something than can be purchased by low-income families through SNAP benefits. On a personal level, change begins by recognizing the true impact that soft drinks—especially Mountain Dew—have on your teeth over time. While one Mountain Dew might not produce the images of mottled teeth and gums you can find through an Internet search for Mountain Dew Mouth, high volumes of consumption over extended periods of time certainly will.

Reduce intake, Brush your Teeth, and Visit your Dentist!

            The best practice, therefore, is to begin by reducing or even eliminating your intake of the drink altogether. If that’s not something you’re willing to consider, then you will need to be extra diligent when it comes to your oral hygiene to combat the drink’s corrosive effects. Be sure to brush twice a day, every single day, and floss at least once. You should also wait at least 30 minutes after drinking soda to brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth after consuming soda is crucial to preventing that powerful combination of acid, sugar, and carbonation from eroding your teeth. But, experts increasingly believe that brushing your teeth immediately after consumption of an acidic drink such as Mountain Dew may do more harm than good. The enamel is weakened in that moment, so scrubbing with your toothbrush may simply scrub away more enamel!

            Finally, to prevent Mountain Dew Mouth or any other dental issues before they crop up, be sure to attend regular dental exams. This is the most effective way to spot problems like Mountain Dew Mouth before they get out of hand. Speak to your dentist today if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule your next appointment.

About Our Team

Our team of dental experts has well over 30 years of combined experience in the field of dentistry. To learn more about them, please visit our team page or stop by the clinic and say hello!