Appalachian Worry: Mountain Dew Mouth
Youth in the region are plagued by rotten teeth, say critics
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2013 6:05 PM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2013 7:00 PM CDT
Diet Mountain Dew.   (PRNewsFoto/PepsiCo)

(Newser) – You've likely heard of meth mouth, the nasty-looking damage to teeth that results from the use of methamphetamine. But Mountain Dew mouth? It's a thing, reports the Salt blog at NPR, and public health advocates in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia say the damage is real and widespread. One researcher estimates that 26% of preschoolers have tooth decay, and 15% of those ages 18 to 24 have had a tooth pulled. It's not all from soda, of course, but Mountain Dew in particular is wildly popular in the region.

"I see erosion from the acids in the drinks, and decay from the sugars," says a West Virginia dentist. "They go hand in hand many times, and they're equally bad. I would definitely attribute these problems to drinks." One potential remedy being floated: Stop allowing people to buy soda with food stamps. It ends up being a double-whammy, says the researcher. Taxpayers first pay for the soda, and then they pay for a dentist to start yanking teeth.

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Showing 3 of 110 comments
Sep 26, 2013 10:57 AM CDT
I stopped at a fast food joint in Mt. Holly, Mississippi, last year for breakfast and they still smoke in restaurants. The air was thick with smoke, everyone was drinking Coke and smoking. Someone at the counter told a joke and I discovered I was the only person in the place with teeth.
Sep 26, 2013 10:52 AM CDT
Really pathetic are the parents that fill the baby's bottle with Coca-Cola, etc. The kid can have toot rot before it's baby teeth fall out.
Sep 25, 2013 2:15 PM CDT
The food stamp program should be monitored like the WIC program. Only healthy food should be permitted for purchase. It's infuriating to watch people purchase a cart full of junk and pay cash for a carton of cigarettes while hooked up to an oxygen tank; seriously! People in my county who have food stamps have a larger food budget than I do working full time and they have all the wonderful gadgets. My kids are asking why I work.