North Carolinas among most likely to have developed ‘cola cavities’ during pandemic, study finds

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GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) — From a young age, we were warned about the damage sugary drinks can do to your teeth due to their combination of sugars, carbonation and acids. The term “Mountain Dew Mouth” refers specifically to tooth decay caused by frequent consumption of soft drinks.

A study of NextSmileDental.com conducted a survey of 5,400 respondents and found that 65% of North Carolina residents admit to delaying dental checkups during the pandemic due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

Interestingly, this concept is common in the Appalachian region of the United States, where 98% of people suffer from tooth decay before the age of 44. In addition, 81% said they had also increased their consumption of sugary drinks since the start of the pandemic.

These factors put North Carolinians in ninth place nationally for developing “cola cavities” since the start of the pandemic. Louisianans ranked first in the study, compared to Rhode Islanders who came in at the bottom. Interestingly, more than half of the Appalachian states ranked in the top 15 spots in this study.

Soft drinks generally contain about 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12 fluid ounces. They also contain citric acid, which adds another risk to teeth. A triple combination of acids, sugar, and carbonation can weaken tooth enamel, which is the protective coating of teeth. This combination also promotes the growth of oral bacteria and without enamel protection, these can cause serious damage.

Of course, preventing these types of dental problems usually involves cutting down on the consumption of sugary foods and beverages and seeing a dentist regularly for checkups. However, if you are unable to kick the habit, there are ways to reduce the risk of developing this type of tooth damage:

Maintain a healthy diet

Replace soda with a better alternative like water for optimal hydration and ease for your teeth. Try to keep acidic foods to a minimum if you have sensitive teeth and remember that a healthy diet not only benefits your body, but your teeth as well.

Drink water

Drinking enough water after consuming a sugary drink can help reduce the acidity your teeth are exposed to. Sipping on sugary drinks throughout the day, rather than sipping them quickly, can also reduce this acidity as it bathes the teeth in a more even flow of carbonation, sugars and acids.

Wait an hour before brushing your teeth

Some experts suggest that brushing your teeth immediately after drinking soda can cause even more damage, as the enamel is vulnerable after being exposed to acids. Therefore, it is recommended to wait at least an hour after drinking soda or sugary drinks before brushing your teeth.

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