Soda, not as bad as meth.

I actually had a patient say that to me.  He was twenty-seven years old and admitted to me that he consumed about six mountain dew soda cans a day.  He had so many cavities on his teeth that I had to take out all of his top teeth and give him a denture, at twenty-seven!  I think the fact drinking soda can be confused for doing crystal meth is a good place to start with how destructive soda can be.  I also knew he was telling the truth about it being soda because his decay originated in between the teeth whereas with methamphetamine users the decay begins mostly only the gumline and progresses from there.

Soda is very detrimental to the health of your teeth, but why is soda so bad?  Well, there are a number of reasons, and I will give an example of each from situations I have experienced personally.   First, soda is very bad because it has a large amount of sugar in it (more on that later) and it is that sugar that sticks to the food in between your teeth that you don’t even know is there.  The decay then remains hiddenfrom the view of the soda drinker and is only noticed when the cavity becomes so big that the tooth begins to break apart or rot from the inside out.

It is true the main reason we take those x-rays is so I can have a party boat in addition to a speedboat at my weekend lake house, BUT those x-rays are also the only way even the dentist can know you are developing decay between your teeth.  These cavities are even invisible to us when we look in your mouth until they have become extremely large.

In addition to remaining incognito for a long time, soda associated decay progresses very quickly, that is because as we all know people usually don’t have a mountain dew every so often, they HAVE to have a mountain dew.  Why is that?  BEWARE quick nerd alert but I will try and make it simple and painless (we dentists love to say that!).

There are three types of sugar, glucose, fructose and sucrose.

Glucose-body prefers this type, causes insulin release->leptin->makes you feel full.

Fructose-not preferred sugar type, no insulin release->no leptin->won’t feel full, keep eating/drinking.

Sucrose-part glucose, part fructose.  Works half as well at making you feel full so eventually you may stop eating or drinking.

That is why high fructose corn syrup is so bad, you won’t get full.

It also explains why my three year old can eat a dozen donuts if I let him, and why his Dad WILL eat a dozen donuts.

Now lastly, and probably the most surprising aspect of soda, I firmly believe that there is so much sugar in soda and specifically Mountain Dew that you simply cannot quench your thirst by drinking it.  Now we all know that you cannot drink saltwater because it will dehydrate you.

To stay away from nerding you twice in one post we will give saltwater a rating of 1000 on the completeley made up dehydration scale(osmolality-sorry couldn’t help myself) and Mountain Dew has a rating of 800 on that same made up scale.  Well Dr. Farrell, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you could die of thirst drinking Moutnain Dew, maybe you could just come close.  Well, let me tell you a little story………

Once upon a time, Dr. Farrell was working in eastern North Carolina and a patient walks into get a cleaning with a 20oz Mountain Dew.  Never do this.  Would you invite your ex-girlfriend to your wedding?  No, so don’t bring in a Mountain Dew, or any other soft drink into the dental office.  So this person, lets call her Debbie Dew, proceeds to get her teeth cleaned, has I believe seven or eight cavities.  It had been about four years since she had been to the dentist and for no scientific reason whatsoever but a loose rule once you miss the dentist for a year or two you tend to generally have about a cavity for each year you have been away.  She is a little surprised by the high number, and I proceed to inform her that it is probably due to the Mountain Dew she drinks.  I ask her how often she drinks Mountain Dew, she says all the time.  Curious about specifics I ask generally how many 20oz bottles does Mrs.

Debbie Dew drink and she is quick to inform me that she only drinks out of 20oz bottles when she leaves the house.  Being the good detective I ask what does she usually drink out of?  She replies with………a plastic Bojangles cup.  (Welcome to my life.)  I say, no I mean what size bottles does she usually drink out of and she says, well I generally drink SIX TWO LITERS A DAY!  Ensuring there is no confusion we get a two liter out ofthe back to confirm this is the size she is referring to and she says yes.  I than ask her “I bet you are always thirsty aren’t you confirming my long belief that Mountain Dew very well may dehydrate as opposed to hydrate you.

Sweet Mrs. Debbie Dew informed me that “She watched her game shows all day, drank her Mountain Dew and went to the bathroom at every single commercial break……and ate a bag of Funions at 2:30pm every day.  She confirmed that was the only thing she ate and all her calories had been coming from Mountain Dew and Funions for about the last six months.  Speechless, but appreciative she was being honest with me I quickly calculated that she had been consuming THREE AND A HALF POUNDS of sugar a day, strictly from Mountain Dew and surviving!  I quickly told her to get to her primary care physician to check out her organs and last I heard she is doing fine having drastically adjusted her diet and getting those cavities filled.  Lets learn from her and don’t even start drinking Mountain Dew, and if you do, don’t do it with Funions, Cheetos are so much better.

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