FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — NextSmileDental.com conducted a survey of 5,400 respondents and discovered that 60% of Arkansans admit they have delayed dental check-ups over the pandemic due to the worry of contracting COVID-19.

Moreover, 81% said they’ve also increased their consumption of sugary drinks since the start of the pandemic. Combining these factors means that Arkansans are among the most likely (ranked in 13th position nationally) to have developed ‘Cola Cavities’ since the start of the pandemic.

Louisianans ranked highest in the study, compared to Rhode Islanders who came bottom. Interestingly, over half of the Appalachian states ranked within the top 15 places of this study.

According to a press release, soft drinks typically contain around 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12 fluid ounces. They also contain citric acid, which adds another risk to the teeth. A triple combination of acids, sugar and carbonation can weaken tooth enamel, which is the protective covering over the teeth. This combination also encourages the growth of mouth bacteria and without enamel protection, these can cause serious damage.

Preventing these kinds of dental problems is usually a matter of cutting down on sugary drinks and food, and seeing a dentist regularly for check-ups.

An infographic showing “Cola Cavities” across the country is available here.