Diet Soda: As Bad For Your Teeth As Crystal Meth [Study]

Dusten Carlson - Author
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Jun. 9 2014, Updated 4:50 a.m. ET

Diet soda is as bad for your teeth as a crystal meth habit, according to a new study.

Before you go out and grab your Friday evening Diet Coke, know this: Doctors say that heavy consumption of diet soda can damage your teeth as badly as methamphetamine or crack cocaine.

“You look at it side-to-side with ‘meth mouth’ or ‘coke mouth,’ it is startling to see the intensity and extent of damage more or less the same,” said Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a Philadelphia-based restorative dentistry professor.

The reason is that methamphetamine, crack cocaine and soda (whether sweetened or not) are all very acidic and can cause some of the same dental problems, according to a study published in the journal General Dentistry.

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The acid in soda is a type of citric acid combined with phosphoric acid, Bassiouny said. Constant exposure without good dental hygiene can cause erosion and significant oral damage.

The study followed a woman in her 30s who drank 2 liters of diet soda a day for three to five years. She experienced tooth rot and decay which was very similar to that of a 29-year-old meth addict and a 51-year-old cocaine user.

The meth addict had used the drug for three years, and drank two to three cans of regular soda each day because the drugs dried his mouth. The older man said that he had abused cocaine for 18 years.

The American Beverage Association reacted negatively to the study, and said that it shouldn’t indict soda consumption as a whole.

“The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years — two-thirds of her life,” they said in a statement. “To single out diet soda consumption as the unique factor in her tooth decay and erosion — and to compare it to that from illicit drug use — is irresponsible.

“The body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion. However, we do know that brushing and flossing our teeth, along with making regular visits to the dentist, play a very important role in preventing them.”

However, Dr. Eugene Antenucci, a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, said that the study’s findings didn’t surprise him.

“From my experience, the damage that happens to people’s mouths from cocaine or methamphetamine are degrees greater than what I see from soda, but I see a lot of damage from soda,” he said.

What do you think? Could diet soda cause as much damage to teeth as heavy meth use?

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