A recent study is comparing a diet soda habit to crack cocaine use when it comes to damage to your teeth.
According to a case study published in the March/April 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use.
Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel, which is the glossy, protective outside layer of the tooth. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked, and discolored.
The General Dentistry case study compared the damage in three individuals' mouths-an admitted user of methamphetamine, a previous longtime user of cocaine, and an excessive diet soda drinker.
Each participant admitted to having poor oral hygiene and not visiting a dentist on a regular basis. Researchers found the same type and severity of damage from tooth erosion ineach participant's mouth.
"Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels present in their 'drug' of choice-meth, crack, or soda," said Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD, lead author of the study.
"The citric acid present in both regular and diet soda is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion," said Dr. Bassiouny.
Similar to citric acid, the ingredients used in preparing methamphetamine can include extremely corrosive materials, such as battery acid, lantern fuel, and drain cleaner. Crack cocaine is highly acidic in nature, as well.
The individual who abused soda consumed 2 liters of diet soda daily for three to five years. Says Dr. Bassiouny, "The striking similarities found in this study should be a wake-up call to consumers who think that soda-even diet soda-is not harmful to their oral health."
AGD Spokesperson Eugene Antenucci, DDS, FAGD, recommends that his patients minimize their intake of soda and drink more water. Additionally, he advises them to either chew sugarfree gum or rinse the mouth with water following consumption of soda.
"Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal," he says.
Do you keep close tabs on how much soda you drink? Tell us what you think about this study by leaving a comment below.