A new study claims that diet soda may be as harmful for your teeth as meth or crack. This study, carried out by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, took into consideration a woman in her 30s who consumed diet soda on a regular basis, a 29-year old woman who was a meth consumer, and a 51-year old cocaine addict.
Close analysis confirmed that the woman who consumed diet soda had soft, discolored teeth, many of which were eroded and had a similar condition as that of the teeth of a cocaine cracker or a meth consumer. This was mostly because the woman would sip in the soda; hold it in her mouth for some time, which led to the decay.
"She also mentioned that when doing so, she habitually leaned on her left side against the arm of the sofa while watching television," Dr Mohamed said. The "massive" damage to the left side of her mouth bore this out and resulted in what is called a collapsed bite.
The degree of damage of teeth for soda consumers is however, comparatively less than that of meth and cocaine users.
Meth, cocaine and diet soda are all highly acidic foods and contain high amounts of phosphoric acid and citric acid. A rapid, prolonged exposure to such foods can have highly damaging effects on the teeth, leading to significant oral damage and decay.
"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," Bassiouny explained.
Excessive soda consumption has been criticized for decades now, and many parents often remind their kids of the threat of brown, stained teeth after years of soda consumption. Seems there's much more to that than just the stained teeth.
"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," Antenucci, a dentist in Huntington, N.Y, said.
One should remember that there is no actual difference between the harmful effects of the teeth caused by the consumption of diet soda and a regular soda; both of them are highly acidic, and cause the same amount of damage.
"Knowing that, you limit it and understand that you need to clean your mouth afterward," Antenucci said. "Even simple water will wash away the acidity. And everyone should brush twice a day, if not more often."