Soda Damages Teeth As Much As Crack-Cocaine Or Methamphetamine Use, Research Finds

The regular consumption of soda damages your teeth as much as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use does, according to a new case study published in a recent issue of the journal General Dentistry.

Image Credit: wakalani / / CC BY-NC-SA
Image Credit: wakalani / / CC BY-NC-SA

Crack cocaine is often characterized (accurately) as causing significant damage to oral health, and significant tooth erosion, so it may come as a surprise to some that something as seemingly innocuous as soda pop can cause a similar level of damage, but that’s what the new research has found.

Tooth erosion is primarily caused by the wearing away of tooth enamel — the glossy, protective outside layer of the tooth. This erosion occurs primarily as a result of the acids present in some foods, and produced by oral bacteria, though the general level of health/nutrition certainly factors in. After this enamel is worn away teeth become susceptible to the development of cavities.

The press release continues:

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 in each 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,” says 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.”

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 study participant who represented the effects of “excessive” soda consumption averaged about 2 liters of diet soda a day for the past three to five years. Dr. Bassiouny says, “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.”

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