Diet Soda Habit as Bad for Teeth as Meth Addiction, Study Claims
Most people are not surprised to learn that meth addiction takes a terrible toll on your dental health. And meth is not alone in the damage it does to a user’s teeth. Crack cocaine is also well-known to destroy a user’s teeth. What is surprising is that a diet soda habit can be just as damaging to your teeth as a meth or crack habit.
Meth and crack are damaging to teeth in several ways. They are manufactured using acid, and when they are inhaled, that acid coats everything inside the user’s mouth. Years, months, or even weeks of smoking meth or crack results in eroded, broken, stained and abscessed teeth-most of which cannot be repaired. Many recovering meth and crack addicts have to have their remaining teeth removed and wear dentures for the rest of their life.
Meth and crack use also cause dry mouth. Saliva is our body’s defense system against the bacteria that live in our mouths. When certain medications, or drugs like meth and crack, reduce the amount of saliva produced, bacteria are free to cause cavities and further tooth erosion. Drug users generally don’t eat a nutritious diet, don’t see a dentist for regular cleanings, and often don’t brush on a regular basis.
In May of 2013, a study was published in the “General Dentistry” journal that showed that over-consumption of soda, diet or otherwise, causes the same devastating dental results as a meth or crack cocaine habit. The study followed a woman in her 30’s who drank two liters of diet soda every day for 3 to 5 years; a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict; and a 51-year-old habitual crack cocaine user.
The 29-year-old man reported using meth for three years, and stated that he consumed an average of three sodas a day in order to relieve the dry mouth caused by his meth use.
The 51-year-old man reported an 18 year history of crack cocaine abuse.
Dr. Mohamed Bassiourny, who headed the study, reported that all three individuals had very similar damage. Their teeth were soft, discolored, broken, and decayed to the point of being rotten. None of the teeth of the three patients were salvageable; all of them had to be removed and the three patients had to be fitted with dentures.
Dr. Bassiourny went on to explain that the culprit in soda is not the sugar-it’s the citric and phosphoric acid. These acids erode the tooth’s enamel, leaving them stained and weak. Heath conscious people, such as the woman in the study, tend to believe that “sugar-free” or “diet” food and drinks are less harmful that foods containing sugar. The woman in the study stated that she chose diet soda over regular soda because she had concerns about sugared sodas causing tooth decay.
Dental professionals generally believe that sodas can be safely consumed in moderation. Drink sodas with meals, as food tends to neutralize the acid. Do not sip your soda; drink it within the space of a few minutes and brush or rise your mouth afterward. Keep in mind that diet soda is just as detrimental to your teeth as regular soda is.