Diet Soda as Bad for Your Teeth as a Meth Addiction



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Put down the Diet Coke, and back away slowly

You don't want to know what diet soda will do to your teeth.

Remember that 25-year-old who lost her teeth due to a nasty diet soda problem? Now it's official: drinking diet soda on the regular can wreck your teeth just as badly as a meth or cocaine addiction. Isn't that lovely.

A new study published in General Dentistry examined some pretty jaw-dropping case studies of men and women who consumed as much as 2 liters of diet soda per day for three to five years. From Health Newsday (because we can't make this stuff up): "In [Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny's] study, he found that a woman in her 30s who drank 2 liters of diet soda daily for three to five years experienced tooth rot and decay remarkably similar to that suffered by a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict and a 51-year-old habitual crack cocaine user." And in case you were wondering, she had to have all of her teeth removed and replaced with dentures.

Bassiouny concluded in the study that it was the acid found in diet soda that wreaked the most havoc on teeth. Of course, the American Beverage Association released a statement in response to the study, saying the the evidence doesn't stack up. "The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years — two-thirds of her life... 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."


Meth Mouth: How Methamphetamine Addiction Can Change Your Appearance

Your teeth decay, which could make them look stained, blackened, or rotten. Eventually they could break or fall out.

"Meth mouth" happens in three stages, Brett Kessler, DDS, tells WebMD Connect to Care. He’s a dentistry practitioner in Denver, CO.

"The first stage is bad breath, cavities, and red, swollen gums, with the front teeth to be the first to decay,” Kessler says. “In the second stage, sores appear on the lips, and gum tissue begins to recede, and decay worsens. In the final stage, teeth decay to the gum line, and teeth may have fallen out."

Badly affected teeth that haven’t fallen out often need to be removed by a dentist, says the American Dental Association (ADA).


Bad news, diet coke junkies: gulping down excessive amounts of soda is no longer just bad for your teeth, now it’s as bad for your teeth as crystal meth or crack.

That’s according to one study, anyway, which found that excessive consumption of soda – even diet soda – can rot your choppers as badly as ingesting two of the most dangerous narcotics on earth.

The good news is it likely takes far more soda than the amount consumed by a normal human being to achieve the same dental devastation as crack or meth.

The study – conducted by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia – references a woman in her 30s who drank two liters of soda a day for nearly five years. According to Bassiouny, she had the same amount of dental damage as a 29-year-old meth user and a 51-year-old crack addict.

Gross: this is what happens when you don’t go to the dentist

The meth user, however, also consumed two or three cans of regular soda a day because the drugs made his mouth dry, and the crack addict has been a regular crack user for 18 years, nearly four times as long as the soda drinker had been consuming excessive amounts of soda. Additionally, the soda drinker admitted that she has not seen a dentist in many years.

“None of the teeth affected by erosion were salvageable,” Bassiouny tells U.S. News and World Report, noting that all of the study participants had to have all of their teeth removed.

The study also finds that sugar-free soda is just as damaging to teeth as regular soda if they are consumed in the same quantity because of their acidic content – a high acidity level also is what makes crack and meth so bad for teeth.

But soda advocates say the study is flawed, and that comparing soda to illegal drugs is unfair and ‘irresponsible.’

‘The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years — two-thirds of her life,’ the American Beverage Association 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,’ the group said. ‘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.’

More gross: this is what happens when you don’t go to the dentist AND you use crystal meth

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Can drinking too much Soda damage your teeth as badly as meth or crack?

/> /> According to a study, the effects of soda on the teeth are more damaging than initially thought.

The Effects of Soda on the Teeth

Question: I read an article somewhere where it was stated that becoming addicted to soda can be as dangerous for your teeth as using an illegal drug such as meth or crack. I would like to know if this is true or not. Can taking too much soda be that dangerous and harmful to the teeth?

Answer: Soda is one of the many foods that are not good for the health of the teeth. This therefore means that taking too much of it will do nothing but cause great harm to your teeth. The reason why soda is bad for the teeth is because it contains a lot of acid in it. Acid and the teeth are not compatible because acid destroys the teeth. When you eat food or drink liquid that contains acid in it, the acid will attack your tooth enamel and destroy it. The more acid from foods and drinks that get into contact with you tooth enamel, the more it will be destroyed leaving your teeth rotten.

And about an addiction to soda damaging the teeth like the way dangerous illicit drugs like crystal meth or crack will damage the teeth, there might actually be some substance to that.

According to a study conducted in 2013 by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny from the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, USA, drinking soda excessively can cause as much harm to the teeth as illegal drugs such as meth or crack can. Dr. Bassiouny, who is a professor of restorative dentistry at the university, said that after conducting a thorough study into the harmful effects of soda on the teeth, he found out that drinking too much soda on a regular basis had more dangerous effect on the teeth than initially thought. According to Dr. Bassiouny, it is a fact that excessive consumption of soda can damage our teeth the same way a narcotic such as crystal meth or crack will damage one’s teeth when used.

During his study, Dr. Bassiouny said he monitored a woman for a period of about five years. According to the doctor, for almost five years this woman drank two liters of soda every single day of her life. The end result was that her teeth were damaged beyond recognition and repair by the soda that she consistently and excessively drank.

Dr. Bassiouny said that having observed the woman’s teeth, he noticed that her teeth suffered severe damage similar to that of a meth or crack user that had used these illegal drugs for several years.

Although the study by the doctor was heavily criticized by soda companies, when you take a critical look at the study, it make sense considering the fact that the high acidity level in the illicit drugs just mentioned above is what makes them very harmful to the teeth. Soda also contains lots of acid. This therefore means that drinking it excessively will expose your delicate teeth to more acid than they can take.

While this might seem like very bad news to soda lovers, it really might not be as bad as it seems because before the act of drinking soda will give the same level of damage to your teeth like the illegal drugs will give you, you’d need to really drink an excessively abnormal amount of it on a daily basis (about two liters of soda every day). On top of that you’d need to avoid seeing your dentist for several years to achieve that level of dental damage.

For the records, the American Beverage Association and several supporters of soda came out strongly to rubbish the study saying that it was unfair for the doctor to single out excessive amount of soda consumption as the sole reason why the woman had such severe tooth decay.

According to them, the woman in question also failed to practice a healthy oral care and didn’t visit a dentist’s office for about two decades. So of course that played a major role in contributing to her predicament.

What’s my take on this?

Even if the study conducted by Dr. Bassiouny was exaggerated, the bottom line is that diet soda consumption is bad for your teeth. Excessive soda consumption is even worse for your teeth. Soda consumption (including sugar-free soda) can easily damage your teeth if you are not very careful how you consume them and how you take care of your teeth.


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As the American Beverage Association responded to the paper in a statement, though, "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."

(hmerinomx/flickr)

Soda is acidic, and there's value in knowing that diet soda can be bad for teeth despite its lack of sugar. That's about all to be taken from this extreme case with confounding variables, though. Meanwhile the person in the study who was the example of methamphetamine use . also drank a lot of soda:

So before you have to fix your mouth, what's reasonable to know about diet soda and teeth?

Researchers at the University of Iowa looked at the acidities of the things we drink, and how acidity correlated with tooth erosion. They soaked molars in various beverages for 25 hours, then measured the changes. (The molars were no longer attached to people.) Gatorade was the worst, followed by Red Bull and Coke, and then Diet Coke and apple juice. All of those drinks are acidic. Here's what the change in just 25 hours looked like microscopically:

Teeth were painted with acrylic nail polish and soaked for 25 hours in Coke, which was replaced every 5 hours. Sections viewed under polarized light microscope showed erosions (arrows) in the root (top) and enamel (bottom). (Ehlen et al., Nutrition Research)

It's not uncommon for people addicted to meth to have unsettling dentition ("meth mouth"). That can be partly because of the acidity of the drug -- as Bassiouny noted, "ingredients used in preparing methamphetamine can include extremely corrosive materials such as battery acid, lantern fuel, antifreeze, hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, and lye" -- and partly because of the systemic effects and lifestyle that come with it. Meanwhile attributing bad teeth to diet soda alone in moderation has never happened. To that point, Dr. Eugene Antenucci, spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, told CBS, "How much [soda] is too much? I don't know, but if it's your primary drink, and you're drinking more soda than water, I would say that's too much." Meanwhile any amount of lantern fuel is too much.

So, drink more water. Also, as the University of Iowa researchers found, "Practices such as 'swishing' and 'holding' beverages in the mouth prolong acid-tooth contact time and could increase erosion risk." Certainly don't "hold" soda in your mouth for 25 hours.


Diet soda as bad for teeth as meth, dentists prove

Those who drink large amounts of diet soda for long periods of time often experience tooth erosion, rotting, decay and other types of oral damage – in many cases just as bad or worse as the effects experienced by long-term drug users, according to a new study published in the journal General Dentistry.

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,” Dr. Mohammed Boussiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry, told Health Day News.

The study references a woman in her 30’s who drank about two liters of diet soda every day for 3-5 years and suffered from eroded teeth that resembled those of a 29-year-old meth addict who had been taking drugs for three years and a 51-year-old crack cocaine user who had an 18-year-history drug abuse.

The woman’s teeth were soft, discolored and eroded, and dentists were unable to save any of the affected teeth. The woman had no choice but to have every last tooth removed and replaced with dentures.

“None of the teeth affected by erosion were salvageable,” Boussiouny said.

The woman had been drinking diet soda for years because she was worried that regular soda would cause her to gain weight. She was aware of the risks associated with consuming artificially sweetened beverages, but admitted that she hadn’t seen a dentist in years.

The American Beverage Association responded to the results of the study, defending the consumption of diet soda and telling Health Day News that the woman’s lack of dentist visits was the primary cause of her tooth decay.

“The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years – two-thirds of her life,” the group 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.”

But Dr. Eugene Antenucci, a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, said he has seen the effects of diet soda in many addicts, and explained that some of them experienced “very deep brown stains, where it’s actually eroded into the tooth, and the teeth are soft and leathery.”

Most diet soda consumers will never see such effects, but to ensure clean and healthy teeth, Antenucci advises that they wash away the acidity of the substance with water after drinking soda, brushing their teeth at least twice daily and drinking in moderation.

Diet soda – like crack cocaine and meth – is highly acidic, which wears away enamel and causes teeth to become susceptible to cavities. Colas, for example, have erosive potential 10 times that of fruit juice, according to a previous 2007 study published in General Dentistry. This study found that teeth immersed in Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, Squirt, Surge, 7 Up and Diet 7 Up lost more than five percent of their weight, due to enamel erosion. The most acidic soft drink studied at the time was RC Cola, which had a pH of 2.387. Cherry Coke had a pH level of 2.522 and Coke had a pH level of 2.525. Battery acid, in comparison, has a pH level of 1.0, and pure water has a pH level of 7.0.

Thomas P. Connelly, a New York-based cosmetic dentist, says that diet soda consumers tend to drink more of the substance than those who consume regular sodas, which is often a factor in their tooth erosion. With many Americans convinced that the sugar-free drinks will prevent them from gaining weight, they can quickly become addicted and self-inflict tooth damage, like drug users.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, ‘I’m addicted to diet coke’ from a patient,” he wrote in a Huffington Post blog. “Even though it has sugar, I’d almost rather see people drink regular pop, because I’m convinced that one or two regular pops are less damaging than seven of the diet version (again, people who drink diet soda tend to drink a lot of it). But truthfully, I’d rather see people drink neither.”


'Soda Mouth' Can Look A Lot Like 'Meth Mouth'

A dental researcher says he's concerned that excessive soda consumption is leading to severe erosion of teeth.

Drink enough soda and your teeth could deteriorate so much that they look like the teeth of a methamphetamine or crack addict.

That's one of the messages of a case study published in a recent issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

The author, Mohamed Bassiouny, a researcher and professor of dentistry at Temple University in Philadelphia, insists he's not trying to scare soda drinkers. But in two decades of examining patients in dental clinics in Philadelphia and in Appalachia, where he worked as a volunteer, he says he has observed striking similarities between the lesions on the teeth of crack and methamphetamine addicts, and those on the teeth of people addicted to soda. (Warning: The photos further down this page are graphic.)

In his paper, he describes three cases of severe dental erosion. One person had been using methamphetamine for three years, a second had used crack cocaine for 18 years, and a third person, a woman, reported consuming two liters of diet soda daily for the past three to five years. All three were adults who lived in cities with fluoridated water, and had similar socio-economic backgrounds. All three had lesions on their teeth that "had almost identical features," Bassiouny writes.

Appalachia, according to Bassiouny, is "ground zero" for soda addiction. Some people he treated consumed more than a dozen 12-ounce cans of soda a day, he says.

"What I saw in Appalachia really crystallized for me the extreme erosion associated with the acids in the beverage," Bassiouny tells The Salt.

But even people who wouldn't consider themselves "soda addicts" are at risk of dental erosion, he says, if they exceed the recommended intake limit of one 12-ounce soda per day. And Bassiouny says that it's also the cumulative impact of the chemicals in certain beverages that matters.

Citric acid, a preservative that enhances flavor and shelf life in soda, is the main culprit. It erodes the enamel and eventually the dentin — the core of the tooth. As we've reported before, energy drinks and citrus juices also have a lot of citric acid, though beverage companies aren't required to disclose exactly how much on drink labels.

"It all contributes to the damaging effect on dentition," says Bassiouny. And it means that even if you limit your soda intake to one can a day, you should avoid other beverages that could contain citric acid.

The American Beverage Association won't concede that beverages are ruining people's teeth.

"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 ABA wrote in a statement this month in response to Bassiouny's study. "The body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion."


Soda Addiction as Bad for Your Teeth as Meth or Crack Study Says

Bad news, diet coke junkies: gulping down excessive amounts of soda is no longer just bad for your teeth, now it’s as bad for your teeth as crystal meth or crack.

That’s according to one study, anyway, which found that excessive consumption of soda – even diet soda – can rot your choppers as badly as ingesting two of the most dangerous narcotics on earth.

The good news is it likely takes far more soda than the amount consumed by a normal human being to achieve the same dental devastation as crack or meth.

Cola mouth: a new study claims that excessive soda consumption can damage teeth as badly as meth or crack
The study – conducted by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia – references a woman in her 30s who drank two liters of soda a day for nearly five years. According to Bassiouny, she had the same amount of dental damage as a 29-year-old meth user and a 51-year-old crack addict.

The meth user, however, also consumed two or three cans of regular soda a day because the drugs made his mouth dry, and the crack addict has been a regular crack user for 18 years, nearly four times as long as the soda drinker had been consuming excessive amounts of soda. Additionally, the soda drinker admitted that she has not seen a dentist in many years.

“None of the teeth affected by erosion were salvageable,” Bassiouny tells U.S. News and World Report, noting that all of the study participants had to have all of their teeth removed.

Gross: this is what happens when you don’t go to the dentist

The study also finds that sugar-free soda is just as damaging to teeth as regular soda if they are consumed in the same quantity because of their acidic content – a high acidity level also is what makes crack and meth so bad for teeth.

But soda advocates say the study is flawed, and that comparing soda to illegal drugs is unfair and ‘irresponsible.’

‘The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years — two-thirds of her life,’ the American Beverage Association 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,’ the group said. ‘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.’

More gross: this is what happens when you don’t go to the dentist AND you use crystal meth


Research Says Soda Habit As Bad For Teeth as Crack Cocaine and Meth

The researchers compared the damage in three individuals' mouths &mdash 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. According to FOX Atlanta, the soda drinker, a woman in her 30s, consumed 2 liters per day over a period of three to five years. She experienced similar tooth decay as that of the 29-year-old methamphetamine user and the 51-year-old crack cocaine addict, who had be a habitual user for 18 years. The meth addict also consumed soda as a way to avoid dry mouth, a result of his drug addcition.

In a statement released to the media, lead author the study, Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD, explained, "Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels present in their 'drug' of choice &mdash meth, crack, or soda." For all three individuals, the main factor is acid. The acid that results from either addiction causes enamel to wear away, and once the enamel is no longer protecting teeth, users end up with tooth erosion. The soda addict had to have all of her teeth extracted and replaced with dentures.

"The citric acid present in both regular and diet soda is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion," Bassiouny explained. He added, "The striking similarities found in this study should be a wake-up call to consumers who think that soda &mdash even diet soda &mdash is not harmful to their oral health."

According to FOX Atlanta, the beverage industry does not believe this should be seen as "an indictment of diet sodas generally." In a statement, the American Beverage Association said, "The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years &mdash two-thirds of her life. To single out diet soda consumption as the unique factor in her tooth decay and erosion &mdash and to compare it to that from illicit drug use &mdash is irresponsible.

Have you cut back on soda consumption? Will you now that you know the damage it can do to your teeth or do you think this study is an exaggeration?

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Published: 05:24 BST, 25 May 2013 | Updated: 22:41 BST, 25 May 2013

Bad news, diet coke junkies: gulping down excessive amounts of soda is no longer just bad for your teeth, now it's as bad for your teeth as crystal meth or crack.

That's according to one study, anyway, which found that excessive consumption of soda - even diet soda - can rot your choppers as badly as ingesting two of the most dangerous narcotics on earth.

The good news is it likely takes far more soda than the amount consumed by a normal human being to achieve the same dental devastation as crack or meth.

Cola mouth: a new study claims that excessive soda consumption can damage teeth as badly as meth or crack
The study - conducted by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia - references a woman in her 30s who drank two liters of soda a day for nearly five years. According to Bassiouny, she had the same amount of dental damage as a 29-year-old meth user and a 51-year-old crack addict.


The meth user, however, also consumed two or three cans of regular soda a day because the drugs made his mouth dry, and the crack addict has been a regular crack user for 18 years, nearly four times as long as the soda drinker had been consuming excessive amounts of soda. Additionally, the soda drinker admitted that she has not seen a dentist in many years.



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