redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Diet soda might be as bad for you as methamphetamines or crack cocaine – at least when it comes to the health of your teeth, according to new research published recently in the journal General Dentistry.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the study was conducted by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia. The research focuses on a woman in her 30s who reportedly consumed at least two liters of soda each day for a period of 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 UK newspaper reported. “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.”
Furthermore, the diet soda drinker confessed that she had not seen the dentist in two decades.
Even so, Dr. Bassiouny told Dennis Thompson of HealthDay News that it was “startling to see the intensity and extent of damage” when looking at the mouth of the soda drinker side-by-side with those of the meth user and the crack addict.
All three substances are highly acidic and capable of producing similar dental problems, the professor said, and unless a regular drinker practices good dental hygiene, the citric and phosphoric acid in soda could cause “erosion and significant oral damage,” according to Thompson.
In comparison, the two illegal drugs reduce the amount of saliva in a person’s mouth, reducing the body’s ability to wash away acids in the mouth, said Douglas Cobb of the Guardian Express. The extra acid damages teeth and can lead to other systematic health issues that affect a person’s dental hygiene, he added.
The woman said that she had switched to diet soda over weight concerns, and believed that sugary soft drinks was more closely linked to tooth decay. Her teeth were described by Thompson as “soft and discolored.” She, along with both of the illicit drug users, needed to have all of her teeth removed, according to Dr. Bassiouny.
The American Beverage Association objected to the study’s findings.
In a statement reprinted by HealthDay News, the organization said, “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.”
“The body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion,” they added. “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.”