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New study shows that soda consumption can cause as much tooth damage as illegal drug abuse

Posted: September 3, 2013 |   Comments

( According to a case study published in General Dentistry, soda consumption can be just as damaging to your teeth as illegal drugs like crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

The case study involved three subjects including a methamphetamine user, a previous longtime cocaine user and an excessive diet soda drinker, all of whom had poor oral hygiene and did not visit a dentist regularly. The researchers performing the study compared the tooth damage in each individual's mouth and found that each participant suffered from the same type and severity of damage from tooth erosion.

Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away a tooth's glossy, protective layer of enamel. Without a layer of enamel to protect them, teeth are at greater risk of suffering from further damage such as developing cavities, oversensitivity, cracks or discolorations.

"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," Dr. Bassiouny says.

Methamphetamine often contains acidic ingredients such as battery acid, lantern fuel and drain cleaner. Crack cocaine is also highly acidic.

Dr. Bassiouny states, "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."

It is recommended that people minimize soda intake and increase the amount of water they drink. This not only protects your teeth but also lowers your risk for diabetes and obesity, among other health problems. Furthermore, Eugene Antenucci, DDS, FAGD, advises his patients to either chew sugar-free gum or rinse out their mouth after drinking soda. "Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal," he says.

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