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Diet soda rots your teeth “like meth and cocaine”

  1. Guttz
    A new study claims a soda habit can damage your chompers as badly as a drug habit

    Turn that smile upside down, Diet Coke addicts! A new study claims that a diet soda habit can rot your teeth just as badly as using meth or cocaine. “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,” says Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia. In the findings of the study, published in the journal General Dentistry, a woman in her 30s who drank two liters of soda a day for three to five years had the same dental damage as a 29-year-old meth user and a 51-year-old crack cocaine user. ”None of the teeth affected by erosion were salvageable,” says Bassiouny, and all three study participants needed all of their teeth extracted. The woman said she consumed extreme amounts of diet soda because she was concerned about weight gain, and also because she associated regular sodas with tooth decay. But Bassiouny says that sugar-free soda is just as damaging to teeth as regular soda “if they are consumed in the same frequency, the same amount and the same duration.”

    Drugs such a crack cocaine and meth are known to damage the teeth because of their acidic content, and previous studies have linked “meth mouth” with dental decay. Soda (both diet and regular) is also “highly acidic,” says Dr. Eugene Antenucci, spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry. ”From my experience, the damage that happens to people’s mouths from cocaine or methamphetamine are degrees greater than what I see from soda,” he says, “but I see a lot of damage from soda.” But a group representing soft drink manufacturers argue that the new study is misleading and should not deter people from drinking soda. “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. “The body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion.” They recommend regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist to prevent decay. Regardless, Bassiouny says that, in addition to these measures, reducing soda intake is best for the chompers — and if you do drink it, do not keep in your mouth for too long.

    Saturday, May 25, 2013 06:00 PM GST
    By Valerie Tejeda


  1. Kid Cudi
    I'm sorry, but what?

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought that dental damage from cocaine and methamphetamine is due to indirect causes, such as dry mouth and poor hygiene, not the actual drug, itself.

    If my knowledge proves to be correct, this article is just another example of media misinformation.
  2. ex-junkie
    I think they missed the point. How many fatties do you see drinking diet coke alongside their McDonalds meal, or with their block of chocolate? There is no way to tell exactly what has caused their tooth decay.
  3. Moving Pictures
    Well since crack is basic, it obviously doesn't have a high acid content! Yes, I believe that it's the dry mouth, jaw grinding, and poor hygiene that causes most of the tooth decay associated with stimulant use. Same with opiate use minus the jaw grinding.

    Soda on the other hand, the culprit is phosphoric acid and sugar, maybe even carbonation? I remember doing an experiment in school when I was little where we let a tooth sit in a little jar of soda for a week or two weeks or something and when we took it out, it crumbled.

    I've drank Coca-Cola since I was like 4 years old. I drink it pretty much everyday. I've also had several stints of daily opiate addiction and a few periods of stimulant addiction. I have a few cavities but other than that, my teeth are alright. They're hardly even discolored. I just brush them twice a day.

    But yeah, this woman was drinking a 2 liter of soda a day for 3-5 years plus we have no mention on her dental hygiene. Sure, yeah, that'll fuck you're teeth up.
  4. Kid Cudi
    My thinking exactly.

    Much of the information that is released, pertaining to drugs and their use, is comprised of vague studies that are full of unknown variables. In order for one to receive accurate data, all factors must be known and taken into account. Otherwise, there's no point in even devising such experiments, as they will only result in erroneous findings.
  5. Docta
    I think we can all agree that in this instance the author has not let the facts get in the way of a good story by making sugar carbonated beverages on a par with crack and meth, certainly gives a hole new meaning to the term "Coke Head" or should that be Coke®Head.

    That statement is kind of half right, Crack mouth seems to be a stand alone life style phenomenon with as you say "dry mouth and poor hygiene" etc. Whereas the more severe Meth mouth is also compounded by the decomposition product from vaporizing the methamphetamine salt, its this resulting hydrochloric acid that is the cause not the meth.
  6. nomud
    I drink 2-3 liters of nondiet soda a day for the last 16 years.No cavities :)
    Some gum recession,not out of the normal though.However, aspartame could be
    the culprit.I hear terrible things about aspartame breaking down to methyl alcohol
    if the soda gets hot in transit.Also heard if sodium benzoate preserved sodas can decarboxylate
    to benzene.That would be nasty.
  7. ex-junkie
    One of my lecturers told me that the aspartame study that initially caused this big overreaction was an inconclusive study that was done on mice - with amounts that equated to x2000[?] of what any normal human would consume in one drink. I'll see her tomorrow and will ask for the source.
  8. Docta
    Certainly would be good to get an idea of how Aspartame functioned in research but I don't know how well any outcome could be compared. As nomud says the decomposition products would be a focus point so if there's something in there on decomp, cyclic and de-esterified dipeptide that would be of interest. The resulting aspartic acid and methanol from the decomp could defiantly be a problem but as with amino acids in general the abundance of acid activity depends on individual local chemical environments and therefore the pH of the solution when in the mouth, hard to know for sure how much effect it would have.
  9. ex-junkie
    Unless it's being held in the mouth for long periods of time, then I would assume the effects would be negligible. Though I feel there might be something to say about consuming 2-3L per day and constantly sipping on diet soft drinks.

    I wonder whether large doses of phenylketonurics increase the risk of dementia.
  10. Alien Sex Fiend
    so sugar and cotton mouth are bad for you when you are already not brushing your teeth for days? thats new. and guess what that mint in gum is actually decomposing your teeth and its a fact.
  11. nomud
    A recent study suggests soda/pop, soft drinks that contain as most do
    citric or phosphoric acids etch the enamel from the teeth.Which makes
    a lot of sense.

    The aspartame releasing methyl alcohol on degradation seems to have some
    merit,wouldn't remove enamel though, metabolized to formaldehyde would
    cause more severe problems.
  12. BitterSweet
    I agree with the other replies. The author of this article is trying to compare soft drinks to crack and meth, and this evidence is based on the cases of two women. The American Beverage Association pretty much covered that by explaining that the woman drinking soda had no dental work for a long time. Compared to this one isolated case there are 100 x more cases where people can drink soda and have perfectly healthy teeth. The author also should not jump to conclusions about soft drinks when this woman was drinking massive amounts a day. There are too many factors present and in such a situation you can't isolate one factor and assume cause and correlation. Maybe this is some type of proof that holding everything constant (i.e. assuming a person has no dental work regardless), a person who consumes soft drinks will experience tooth decay compared to if they didn't at all. That would be better evidence - to see how one's dental hygiene fairs while taking caring of one's teeth (brushing, flossing, dental work) and drinking soda, and then have that same person stop dental hygiene (no brushing, flossing, dental work) and drinking soda, and compare the two outcomes.

    My mom is pretty much addicted to diet coke and other diet drinks, almost like a cigarette habit, and this is going 10 years or more back. There's always diet coke in her fridge and she probably has a few cans a day but her teeth are fine. I told her it wasn't healthy for her as I've vaguely heard something about aspartame.
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