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Diet Soda, Like Meth or Crack Cocaine, Could Harm Teeth

Update Date: May 27, 2013 01:34 PM EDT

Diet soda is a popular option amongst people who crave the taste of soda but not the calories. Despite being presented as the healthier option, diet soda has been scrutinized for its possible unhealthy consequences. In a new study, researchers found that consuming too much diet soda could harm teeth in the same ways that meth or crack cocaine do This report studied a woman's teeth and drinking habits and discovered that diet soda caused similar teeth decay and erosions seen in meth and crack cocaine users.  

The study looked at an anonymous female participant who is in her 30s. According to the report, she started to drink diet soda to curb weight gain. She developed the habit of drinking two liters of diet soda per day for three to five years. After studying her teeth, the researchers found that her teeth had eroded to the point where it looked like a 29-year-old meth addict and a 51-year-old longtime crack addict. The 29-year-old teeth sample was from a man who used meth for three years and the other sample was from a man who used crack cocaine for 18 years. The comparison was made from images of teeth from these different kinds of people.

"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. Mohamed Bassiouny described to HealthDay. Bassiouny is a professor of restorative dentistry from Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, PA. He added that all three products are highly acidic, which could explain why three people with different vices had similar teeth erosions. The woman's teeth had softened significantly for her age and had discoloration.

"None of the teeth affected by erosion were salvageable," Bassiouny revealed. The woman had to replace all of her teeth with dentures.

The report stated that simply drinking diet soda would not cause this level of erosion seen in the 30-something year old woman. Bassiouny stated that her condition was a combination of the soda with poor dental hygiene. The American Beverage Association was quick to remind consumers that the woman in this report admitted to not receiving dental care for over 20 years and stated that to compare diet soda to drug abuse is "irresponsible."

"The body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion," the association pointed out. "However, we do know that brushing and flossing our teeth, along with making regular visits o the dentist, play a very important role in preventing them."

Regardless of whether or not dentist visits could prevent the effects of diet soda, Bassiouny stated that prevention, by not drinking diet soda in excess, is the best option. The report was published in the journal, General Dentistry.

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