Soda may be as damaging to your teeth as meth or crack in the long run, according to a recently released study. The study claims that the damage done by high soda consumption combined with a lack of proper dental hygiene can do damage that is substantially similar to "meth mouth."
(Do yourself a favor and do not do a Google Image search for meth mouth. You can thank me later.)
The study was conducted by Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny. Bassiouny works at Temple University School of Dentistry as a professor of restorative dentistry. In the study, recently published in the journal General Dentistry, Bassiouny compares the damage done by various kinds of substances, including soda, crack, and meth.
While the weight loss benefits of diet soda are debatable, Bassiouny says that when it comes to damaging your teeth, there is little difference between diet soda and regular. The reason for this is that they have comparable acid content - citric acid and phosphoric acid, to be precise. Regular exposure to these acids without proper hygiene can do catastrophic damage to the teeth in the long term.
Fortunately for all you soda fiends out there, the damage from soda is much easier to mitigate than the damage from meth. One of the soda-drinking subjects of the study was a woman in her 30s who had been consuming two liters of soda every day for five years, and had not been to see a dentist in 20 years. That suggests that a little work to keep your teeth healthy can help prevent some of the damage soda can do. Brush regularly, go to the dentist at least once a year, preferably twice, and don't drink an entire 2-liter per day, and you should be fine.
Other subjects of the study included a 29-year-old man who had been using meth regularly for three years, as well as drinking 2-3 cans of soda per day. Another was a 51-year-old crack user. All three subjects had to have their teeth extracted and replaced with dentures.