Heavy consumption of diet fizzy drinks can damage teeth as badly as methamphetamine or crack cocaine.
That’s according to a new study in which Dr Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, said: ‘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.’
Methamphetamine, crack cocaine and fizzy drink – sweetened or not – are all highly acidic and can cause similar dental problems, Bassiouny said in a study published in the journal General Dentistry.
The acid in soda is in the form of citric acid and phosphoric acid, Bassiouny said.
In his study, he found that a woman in her 30s who drank two litres of diet drinks daily for three to five years experienced tooth rot and decay similar to that suffered by a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict and a 51-year-old habitual crack cocaine user.
Methamphetamine and crack are known to ravage the mouths of users, and the two drug abusers needed all of their teeth extracted.
Besides exposing teeth to damaging acid, these illegal drugs reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, providing less opportunity for the acids to wash away. The drugs also cause systemic health problems that affect dental hygiene. Previous studies have linked ‘meth mouth’ with rampant decay.