Researchers have demonstrated that drinking excessive amounts of soda can be as damaging to teeth as abusing drugs such as methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Similar to the corrosive materials used in preparing illegal drugs, the acid in carbonated drinks can corrode the tooth enamel that protects teeth. This allows mouth bacteria to cause tooth decay that can lead to tooth discoloration, gum disease, and even tooth loss. In addition to drug use or excessive soda consumption, the participants in the study also had poor oral hygiene habits and did not visit a dentist regularly. The damage to the tooth enamel of soda drinkers was to the same degree as enamel damage resulting from illegal drug use.
According to lead researcher Mohamed A. Bassiouny, "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." In the study, excessive soda consumption amounted to drinking two liters of diet soda per day over a three to five year span. Dentists recommend that individuals drink more water and consume less soda. They also suggest chewing sugar-free gum or rinsing with water after drinking soda to reduce acidity levels in the mouth.
Learn more about this study:
- Soda and Illegal Drugs Cause Similar Damage to Teeth (Science Daily)