Drinking large quantities of soda can be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use.

A new study published in the March/April 2013 issue of General Dentistry has revealed that drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be just as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use.

The process of tooth erosion and destruction of enamel, the protective layer that prevents damage to teeth, is the same with the consumption of illegal drugs and excess intake of soda. Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away tooth enamel, which is the glossy, protective outside layer of the tooth. Without the protection of enamel, teeth are more susceptible to developing cavities, as well as becoming sensitive, cracked, and discolored.

The case study that is being used as an example contrasted the damage in three individuals’ mouths — an admitted user of methamphetamine, a previous longtime user of cocaine, and an excessive diet soda drinker. Each participant admitted to having poor oral hygiene and not visiting a dentist on a regular basis. Researchers found the same type and severity of damage from tooth erosion in each participant’s mouth.

“Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels present in their ‘drug’ of choice — meth, crack, or soda,” says Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc, PhD, lead author of the study.

“The citric acid present in both regular and diet soda is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion,” says Dr. Bassiouny.

Similar to citric acid, the ingredients used in preparing methamphetamine can include extremely corrosive materials, such as battery acid, lantern fuel, and drain cleaner. Crack cocaine is highly acidic in nature, as well.

The soda abusing individual consumed 2 liters of diet soda daily for three to five years. Says Dr. 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.”

AGD Spokesperson Eugene Antenucci, DDS, FAGD, recommends that his patients minimize their intake of soda and drink more water. Additionally, he advises them to either chew sugar-free gum or rinse the mouth with water following consumption of soda. “Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal,” he says.

Soda studies have increasingly revealed that large consumption of soda by the average consumer has severe health side effects.


Academy of General Dentistry (2013, May 28). Soda and illegal drugs cause similar damage to teeth: Acids erode enamel. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 31, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/05/130528122505.htm

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