Diet drinks ‘as bad for teeth as methamphetamine’

Diet drinks may be as bad for your teeth as methamphetamine or crack cocaine, a US study suggests. PictureL Rob McDougall
Diet drinks may be as bad for your teeth as methamphetamine or crack cocaine, a US study suggests. PictureL Rob McDougall
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FREQUENT consumption of fizzy diet drinks may be as damaging to teeth as methamphetamine or crack cocaine, a new study suggests.

• A study has found that diet drinks may do similar damage to methamphetamine or crack cocaine

• US study says frequent consumers of diet drinks who don’t practice dental hygiene are most at risk

Research published in journal General Dentistry revealed that constant exposure to citric and phosphoric acid acid in soda without regular dental hygiene could cause erosion and significant dental damage.

“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,” said Dr Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia.

In the study, Dr Bassiouny found that a woman in her 30s who drank two liters of diet soda daily for three to five years experienced tooth rot and decay remarkably similar to that suffered by a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict and a 51-year-old habitual crack cocaine user.

The woman said she chose diet drinks over regular because of concerns over weight gain, and said she had not visited a dentist in many years.

Soft drinks companies attacked the study, claiming the study’s link between diet soft drinks and drug use was “irresponsible”

“The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years — two-thirds of her life,” the American Beverage Association said in a statement. “To single out diet soda consumption as the unique factor in her tooth decay and erosion — and to compare it to that from illicit drug use — is irresponsible.

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

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