New Study Shows Soda and Illegal Drugs Cause Similar Tooth Damage

In a new study released in the March/April issue of General Dentistry, researchers compared damage in three people’s mouths — an admitted user of methamphetamine, a previous user of cocaine, an a chronic diet soda drinker. All of the participants stated they practiced poor dental hygiene as well as not seeing a dentist regularly.

When tooth damage was compared between the three participants, identical types of damage and severity were found.

The high acid levels of soda and both meth and cocaine cause massive erosion, and all three participants showed signs of severe tooth erosion. Elements found in both meth and cocaine, such as battery acid and drain cleaner, make the drugs highly toxic to teeth. Soda contains natural acids that are just as dangerous — the soda participant in the study was drinking 2 liters of diet soda every day for about five years.

The study is a reminder to us all that soda, even diet, is bad for our teeth and our general health. For those who enjoy the occasional Coke, be sure to chew sugar-free gum afterwards, or rinse your mouth with water.

Other Bad Food and Drinks for Your Teeth:

  • ”Healthy” Vitamin Drinks: Many of these self proclaimed “vitamin drinks” contain tons of sugar and acid that erodes enamel.

  • Sticky Sweets: Sugar is already bad news for teeth, but sugar that sticks to teeth and exposes them to it for long periods of time is even worse.

  • Ice and Popcorn: Crunching on these fun snacks can lead to tooth breakage or lodging uncooked kernels between teeth, causing serious damage.

  • Dried Fruit: While often seen as a healthy snack, dried fruits are incredibly concentrated sugars — and their gummy texture makes them stick to teeth as well as caramel.

  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol dries out your mouth, ruining your natural saliva production. This production is necessary for washing away food particles. Alcohol is also corrosive to the gums and over consumption can cause long-lasting gum disease.

  • Coffee: Coffee not only discolors our teeth, it makes them extra sticky, allowing more food particles to latch on.

  • Starchy Foods: Starchy foods like chips and white bread can easily get stuck in teeth, which feeds the bacteria that makes up our plaque.

At Greenspoint Dental, we offer a variety of dental care to fix tooth damage or stop it before it happens. If you have a dental concern or need to make an appointment, contact us today.