A severe soda addiction can be as terrible for your teeth as a meth or crack habit, according to a case study in General Dentistry spotted by NPR. Study author Mohamed Bassiouny says he noticed the frightening similarities during his 20 years treating dental patients at Philadelphia and Appalachia clinics. His paper's scope is much more limited: It focuses on just three patients displaying extreme dental erosion in the form of teeth lesions with "almost identical features": a 3-year meth user, an 18-year coke user, and a woman with a 3-year diet soda habit of 2 liters a day.
If you're quick to pooh-pooh the implications due to your more modest soda habits, Bassiouny has a warning for you: Soda's citric acid (a preservative) can wreak havoc on even the casual drinker's teeth, chipping away at first enamel, then dentin. He recommends not drinking more than 12 ounces of soda daily, and avoiding other citric acid-containing beverages (like energy drinks or juices) if you do have that soda. The American Beverage Association isn't buying it though, calling the soda-drug comparison "irresponsible. ... The body of available science does not support that beverages are a unique factor in causing tooth decay or erosion." For the full report, and some pretty horrific images, click here.