Teeth, diet soda and meth mouth: Worst title, science and study ever?

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It is difficult to know where to even start on this one.

Because it s not everyday that you see a study in which everything is just plain wrong. Yet, anyone reading the catchy headline will have the image of meth mouth imprinted in their mind, and connect it to drinking diet soda for absolutely no reason except that some stupid dentist shot his mouth off without having the slightest idea of what he is talking about.

Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry declared 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,

OK- let s look at the validity of this claim.

Problem #1: Methamphetamine, crack cocaine and soda sweetened or not are all highly acidic and can cause similar dental problems.A little lapse in chemistry acumen: methamphetamine and cocaine are not only not acidic, but they are basic the exact opposite of acidic. Which pretty much shoots the acidity argument in the foot.

Problem #2: The study consisted of one woman in her 30s who drank 2 liters of diet soda daily for more than three years. Her teeth looked similar to those of two people a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict and a 51-year-old habitual crack cocaine user. Not exactly up to the rigorous standards of modern clinical trials.

Problem #3: Despite the headline, this has nothing to do with normal consumption of diet soda (or any soda for that matter). The woman in question drank huge quantities of soda and held it in her mouth before swallowing it. And they chose to ignore a rather pertinent fact: The woman referenced in this article had not received dental health services for more than 20 years two-thirds of her life, the American Beverage Association said in a statement. Gee, do you think that this may have played a part in this?

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, who has seen a good bit of garbage science in his time ranks this right up there with the worst of them. He says, It s common enough to see agenda-driven studies, but this isn t even close to a study. It s an opinion, and a really idiotic opinion at that.

He adds, This paper belongs at the bottom of a bird cage. There is nothing of any substance here (except for the scientific errors), and the headline is intentionally misleading and attention grabbing. An equally valid (or perhaps superior) study might be entitled Sticking a bassoon in your ear is linked to yields on ten year treasury bills.