DETROIT, Mich. -

Diet soda drinkers may want to think carefully before picking up another pop.

A new study says that heavy consumption of diet soda can damage a person's teeth just as badly as methamphetamine or crack cocaine. The study shows that the ingredients in crack, methamphetamine, and soda, sweetened or not, are highly all highly acidic, and cause similar dental issues, according to professor of restorative dentistry Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia.

The combination of citric and phosphoric acid can cause significant damage to teeth and constant exposure can even eventually cause erosion.

The study concluded that a woman in her 30s who drank 2 liters of diet soda every day for three to five years ultimately experienced nearly the same tooth decay as a 51-year-old who had habitually used crack cocaine for 18 years and a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict who had used for three years and drank two to three cans of soda daily. All teeth were soft and discolored, many were eroded, and all study participants ended up needing many or all of their teeth extracted.

The study noted that one way to prevent teeth from the most severe damage is to make sure the soda does not stay in your mouth too long and to wash your mouth out after drinking it, but that the most effective way to avoid the damage to to cut soda out altogether.