Lemon water is known for its high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, which help aid the body in immune support and digestion. Because of these reasons, lemon water has quickly become a trendy addition to healthy lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, most people do not also consider the possible damage lemon water can have on their teeth and dental hygiene. Learn more about why drinking lemon water is bad for oral health and your teeth and the best tips to avoid teeth erosion.
Why should I worry about lemon water’s acidity and tooth erosion?
Lemon juice is high in acidity, with a pH level of 2-3. Anything under the pH level of 4 is considered to be corrosive to teeth enamel. This means when we drink lemon water, it can potentially cause enamel erosion in our teeth. Over time, daily consumption from the acidity of lemon juice softens the enamel of the teeth, leading to issues for our teeth, gums, and overall dental hygiene.
What are the symptoms of tooth erosion from acidity?
Unfortunately, tooth erosion is permanent and the effects of acidic lemon water cannot be reversed. Once the enamel on your tooth’s surface has begun to wear away, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Tooth sensitivity, especially when consuming hot, cold, or sweet drinks
- A yellowing or discoloration of your teeth
- Increase in cavities and tooth decay
- In extreme cases, loss of teeth and abscesses in the mouth
What are other drinks that are bad for your teeth?
Lemon water is not the only drink that weakens tooth enamel. In fact, there are a number of drinks and foods with high acidity. Some of these include:
- Soft drinks – their high levels of sugar may also lead to an increase in cavities
- Energy drinks
- Fruit juice – especially any containing lemons, oranges, limes
- Wine and alcoholic drinks
How to drink lemon water without damaging your teeth
Though there are negative effects of lemon water on tooth enamel, it doesn’t mean you have to swear the refreshing drink off completely. You can still enjoy it and other highly acidic beverages with just a few small adjustments.
- Use a straw – Drinking lemon water through a straw keeps the direct contact between acids and tooth enamel to a minimum. Consider keeping a reusable straw with you wherever you go.
- Rinse your mouth out with water – Once you’ve enjoyed your beverage, wash away any leftover acidity with a quick rinse with regular water. It helps cleanse the mouth but also stimulates salivation, which is good for protecting enamel.
- Chew sugar-free gum – Chewing gum will also help stimulate the salivary glands, helping wash away excess acidity, and protect your teeth.
- Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth – Brushing your teeth directly after drinking something acidic can actually do more harm than good. Because the acid in the lemon water can so easily soften the tooth enamel, even gently brushing right after can harm that delicate protective layer over our teeth. Instead, wait at least thirty minutes before brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Switch to plain water – One of the main benefits of drinking lemon water is simply that it’s hydrating for the whole body. Enjoy your refreshing lemon water beverage, but perhaps consider switching to regular water earlier than you normally do.
Still Have Questions? Ask a Dentist
Wondering if the latest health trends are bad for your teeth? Ask the dentist or dental hygienist at your next appointment. We’re always happy to share our dental expertise.