More and more people are enjoying the benefits of starting their days with hot lemon water. A glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning can cleanse and detoxify the digestive system, stimulate digestive enzymes and perhaps even assist with weight loss. But did you know that your daily lemon water might be damaging your teeth?
Lemon acidity can cause tooth erosion
Acidic foods and drinks like lemon water can cause enamel erosion. Tooth erosion is the loss of enamel, caused most commonly by high levels of acidity. When the enamel is worn away, it exposes the underlying dentin and may cause you to experience tooth sensitivity. As dentin is yellower in colour than enamel, tooth erosion also often leads to the appearance of stained or yellow teeth.
As your enamel erodes it becomes thinner and this allows the yellower dentin that lies below the enamel to be more visible. Your teeth may appear indented and yellower and they may also feel coarse to the tongue. The temperature of your water can make a difference to the effect of the lemon water. The rate of chemical reactions increases with temperature and therefore erosion will be more severe at higher temperatures.
How can I drink lemon water without damaging my teeth?
It’s possible to reap the benefits of lemon water while reducing the risk of damage to your teeth. We recommend:
- Mix the lemon juice in 250ml of warm water in order to help to lessen the acidity.
- You can further reduce risk by drinking lemon water through a straw. Using a straw allows the fluid to bypass the teeth.
- After drinking the acidic lemon water, rinse your mouth with water straight away. This removes any acid that may remain on the tooth surface and reduces the acidity of the oral saliva.
- Chew sugar-free gum after drinking the lemon water. This helps you produce more saliva, which helps neutralise the acidity in your mouth.
- Do not brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after drinking the lemon water.
- Use a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste (fluoride toughens your enamel) and do not brush aggressively. Acid softens the enamel and makes it more prone to erosion during brushing.
Can tooth erosion be restored?
Dental erosion is irreversible, meaning your enamel won’t grow back, but it can be treated to prevent further erosion and preserve your smile. If you think you already have tooth erosion, consult with your dentist at Ethos so that they can identify what is the best treatment and work with you to develop strategies to prevent further dental erosion.