Many people often drink hot lemon water first thing in the morning. This helps to cleanse the digestive system, stimulate digestive enzymes and perhaps even assist with weight loss.
Others enjoy eating or sucking lemon slices. Lemons and lemon juice is highly acidic. Over time, routine consumption of lemon juice will affect your tooth’s outer covering – the enamel.
Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel, caused most commonly by acid attack. When the enamel is worn away, it exposes the underlying dentin (which is yellower in colour than enamel), and this may cause you to experience tooth sensitivity. Acidic foods and drinks can cause enamel erosion. As your enamel erodes it becomes thinner and this allows the yellower dentine that lies below the enamel to be more visible through the enamel. 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 juice/water. The rate of chemical reactions increases with temperature and therefore erosion will be more severe at higher temperatures.
Mixing the lemon juice in 250ml of warm water may help to lessen the acidity. You can further reduce risk by drinking the 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 straightaway. This removes any acid that may remain on the tooth surface and reduces the acidity of the oral saliva. Another option is to 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. Why? Because acid softens enamel and makes it more prone to erosion during brushing. If you already have enamel erosion, consult with your dentist for further options.