“The health benefits of consuming lemon water are well known. Many people have added it to their morning routine to improve hydration as well as a whole host of bodily functions like boosting the immune system, improved digestive health, and strengthening the liver.” (Food Matters)
However, there is one side effect of consuming warm lemon water that many people do not know.
Lemon Water’s Effect on the Teeth
All citrus fruits, due to their acids, can damage teeth. This is especially true for lemons. That is because lemons contain high amounts of citric acid. This acid may quickly wear away at the enamel of the teeth. Enamel is hard to grow back and once severely damaged, may be irreparable.
Signs of enamel erosion include:
Tooth Discoloration – The enamel gives teeth their white appearance. Once the enamel wears away, the teeth may have a yellow tint because dentin is showing through. The dentin is the inside of your tooth.
Transparent Edges – If the edges of the teeth are transparent, this is a sure sign that they enamel is not as strong as it should be.
Tooth Sensitivity – The dentin is exposed to the nerve of the tooth. Therefore, if the enamel is being eroded, the inside of the tooth is exposed to temperatures that make eating uncomfortable. Sensitivity may mean damaged enamel.
Warm Lemon Water
Warm lemon water is worse for teeth than cold lemon water. Warm water causes the lemon to release more acid that makes the water more acidic. As we already learned, more acid means more enamel erosion.
Cold lemon water is a better option for those who want to consume lemon water for its many health benefits.
With any acidic food, brushing right after eating is not a good idea. The Mayo Clinic states, “If you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink, avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can remove enamel. If you know you are going to eat or drink something acidic, brush your teeth beforehand.” So, brush teeth before drinking lemon water.
Here are things a person can do to get the health benefits of lemon water without eroding tooth enamel.
Try cold lemon water instead of warm lemon water. This will reduce the amount of available acid that can touch your teeth.
Brush teeth before consuming lemon water so that the enamel is not brushed away.
Drink lemon water carefully so that it does not touch your teeth or drink with a straw so that it bypasses the teeth.
Instead of brushing, rinsing your mouth and teeth with water. This will remove citric acid without harming enamel.
Try different types of water like cucumber or mint water. Both are also hydrating but do not contain citric acid.
Overall, yes, lemon water is good for the body. However, one needs to find the balance between what is good for the body and what is good for the teeth.
Following these tips will help keep the body and teeth safe and healthy.