About Your Teeth Are lemons and lemon water in the morning bad for my teeth?

Q & A's

Are lemons and lemon water in the morning bad for my teeth?


Is it true that drinking hot water with raw lemon every single morning is bad for your teeth? Is there anything I can do to protect my teeth but still drink it? 

Many people regularly drink hot lemon water first thing in the morning. It is suggested that this helps to cleanse the digestive system, stimulate digestive enzymes and possibly even assist with weight loss. Others enjoy eating or sucking or mulling lemon slices. Lemons and lemon juice is  essentially citric acid and 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 painful 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 rough to the tongue.  The temperature of your hot water  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 water may help to lessen the acidity.  You can further minimise risk by drinking the warm lemon juice through a straw. Using a straw allows the fluid to bypass the teeth.

After drinking the acidic lemon water, rinse your mouth with water immediately.  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 60 minutes after drinking the lemon water.  Use a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste (fluoride strengthens 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.  Your dentist may recommend treatments such as resin bonding, veneers or sealants to protect your remaining tooth structure, restore aesthetics and/or minimize sensitivity.

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