The answer is yes! An increasing number of our patients are drinking lemon water every day; with it’s undeniable health benefits why wouldn’t you?!
But there is a more sinister side to this cute vibrant fruit that has a long lasting effect on your enamel. Enamel is so important as it’s the first layer of defense to protect your teeth from decay and the acids in the foods we eat and drink. It also determines how white our teeth are naturally (fun fact: the thicker your enamel is, the ‘whiter’ your tooth appears). We’re not saying stop drinking warm lemon water, but simply make small adjustments that will prevent detrimental affects on your teeth and keep that enamel where it should be- on your teeth.
What we know is that lemons are extremely acidic with a pH level around 2.0 (numbers closer to 0 are more acidic, numbers closer to 7 are neutral), and that anything that we eat or drink (except for water), exposes our teeth to the proteins and acids for 20 minutes! Imagine that! Every time we sit down to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as everything we drink (you’re thinking of the copious amounts of coffees a day you have, aren’t you?) the process of destroying your enamel begins. The process where these acids soften your enamel is called demineralisation.
If your enamel is destroyed, your body doesn’t make anymore to replace it. Unlike other parts of your body- like your bones, for instance – enamel doesn’t contain any living cells, so it cannot regenerate.
So how can we still enjoy a warm lemon water ritual?
- Consider how much lemon juice you are adding to your water, even a few drops will give you the health benefits. More is not necessarily better in this case.
- Use a straw!
- Try lemon essential oil instead. It has all the benefits, but the oil is made from the lemon peel, not the fruit. This makes it healthier for your teeth!
- Do not brush for 1 hour! After you drink, remember the acidic attack for 20 minutes starts, so you need to give your body time to use the saliva it creates to neutralise the high acid levels in your mouth. But, still not forgetting to brush later as there is still bacteria that needs to be removed
- After drinking lemon water, rinse your mouth out with tap water. This will help your saliva to remineralise your enamel
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