I have had an unusually large number of patients come in for their dental appointments lately complaining of sensitive teeth! The first question I always ask is: “Have you started drinking lemon water”?
While many well-meaning naturopathic doctors even recommend it to their clients instead of coffee, I am quite concerned that they have not also counseled these people on the possible side-effects of this daily habit to their teeth.
Although There Are Health Benefits, Lemon Water Can Cause Damage to Your Teeth
While drinking lemon water is reported to help with boosting the immune system, improving digestion and strengthening the liver, it can have devastating effects on the teeth that may be irreparable.
Signs of Enamel Erosion Include:
- Tooth Discoloration – Enamel gives teeth their white appearance. Once it wears away, the teeth may have a yellow tint because the dentin, the substance underneath the enamel is showing.
- Transparent Edges – If the edges of the teeth are transparent, this is a sign that the enamel is thin and not very strong.
- Tooth Sensitivity – The protective enamel has been eroded and the inside of the tooth is more exposed to temperatures that make eating and drinking hot and cold things uncomfortable.
How to Prevent Acid Erosion
While there are a variety of toothpastes now on the market that can help with “Acid Erosion”, I feel the best approach is always preventative and suggest the following:
- Don’t Sip: If you are going to drink lemon water have it all at once, do not sip on it.
- Use a Straw: Try drinking it through a straw to avoid bathing all of your teeth in the citric acid.
- Never brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water: The citric acid softens the enamel and brushing them immediately after will wear the enamel more easily. Instead wait 30-60 minutes to brush, rinse with water immediately after drinking, and/or if possible, rinse with an alkaline substance such as baking soda water or milk.
- Try lemon essential oil in instead: It has all of the benefits, but the oil is made from the lemon peel not the fruit. This makes it healthier for your teeth! 1-2 drops in a glass of water is ideal; your teeth will thank you for it!
What other measures do you take to combat acid erosion?
Until next time,