For many of us, the holiday season is…
The official start of spring is less than a month away, but spring-like weather has already arrived in Kansas City. Sure, ol’ Punxsutawney Phil may have prophesied six more weeks of winter, but folks in Kansas City are sure enjoying the absence of snow and ice and the abundance of mild weather and sunshine. It’s not uncommon to see your neighbors out on the trails, sidewalks, and parks getting some springtime exercise. Why not? All it takes is a good pair of walking or hiking shoes and a bottle of water. On that subject, we’d like to address a question that folks tend to ask their family dentist in Kansas City from time to time. Lots of folks like to add a little slice of lemon or some lemon juice to their water, so we’re often asked about it. Can adding lemon to your water have a negative effect on your tooth enamel?
First off, what are we talking about?
Let’s start with enamel. That’s the hard outside part of your teeth. It’s also the strongest, most durable substance in the human body, which is good, because it gets a lot of wear. However, even your tooth enamel isn’t invincible, and some things, especially acids, can erode it over time. When that happens, your teeth are at risk. You’re more likely to experience tooth sensitivity, staining, cavities, and other dental problems. That’s why the question comes up. Lemons are highly acidic, and acid can do a number on tooth enamel, so folks are naturally concerned.
Aren’t there benefits to adding lemon juice to your water?
There sure are! Lemons contain a number of healthy things, including vitamin C and antioxidants. Drinking water with lemon can also aid in digestion and help you cut back on sugary sports drinks, which are similarly filled with things that are dangerous for your enamel, not to mention loads of sugar that can promote tooth decay. How do you still protect your tooth enamel while also drinking water with lemon? We have good news!
A ratio of about half of one lemon (or equivalent juice) to roughly 12 to 16 ounces of water is not enough to damage your tooth enamel, but it will still provide most of the health benefits we mentioned. That’s not the only thing you can do to protect your teeth, either. When drinking lemon water—as well as fruit juices, soda, or anything else sugary or acidic—use a straw! This sends the beverage to the back of your mouth and helps protect your teeth.
You can also chew sugar-free gum after drinking to help clean your teeth and promote the production of saliva. Saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense, and it can actually help to neutralize the acidity of lemon juice or other beverages. If you’re concerned about the state of your enamel, ask your Kansas City family dentist or try fluoridated toothpaste, which can help to harden your enamel. But don’t brush too hard! If your enamel has been eroded, it may be softer than usual, and brushing too hard—or with a brush with bristles that are too stiff—may make the problem worse.
At Blacker Family Dental in Kansas City, MO, we’re here to answer all your questions. Whether you have concerns about your tooth enamel or would like to come visit us for a checkup, call (816) 763-8400 or click here to schedule an appointment.