A Deep Dive into Lemon’s Nutrition and How To Drink It While Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
Love having your daily glass of lemon water. Worried if squeezing that lemon goodness into your H2O is hurting your teeth?
You’re not alone! Many people are confused if the health benefits of lemon outweigh the concerns that it may ruin their pearly whites! There sure are pros and cons when it comes to drinking lemon water and keeping your teeth happy.
Lemon water is just so dang refreshing and tasty. So, if you’re anything like me the pros far outweigh the cons. Read on to learn how to continue sipping on this tasty beverage and keep your teeth happy.
Plus, as you go through this post you’ll uncover the oral health benefits of lemons, how acidic beverages in general are bad for your teeth and some suggestions on tips to enjoy your lemon water and maintain your mouth health.
The Oral Health Benefits of Lemons
Although it may not seem like you are including any nutrition to your water when you squeeze in a fresh lemon wedge, you are adding some nutrients into your plain ole cup of hydration.
Lemons are part of the citrus fruits, so they tend to be well known as being a solid source of vitamin C. However, lemon’s have some potassium and a little bit of vitamin B6 in them too.
A little squeeze of a lemon wedge is not packed with a ton of vitamins. However, every bit of nutrition throughout the day and week helps to fuel your health. So, scroll on to learn how the three specific nutrients in lemon benefit your oral health.
Did you know that the juice from one lemon consists of about 50% of the recommended daily reference intake of vitamin C (1)? Typically, you don’t bite into a lemon like an apple, but squeezing fresh lemon into water here and there does help up your vitamin C intake.
Vitamin C is a crucial vitamin that nourishes your gums and teeth. This vitamin helps maintain the health of the connective tissues within your gums. In turn, this helps keep your gums strong so they can help hold your teeth in place.
On top of that, vitamin C is needed to help collagen synthesize and help maintain the structure of teeth. By doing so, vitamin C may be another helpful nutrient that reduces your likelihood of developing cavities.
When you think of a great source of potassium, do you think of bananas? They tend to be the go-to food when people are trying to up their potassium intake, but there are several other great sources of this vital nutrient.
Lemons do have some potassium. So, they are another lovely food to add to your diet that will help increase your consumption of it.
Yup, potassium is yet another nutrient that helps your mouth. This nutrient helps absorb more calcium into your teeth. Doing so contributes to helping them stay strong. Since it helps prevents your teeth from weakening, it is yet another nutrient that plays a role in reducing the development of cavities!
If you are looking for more info on potassium and vitamin C for oral health, plus additional food sources check out my other blog post, 6 Vitamins for Healthy Teeth and Gums.
Lemons have a small amount of vitamin B6 in them, but it’s worth noting since they still consist of some of this nutrient. Often when sources of vitamin B6 are mentioned people tend to refer to beef, chicken, dark leafy greens, and salmon.
However, lemons are yet another food source that will help nudge more of this powerful vitamin into your body!
Vitamin B6 does not appear to have a direct impact when it comes to vitamins that nourish your mouth. But, it may work in the background helping your overall health, which means it does nourish your dental health too.
One of the most beneficial ways this vitamin nourishes your body is by contributing to cellular health. Cell health is one aspect that helps support your immune system.
By consuming vitamin B6 you are providing fuel for your immune health. The state of your immune system is an important factor when it comes to how well you will heal and recover from oral surgeries.
Learn more about lemon nutrition from Minnetonka Orchard’s Lemon Nutrition Guide.
How Acidic Beverages Are Bad For Your Teeth
You may have heard that acidic beverages can rot your teeth. But, are you aware of which drinks are acidic and which ones are not? Or maybe you’re wondering, okay are some acidic drinks worse for your teeth than others?
Well, before I dive into acidic beverages and teeth damage, let’s go over a quick overview of the pH scale and how it provides a measurement for beverage acidity.
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a beverage is. The scale ranges from 0-14 with 7 being neutral. Any score lower than 7 indicates acidity and any score higher than 7 indicates a base. The lower the pH number the more acidic the beverage. And the higher the pH the more basic.
Water is neutral with a pH of 7, whereas 100% lemon juice is acidic with a pH of 2. Whole milk has a pH range of 6.7-6.9 making it slightly acidic and green tea’s pH ranges from 7-10 making it a slight to moderate base (2).
Below is a graphic of the pH scale.
Acidic Beverages and Teeth Damage
As you can see from the above graphic the pH of lemon is very acidic. When you add some fresh lemon into your water you likely don’t squeeze in an entire lemon’s worth. Although, adding in some lemon does decrease the water’s pH and make it more acidic.
Acidic beverages (like lemon water) cause your teeth’s enamel (aka the hard surface on your teeth) to become soft. Softening of enamel can lead to the surface of your teeth breaking down. The broken-down enamel may then develop into tooth decay and cavities (2) (3).
How To Know If A Beverage Is Acidic
So, knowing the pH that makes a beverage acidic and how acidic drinks cause tooth damage is good. But labels tend not to include pH, yet knowing how acidic a drink is may help you decide how often you want to consume it.
The biggest culprit for dental erosion is acid. When it comes to acidic beverages look for drinks that have citric or phosphoric acid on the ingredients list (2).
It appears that tooth erosion is caused by frequent, repeated exposure to drinks containing these. Drinks that tend to have these acids are fruit juices, sports drinks, and carbonated beverages, especially sodas.
Ways To Enjoy Lemon Water and Keep Your Teeth Healthy
As you may be able to tell there are pros and cons to lemon water. Adding lemons to your water means adding more nutrition and sprucing up your drink with some flavor. However, lemons are one of the most acidic and therefore erosive foods for your teeth. Which can make leave you thinking if it’s worth it?
Scroll on to uncover some tips and suggestions on how to enjoy your lemon water and continue to help your teeth.
Water Temperature, Lemon/Water Ratio and More Tips
The temperature of the water does impact how erosive that squeeze of lemon is on your teeth. Hot water dissolves more of the lemon which means there’s a higher amount of acid that could interact with the surface of your teeth. So, when making lemon water try to use cold water.
The water to lemon ratio is another important factor that will help the health of your pearly whites. Since lemon is highly acidic, diluting it with water will help to reduce the amount of acid your teeth encounter. To enhance the flavor (and nutrition) for every 32 ounces of water try mixing in juice from ½ a lemon.
What NOT TO DO and What TO DO Right After A Glass of Lemon Water
You may think okay, great now that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my lemon water, feel hydrated, refreshed, and nourish, how do I get this acid off my teeth?
It may feel counterintuitive, but the biggest thing to not immediately do after you finish your glass is brushing your teeth. Your enamel is a little weak right now since it’s been in contact with acid, so give yourself some time, wait about one hour before brushing (4).
Now that you know what not to do, you’ve got options of what to do after your drink is done. The goal with either of these two options is to try to reduce and rinse away acidity in your mouth.
One option is to rinse your mouth by drinking a glass of water of a glass of milk. (if you’re curious about milk’s benefits for your teeth, read more in my blog post, Is Milk Good For Your Teeth?)
And the other option is to chew on some sugar-free gum as this will increase saliva production and may lessen acidity.
No, Lemon Water Is Not Bad For Your Teeth
Overall, lemon water is not bad for your teeth. Like with most things, moderation is key to enjoying this drink and keeping your mouth happy.
For lemon water to have a significant negative impact on your teeth, you’d have to drink a lot of it on a consistent regular basis. So, as long as your not squeezing it into every single glass of water you drink every day, you may be okay.
To balance the nutritional benefits and fun of lemon water with teeth health, try implementing one or two suggestions from the previous section.
Cheers to flavorful hydration and happy teeth.
As always, hopefully, you found this information useful. If you are looking for help with meal plans or nutrition coaching for general dental health or if you have an upcoming oral surgery and need help with what to eat before and after, head on over to my contact me page and reach out!
Is Lemon Water Bad For Your Teeth Sources:
Is Lemon Water Bad For Your Teeth?