The connection between lemon juice and tooth enamel decay is true. As a lover of lemons, it's a little sad to say bad things about the adorable little lemon. The truth is there, though. There are ways to lessen the effects though, and I've outlined them in the article below...
Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of teeth. It's hard, being made almost entirely of minerals, but can be affected by acidity, diet, and physical impact. It's a bit brittle and can be damaged by outside influence. Lemon juice or any other acidic substance can set up an environment in the mouth that encourages the decay, or demineralization, of the enamel.
The connection between lemon juice and tooth enamel decay is mostly due to the high acidity, pH 2-3, of lemon juice. This high acidity is due to the high citric acid content of lemon juice. The acidity of the citric acid literally dissolves the enamel.
This does not mean that you shouldn't enjoy lemon juice or any of the wonderful health benefits of lemon juice. It means that you need to pay attention to the way you consume it. Adding lemon juice to a glass of water raises the pH from an acidic 2-3 up to a manageable 5-7. An excellent solution and the one I prefer.
Another solution I have heard, although I am a bit skeptical, is to drink lemon juice drinks through a straw. Personally, I can't stand straws. I dislike plastic. It's toxic to the environment and I certainly don't want to make a habit of putting it in my mouth. I am also not certain that the slight decrease in contact of lemon juice and tooth enamel from drinking through a straw is enough to make a difference.
Another easy solution to reduce impact between lemon juice and tooth enamel is to rinse your mouth with water after drinking lemon juice or eating lemons. Technically, you should do the same with any fruit juice or sugary beverage.
For perspective, soda is way harder on your tooth enamel than lemon juice. The refined sugar and phosphoric acid in soda is like tooth decay in a bottle. My recommendation would be drink soda as an occasional treat. The habit of sipping on soda all day long is the worst case scenario for dental health.
The frequency of consumption makes the biggest difference in how a food or drink affect tooth enamel. An occasional drink of lemon juice won't have much of an effect. Regular hourly consumption is much more likely to cause damage. My solution is to drink lemon juice mixed with water and only first thing in the morning.
To summarize, the best way to deal with lemon juice and tooth enamel is to drink lemon juice once a day and mixed with water. That way you can take advantage of all the health benefits of lemon juice without harming your teeth. Enjoy.
Now head over to our main lemon juice section to find out all about the health benefits, a detox you can do using lemons, and more.
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