Lemon juice

Lemon juice

- benefits and side effects

by D-r Stefan Anastasovski, DMD

Lemon! If we take a moment and think about the everyday use of this fruit, I’m sure that we will come to the conclusion that this fruit is used throughout the entire year. In the summer as well as in the winter, we use it for its refreshing taste and high vitamin C content. The use of lemon is especially intensive during the flu and cold season - tea with lemon, soup with lemon, lemonade; I believe you’ll find these things familiar.

But what are the effects of lemon? Knowing its overall benefits on the body, we come to the question: What are the effects on teeth from the excessive intake of lemon juice?

 The lemon belongs to the citrus fruits group and contains the so called citrus/citric acid. The citric acid affects the structure of teeth by forming a chemical connection with the enamel. This chemical connection leads to weakening of the toughness and structure of teeth, further manifested as erosions, destruction of enamel, and exposure of dentin and tooth sensitivity. That will be it, for the direct impact of lemon juice on teeth if consumed in excessive amounts. Its indirect manifestation is realized through the changes of pH values inside the mouth, that are caused by its acidity. The intake of lemon juice leads to instant reduction of the mouth’s pH level, because of its own low pH of 2-3. This high acid environment leads to increased reproduction of pathogenic bacteria responsible for causing caries and other dental diseases.

Because it is not my intention to criticize the use of lemon in everyday life, but simply to point the right way of using it, I would state the benefits and the positivity of it. For example, lemon reduces toothache. Also, applied by massage, it affects well the gum and helps in healing of wounds on it. It has good impact by eliminating bad breath. Vitamin C, found in large quantities in lemon, is responsible for better dental structure.

Knowing both, the positivities and negativities, there are few advices and recommendations for adequate lemon juice consumption.

1.     Mixing the lemon juice with water. Diluting the lemon juice with water leads to increase of its pH values from 2-3 to around 5-7. In this diluted state it can be considered as safe to use, because it somewhat reaches the normal pH level of 7.

2.     Rinsing the mouth with water after drinking lemonade.

3.     Drinking lemon juice in the morning hours because of the higher salivation. Avoid drinking in the afternoon or at bedtime when salivation is low.

4.     Using a straw when we drink lemon juice. There are divided opinions on this matter because of the doubts do we really, in this way, avoid contact between the lemon juice and our teeth.

5.     My final advice would be the obligatory visit to your dentist for advices in case you decide to increase the intake of lemon juice.   

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