What are the disadvantages of drinking lemon water daily?

Updated: May 23

Having a glass of lemon water in the morning is great for weight loss but is it good for your teeth as well? I mean, its just water and lemons.



Lemon water
Lemon water

You may have been following the trend for having a glass of this in the morning right when you wake up. Its certainly refreshing and even better in helping with weight control. There are very few people in this world who actually drink the recommended amount of water per day. Certainly this practice can't be bad!


Are there any disadvantages to doing this?


We will be answering this question from a dental perspective since we are a dental office serving the long island city community! So, let's rephrase it...


Is drinking lemon water bad for your teeth?

We all know that tooth decay is caused by bacteria eating sugar and using it as a fuel to force you to go on a trip to the dentist for a cavity filling. But, since lemons aren't really sweet, can it still give you cavities? After all, its just lemon water.


Indeed, a single lemon typically contains 1.5g of sugar which is paltry in comparison to say a can of pepsi which has 41g of sugar. So in that regard, it is much less likely for the lemons to cause teeth decay as opposed to your favorite can of pop.


Word of caution

Even though the lemons may not have much sugar, they are extremely sour and acidic. Their pH level is around 2. Just in case you did not know, dental cavities start to form once the pH level drops below 5.5.


The recipe to end up needing a tooth filling is putting your mouth in a low pH environment over an extended period of time. This is why it is important to brush and floss your teeth before you go to bed because if you don't then you are giving the bacteria in your mouth fuel to create a cavity by working an 8 hour overnight shift! A good oral hygiene regime is always encouraged by all dental professionals alike.



So, yes it may increase the chances of you getting a cavity but we are actually more concerned with tooth erosion.


The acidity of lemons is enough that it can cause enamel erosion. This is especially true if you bite into the lemon slices after finishing the water or worse yet you bite the lemons that didn't get put into the glass of water. Here is an example of what eroded enamel looks like:



Enamel Erosion
Enamel Erosion

If you don't want your teeth looking like that you may want to be a little bit more mindful with the lemons.


Conclusion

With that being said, it is certainly dangerous to bite into lemons because it can cause tooth erosion but we don't think that drinking just lemon water would cause that effect though. As long as you are sensible and only put 1 or 2 slices of lemon in the water, the entire glass of water should dilute the acidity down enough so that it is safe for your teeth. Its even better if you wash down the lemon water with just a plain old glass of water afterwards to bring the pH back up!


If you want to protect your teeth and your enamel, be sensible with the amount of lemons. Please do not put an entire bag of lemons in your drink. If you think you have enamel erosion, you may need your tooth repaired. Our long island city dentist can perform some dental bonding to give you your smile back, after all those lemons... so book an appointment with us for a consultation!

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!