When life gives you lemons, don’t put them anywhere near your mouth. As natural and homeopathic remedies grow more and more popular with every passing year, it can sometimes be difficult to discern the good trends from the dangerous ones.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of natural alternatives and additions to add to your dental care regimen, but there are also a ton that are positively damaging when it comes to oral health. In this post, we’ll debunk one of the most concerning myths we’ve encountered recently: lemon rinses.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Navarro had a patient in the chair who, when asked about her at-home dental routine, responded the following way:
“Every morning before I leave for work, I suck on a lemon slice for a few minutes. The juice in the lemon deep-cleans even the tiniest scraps left in my teeth!”
To be fair, she’s not wrong: the high concentration of citric acid in lemons is definitely a great corroder of any micro-particles lodges in your mouth, and will do a great job removing them from your teeth and gumline.
The problem is the citric acid is more acidic than even vinegar, having a pH score of 2.2- not as strong as hydrochloric acid, but still far from having a neutral balance.
Yes, it is strong enough to corrode food particles and color molecules staining your teeth- but it is also strong enough to corrode your enamel- harming your teeth more than helping. Far from whitening and polishing your teeth- it’ll dissolve them progressively over time.
What damage can result from this? Some dentists have shared anecdotes of their patients have an corroded imprint of a lemon slice on their teeth after multiple self-treatments- leading to higher levels of required care concerning cosmetics, like bonding or even veneers. If the damage is catastrophic enough, the patient may even require implants to replace their scarred dentition.
When it comes to citrus juices- we often advise that our patients drink them with straws to prevent any potential oral damage- and we definitely don’t advise they place the slices directly on their pearly whites.
We understand that the allure of an inexpensive, at-home, convenient solution to teeth whitening can sometimes be too great to ignore- but in this case, leave it to the professionals.
Like we said, when life gives you lemons, keep them far away from your mouth.