3 Ways Citrus Fruit Can Damage Your Teeth

Posted on: 27 March 2018

Eating citrus fruits and drinking lemonade and orange juice provides you with a healthy dose of vitamin C, an important nutrient that helps strengthen your immunity. Citrus fruits may also help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and may even help speed up healing after surgery.

Lemons and oranges, however, may have detrimental effects on your teeth and gums, especially if consumed in large amounts. While citrus is most often implicated in the damage of natural teeth, it may also lead to problems with dental restorations such as tooth implants.  Here are three ways citrus fruits can damage your teeth and what you can do about them.

Enamel Erosion

Citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes can lead to enamel erosion. These fruits are highly acidic, and if citrus juice isn't rinsed or brushed off the surface of your teeth quickly, acid can erode and weaken your enamel.

When your tooth enamel becomes thin, cavity-causing bacteria can invade your pulp, raising your risk for caries and infection. After consuming citrus fruits or juices, make sure to brush your teeth, or at the very least, rinse your mouth with water to help remove the caustic juice.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is another risk factor for people who consume citrus products. Oranges and lemons are known reflux triggers, and while acid reflux is often mild in some people, it can lead to severe heartburn, chest pain, coughing, and even wheezing in others.

In addition to this, irritating stomach acid can migrate up into the upper esophagus, throat, and mouth, eventually making contact with your teeth. If stomach acid stays on your teeth for prolonged periods of time, your dental enamel may weaken. If you consume citrus products before bed, drink a glass of water afterwards so that you are less likely to develop acid reflux while you sleep. 

Dry Mouth

For some people, citrus fruits can stimulate the salivary glands to produce more saliva, but in others, lemons, oranges, and limes can suppress salivary flow and dry out oral tissues. When your mouth becomes too dry, you are at risk for cavities and gum disease. This is because saliva helps wash away oral bacteria. If you have a dry mouth, drink water throughout the day or chew sugarless gum. 

If you love citrus fruits and juices, see your dentist on a regular basis so that your oral status can be monitored. When acid damage is recognized and addressed early on, you are less likely to develop enamel erosion, cavities, and gum disease.