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Hot water and lemon could be harmful to teeth warn dentists

If there’s one part of my breakfast routine I never, ever deviate from it’s having a mug of hot water and lemon before anything else. I’ve been drinking it for years — long before the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow professed their love for it.

Those who swear by hot lemon water — myself included — say it flushes toxins from the body, improves digestion and soothes an upset tummy.

But my lovely warm lemony bubble has been well and truly burst with the news that dentists are pointing out a major downside of the all-natural drink. The Daily Mail delivered the crushing blow this week, revealing that Professor Damien Walmsley from the British Dental Association believes lemon juice is extremely damaging to teeth, particularly when mixed with hot water.

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“Lemon juice […] has a pH of between 2 and 3 is therefore highly acidic,” he said. “The temperature of the water can exacerbate this effect because erosion is more severe at higher temperatures. Studies also suggest that the incidence of this type of tooth wear, particularly among children and adolescents, is more prevalent than in the past.”

Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, agreed, saying: “Lemon in hot water may be a good way of getting some vitamin C but it can play havoc with your teeth. The problem is the acidity of the drink which, if taken regularly, will lead to a softening and wearing away of the enamel surface of the tooth known as dental erosion. This can lead to discolouration as the darker dentine [the harder tooth matter below the enamel] starts to shine through the tooth.”

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Thankfully it’s not all bad news for us lemon water lovers. Dr. Carter suggests drinking the liquid through a straw so that it doesn’t come into contact with the teeth at all. Alternatively, drink it all in one go to keep the time the acid is in contact with the teeth to a minimum.

I’m not convinced how much I’ll enjoy drinking my lemon water through a straw — and I have to say that my dentist and I don’t have any concerns about discolouration on my teeth — but I’m willing to compromise on this one. Let’s hope someone lets Jen and Gwynnie know.

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