I had several of my teeth filled by the dentist this morning. On top of that, my dentist did scaling on my teeth too. I have not had my teeth cleansed for yonks and I must slap myself for being such a slack in making regular visits to the dentist. Brushing our teeth after every meal and flossing everyday are not enough. Regular visits to the dentist (preferably twice a year) and scaling can help prevent tooth decay and for the dentist to pick up initial stages of tooth decay and rectify it. I have always been very fastidious in the health and cleanliness of my teeth but I just can’t seem to rid myself the phobia of going to the dentist. However, after my visit to the dentist 3 months back to remove a mispositioned tooth that was decayed, my phobia of dentist seems to have eased a wee bit.
The reason why several of my teeth were filled was not because of tooth decay but because of erosion of the teeth enamel. And I can only blame it on the lemon juice that I have been religiously drinking for the past decade. No doubt lemon juice boasts a host of health benefits but drinking too much of it causes erosion of the teeth enamel.
My other mistake was brushing my teeth too roughly, thinking that by doing so, my teeth will be whiter and cleaner. In actual fact, brushing the teeth too roughly may wear out the enamel too.
My dentist used an equipment like the one above when she did the filling on my teeth today.
The bill came up to a whopping RM300!
Drinking Lemon Juice And Risk Of Tooth Erosion
Many people regularly drink hot lemon water first thing in the morning. It is suggested that this helps to cleanse the digestive system, stimulate digestive enzymes and possibly even assist with weight loss. Others enjoy eating or sucking or mulling lemon slices. Lemons and lemon juice is essentially citric acid and is highly acidic. Over time, routine consumption of lemon juice will affect your tooth’s outer covering – the enamel.
Drinking lemon juice can put you at risk for tooth erosion, a condition where the thin, protective layer of enamel slowly wears away from your teeth. Lemon juice contains acid, which irritates gums and softens tooth enamel.
Frequent consumption of products that contain acid will eventually destroy the enamel and expose underlying dentin, leaving your teeth vulnerable to sensitivity and tooth decay. In fact, enamel erosion is one of the most common causes of cavities and tooth loss.
Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel, caused most commonly by acid attack. When the enamel is worn away, it exposes the underlying dentin (which is yellower in colour than enamel), and this may cause you to experience painful tooth sensitivity. Acidic foods and drinks can cause enamel erosion. As your enamel erodes it becomes thinner and this allows the yellower dentine that lies below the enamel to be more visible through the enamel. Your teeth may appear indented and yellower and they may also feel rough to the tongue. The temperature of your hot water make a difference to the effect of the lemon juice/water. The rate of chemical reactions increases with temperature and therefore erosion will be more severe at higher temperatures.
Mixing the lemon juice in 250ml of water may help to lessen the acidity. You can further minimise risk by drinking the warm lemon juice through a straw. Using a straw allows the fluid to bypass the teeth.
After drinking the acidic lemon water, rinse your mouth with water immediately. This removes any acid that may remain on the tooth surface and reduces the acidity of the oral saliva. Another option is to chew sugar-free gum after drinking the lemon water: this helps you produce more saliva, which helps neutralise the acidity in your mouth. DO NOT brush your teeth for at least 60 minutes after drinking the lemon water. Use a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste (fluoride strengthens your enamel) and do not brush aggressively. Why? Because acid softens enamel and makes it more prone to erosion during brushing. If you already have enamel erosion, consult with your dentist. Your dentist may recommend treatments such as resin bonding, veneers or sealants to protect your remaining tooth structure, restore aesthetics and/or minimize sensitivity.