Adding lemon juice to sweet tea or water can increase the chances of tooth decay.
Drinking acidic drinks such as fruit teas and lemon-flavored water can leave people 11 times more likely to suffer tooth erosion.
"Increased frequency of dietary acid consumption, particularly between meals appears to be the predominant risk factor. However, habitually drinking acidic drinks by sipping them slowly or swishing, rinsing or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing will also increase the risk of progression," said lead author Dr. Saoirse O'Toole.
‘Drinking acidic drinks such as fruit teas and lemon-flavoured water can leave people 11 times more likely to suffer tooth erosion.’
"Additions of fruit or fruit flavorings to drinks and regular consumption of vinegar, pickles, acidic medications or acidic sugar-free sweets are potential hidden risk factors that should be discussed with patients at risk of erosive tooth wear progression."
Canada's dentists are seeing more and more people with dental erosion, which is what happens when the hard part of the tooth wears away from contact with acid.
"Dental erosion can be caused by certain health conditions such as stomach acid problems and eating disorders, but eating and drinking foods high in acid such as sports drinks and soft drinks can also cause teeth to erode," the CDA said.
Children and adults are both increasing the number of snacks they have per day, the researchers said. At the same time, the addition of fruit or fruit flavors to drinks has also increased. This simple addition to a glass of water can make a drink as corrosive as a cola drink, the researchers noted.
"A patient may simply record water without realizing the alteration in erosive potential through adding a simple slice of lemon or dash of fruit cordial," they said in the study.
"However, it has been shown that fresh lemon or lime has a citric acid concentration greater than six times the amount of lemonade formulations or lemon dilutables."
Fruit-flavoured teas (such as lemon and ginger teas) fruit-flavored sweets, and lozenges also have a "large erosive potential," the researchers said.
Tips To Prevent Tooth Erosion
- Choose drinks low in acid
- Avoid swishing or holding high-acid drinks in your mouth for a long period of time
- Don't consume high-acid food and drinks at mealtimes (as opposed to on their own as snacks) since there will still be "plenty of saliva in your mouth to wash away sugars and acids."
For snacks that won't harm your teeth, the CDA suggests plain milk and buttermilk, fruit and raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese, hard boiled or devilled eggs, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, melba toast, and salads.