Lemon, Enemy Or Ally of Dry Mouth?

The health benefits of lemon have been well known for centuries.

Lemon helps to keep the mouth clean and fresh and it is one of the main ingredients in many natural recipes used to whiten teeth or prevent bad breath.

Lemon is also a great ally to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth due to its ability to stimulate the salivary glands and increase salivation. However abusing lemon can also cause dental problems.Lemon is one of the most recommended natural remedies to alleviate dry mouthLemon is a powerful, natural salivary stimulant that can be taken in several ways: lemonade, fresh lemon juice, or just water with a few drops of lemon, lemon oil, lemon peel, or lemon flavoured candies.

People with dry mouth find comfort and a considerable improvement in their dry mouth condition by drinking acidic beverages (generally either commercial or homemade lemonade), rinsing their mouths with lemon water, holding a piece of lemon peel in their mouths or sucking on lemon candies (all of the above sugarless). These remedies help because the citric acid found in lemons stimulates the activity of the salivary glands increasing the production of saliva.

Careful with lemon or other citrus abuse

Citric acid, also present in other fruits such as orange, grapefruit, or lime, can cause demineralization of tooth enamel and increase the risk of getting cavities. Tooth enamel, considered the strongest substance in the human body, protects teeth from daily wear caused by biting and chewing food and their acids. Despite being a very hard material, acids and carbohydrates from food and drink (especially citric acid that acidifies the pH of the mouth) can corrode tooth enamel causing demineralization. Saliva helps to keep teeth hard by providing calcium and phosphates which remineralize teeth. If the mouth contains healthy levels of saliva, the saliva will combat the process of demineralization.

Conversely, when there is too little saliva, saliva ions (calcium and phosphorus) are unable to neutralize these acids and cannot remineralize tooth enamel. Once destroyed, the enamel can’t recover naturally and the teeth remain unprotected, and exposed to bacteria that cause cavities.

So, what can I do?

If you enjoy it and it helps you feel better, you can drink lemonade and lemon juice moderately. Now that you know about the problems caused by lemon, be careful not to overuse it!

You should avoid highly concentrated lemon juice or that of other acidic fruits. To safely enjoy lemon you can add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to water. Water is usually alkaline and counteracts the acidity of lemon. In general, after consuming any acidic food or drink it is recommended to rinse your mouth with water to remove the acidity from the teeth. Milk also counteracts the acidity and provides calcium to the teeth, but in the case of people with dry mouth, milk it is not recommended as it thickens saliva, increasing the feeling of dry mouth.

People with dry mouth should also avoid sucking on hard acidic candies, which remain in the mouth for long periods of time and produce high concentrations of acid in the mouth.

*article courtesy of www.infoxerostomia.com