Lemon water is acidic and can lead to demineralized teeth

by Char Janeczko DDS, MAGD
(Weston, WI, USA)

So let me understand this—acidic water/ lemon water is good for you, but not reverse osmosis water (because it might be slightly acidic)? Seems contradictory.

Besides, the pH of saliva is neutral in a healthy and clean mouth. Bacterial acids lead to a lowered pH in the mouth and demineralized teeth.

Drinking Lemon or vinegar water should always be followed by plain water to return the oral pH to neutral. Check out tooth erosion photos and you will understand this better.


Lemon water is acidic but after it is metabolized in the body, it is alkalizing. You can look at any pH food chart online and find lemon at the top of the list for alkalizing foods.

Most reverse osmosis waters are acidic because the R.O. membrane removes all or at least most of the alkaline minerals. I believe that drinking any type of demineralized water (such as R.O. or distilled) on occasion is fine. In fact, I think it is the water of choice for short-term body cleanses.

However, numerous studies have shown that long-term, daily drinking of demineralized water is not healthy because it affects the mineral balance in the body and it is acidifying. If interested, you can read more about the health risks associated with drinking demineralized water here.

As far as your comments about the effects of lemon water and vinegar water on teeth, I agree completely. I include the following caution on my most popular lemon water page.


Teeth enamel. One of the drawbacks of drinking lemon juice on a daily basis is that the citric acid from the lemon can eat away at tooth enamel. There are a few things you can do to prevent this. Drinking your lemon water with a straw can help somewhat. In addition, I recommend you swish your mouth with clean water after drinking lemon water. If you are drinking more than 1/2 lemon in water once a day, I recommend adding a pinch of baking soda in filtered water (slightly alkaline) to neutralize the lemon acid left on your teeth. Or you can brush your teeth with a natural toothpaste, preferably a baking soda toothpaste, after drinking lemon water--especially if you drink it at night. You don't want the citric acid residue to sit on your teeth all night.

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