Will Drinking Lemonade Damage Your Teeth?

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Medically reviewed by Danielle Romatz, RDH

A nice cold glass of lemonade in the middle of summer is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and a splash of lemon juice in your water can brighten any day. Unfortunately, lemonade and lemon juice may be causing more harm than good.

Drinking lemonade and lemon water in excess can cause permanent damage to your teeth. This is because lemonade contains high amounts of acid and sugar, which can erode your tooth enamel, leading to decay, sensitivity, and other health concerns. Rinsing with water after drinking Lemonade can help.

It may seem like the fight against cavities and tooth erosion is an uphill battle, since nearly every drink seems to contain high amounts of sugar these days. Luckily, there are a few tricks and techniques you can employ to minimize the potential damage from these tasty drinks.

Why Lemonade Is Bad for Your Teeth


Lemonade and lemon water seem like healthy alternatives to sodas and other sweet drinks, right? Unfortunately, this assumption isn’t entirely accurate. The high amounts of acidity and sugar normally found in lemonade can cause long-term damage to your teeth if you don’t limit your consumption.

Popular lemonade brands such as Hubert’s Lemonade and Simply Lemonade contain high amounts of sugar. In fact, the recommended 8oz serving size from both brands contains nearly the same amount of sugar found in Coke!

High amounts of sugar can have harmful effects on your teeth. When you ingest sugar, it starts to interact with the bacteria in your mouth, producing acid. The acid begins to dissolve your enamel, resulting in cavities and decay.

The high amounts of acid found in lemonade can also damage, weaken, and erode your tooth enamel. Weakened enamel can result in increased sensitivity, stains, and decay. In fact, lemonade is one of the most acidic beverages available, with a pH level hovering around 2-3.

How to Enjoy Lemonade Without Harming Your Teeth

Woman holding a glass of lemonade

There are ways you can prevent damage to your teeth, whether you’re drinking a lemony drink purchased from a store or something you prepared for yourself at home. Here are some tips:

Choose Reduced Sugar or Sugar-Free

If you’re opting for store-bought lemonade or similar products, look for reduced-sugar and sugar-free options like Sparkling Ice Classic Lemonade Water (on Amazon).

Sugar interacts with the bacteria and plaque in your mouth to create acid. As we mentioned, increased amounts of acid can weaken, damage, and erode your tooth enamel.

Use a Straw

Using a straw or sipper is one way to prevent additional damage to your teeth. Straws and sippers can send your beverage to the back of your mouth without hitting your teeth directly. The less exposure your teeth have to acidity, the better.

Consider Diluting Your Lemonade

Have you ever heard someone order a “tall” cocktail at a bar? Tall drinks are cocktails diluted with extra mixers and ice, so they aren’t as strong. You can apply this same logic to your lemonade or morning lemon water!

By increasing the amount of water in your lemonade, you’re effectively diluting the drink. Reducing the strength of your lemonade means less acidity and less overall damage.

Can You Brush Your Teeth After Drinking Lemonade?

Regularly brushing your teeth may seem like the best option in the fight against cavities and decay. However, how soon is too soon when it comes to brushing your teeth after drinking an acidic beverage?

Don’t Brush Right After

Brushing right after an acidic or sugary drink seems like the perfect solution, right? Wrong! As stated earlier, acidic drinks weaken tooth enamel. Brushing right after your teeth have been exposed to acidity only adds to the erosion.

Be sure to use a soft-bristle toothbrush, like these ones from Nimbus (on Amazon), and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Rinse Immediately

Although brushing your teeth right after a glass of lemonade can cause damage, rinsing with water is incredibly beneficial and safe. Rinsing your mouth out with tap water after an acidic drink helps reduce the bacteria and acidity in your mouth, returning your pH balance to normal.

Is Lemonade Worse for Your Teeth Than Soda?

If you’re still hoping lemonade is a lesser evil, you may want to cover your eyes and ears. Recent studies have shown that lemonade is just as bad for your teeth as soda. This is due to the high amounts of sugar and acid that we’ve discussed.

Sugar turns to acid, and the acid erodes your tooth enamel. You’re out of luck once your enamel is gone, since it never comes back or heals.

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