Lime is a popular fruit that is often used in drinks, food, and baking. While lime is refreshing and provides many health benefits, there have been a huge debate about whether it is good or bad for your teeth. Here we will discuss the potential benefits and harm of lime to your teeth and provide tips on how you can protect your smile while enjoying this delicious fruit.
So, is lime actually bad for your teeth? Well, the answer is a definite yes, lime is harmful for your teeth. This is due to the high acidity of the fruit. Lime and lemon has a pH level of between 2 and 3 while the normal pH of saliva is between 6.4 and 7.4. In fact, a 2014 study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) concluded that any drinks with a pH of less than three is considered extremely erosive towards the teeth.
When acidic food such as lime or lemon are consumed, it causes the pH level in the mouth to drop. This causes an erosion of the enamel known as demineralization. As hydroxyapatite, the main ingredient that makes up the enamel is stripped away, it may cause cavities and tooth loss. Another notable effect of demineralization is dentin hypersensitivity, a condition where one experiences an extreme sensation (or pain) due to a cold or hot stimuli to the exposed dentin.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Lime?
Lime are small, round and green citrus fruits that are packed full of nutrients. A whole lime (~67 grams) contains:
- Calories: 20 grams
- Vitamin C: 22% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 2% of the DV
- Calcium: 2% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 2% of the DV
- Thiamin: 2.5% of the DV
- Potassium: 1% of the DV
- Niacin: 1.2% of the DV
Other nutrients in lime includes flavonoids, niacin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus. As stated, limes contain a high amount of vitamin C which boosts your immune system and improves your skin complexion. Flavonoids are also powerful oxidants that can help prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
How To Enjoy Lime Without Damaging Your Teeth
Like all citrus fruit including lemon and orange, lime can be damaging towards the health of your teeth if consumed in large amounts and frequently. However, the health benefits of lime cannot be overstated. So, how can you enjoy your favourite citrus fruit drink without causing too much harm to your teeth? Well, all you have to do is to make a few simple tweaks to your recipe or habits!
- Dilute your lime drink. Reduce the concentration of the lime and hence the concentration of citric acid simply by adding more water to the drink. This allows you to take in all the health benefits without causing too much harm to your enamel.
- Rinse your mouth. Swish your mouth with water to wash off the juice that may stain your teeth and erode the enamel.
- Brush your teeth! This works in the same way as point two, albeit in a more thorough way. However, do not brush your teeth right after your drink as you may damage the enamel that is softened by the acid. Wait for 30 minutes to an hour before brushing your teeth.
- Use a straw. This simple trick avoids direct contact of the juice with your teeth while sending all the amazing nutrients to the back of your mouth and into your stomach. In fact, do this for all sugary and citric drinks!
- Consume cheese. Research have shown that consuming cheese after consumption of an acidic drink will help to increase the pH level in the oral cavity as well as increase saliva production to neutralize the acid.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that while lime is a delicious and refreshing drink, it can also be harmful to your teeth. By using a straw, rinsing with water after eating or drinking lime, and brushing your teeth regularly, you can keep your teeth healthy and sparkling all summer long!