Is juicing as good for you as its fans claim? It’s no secret that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy, balanced diet. Yet many of us often find it challenging to get our daily intake. Juicing, the process of extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables, has become popular because it makes consuming multiple fruits and vegetables ultra-convenient. Some juicing proponents claim the liquid form allows the body to more readily absorb the antioxidants and nutrients. And juicing has gained a reputation for being a cure-all for what ails you, with juice cleanses, home juicers and juice bars popping up all over. But just how healthy is drinking juice made from fresh fruits and vegetables? And what about lemon water? Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist is here to set things straight.
Juicing and Oral Health
Consuming fresh juice with an at-home juicer or purchasing cold-pressed juices to drink on the go can really benefit people who normally struggle to eat vegetables and fruit. However, the ideal way to benefit from their nutrients is by eating them, not drinking them. Juicing in moderation is fine, but if juice is consumed in place of a meal, and this is happening more than two or three times a week, there may be some unwanted health implications. Why? When we drink juice, even juice made from fresh, healthy ingredients, we’re essentially consuming liquid sugar, which is quickly ingested by the body. Liquid travels and is absorbed by the digestive tract much faster than nutrients from solid foods. This means a faster uptake of sugar into the blood stream, and that is usually not a good thing as it leads to more insulin production.
Frequently replacing meals with juice can also be damaging to your oral health. Consuming juice creates a very acidic oral environment, and if it is the only nutrient at a meal, it takes a long time for the saliva to return to neutral pH. When the pH of saliva drops below 5.5, enamel begins to erode or dissolve away, making it more susceptible to damage from eating hard or abrasive foods or from simply brushing your teeth.
Lemon Water and Oral Health
Many people drink lemon water (warm water with the juice of a fresh lemon squeezed into it) first thing in the morning, a habit, like juicing, that claims to do everything from clear your skin to boost your immune system to help you lose weight. If squeezing a fresh lemon into a glass of water is perceived to be a cure for so many things, and it’s less time-consuming and more affordable than juicing, no wonder people are doing it. However, any health benefits are purely anecdotal, and few, if any, recent scientific studies suggest that drinking lemon water is as beneficial as the claims.There hasn’t been any clinical studies that show drinking lemon water helps with weight management, boosts your metabolism or your immune system or improves your overall health. What studies do show is that drinking water can increase your feeling of satiety, which may help with weight management, but no studies show that the addition of lemon juice has any impact.
As with juicing, drinking lemon water is all about moderation, and it’s important to seek the advice of health professionals. Lemon juice is acidic and contains sugar, so it makes the mouth acidic, lowering the pH level in the mouth and softening enamel, making teeth more susceptible to damage. If you choose to drink lemon water, Dr. Jaleel recommends using a straw to reduce your teeth’s exposure to the acid; rinsing your mouth with plain water afterward to remove any lingering acid; and refraining from brushing your teeth right away. Tooth-brushing should be avoided for at least one hour after consuming lemon water. This will allow the tooth surface to reharden and be able to resist the abrasion or wear from the toothbrush.