Is Lemon bad for teeth - Myth Buster - truthpaste
May 26, 2021

Is Lemon bad for teeth - Myth Buster

By Marisa Battrick

Lemons have a long history of being used for their health benefits. From fighting off scurvy in the middle ages to whitening teeth today. Does the science back up the legend behind this cheerful little fruit? We investigate the science behind three of the most popular myths around the health benefits of lemons!


Myth: Is lemon antibacterial?


Lemons have been used for centuries as a natural cleaning and/or cleansing product. There is a reason that you can find lemon in so many cleaning products. A potent antioxidant with antibacterial properties, studies and research have concluded that lemon extract is a definite must in natural cleaning. 

A 2019 study examined the effects of lemon extract over the course of six weeks. Whilst the research was primarily focused on the whitening effects of lemon on the teeth  (see below!) it was also discovered that the test subjects showed improved oral health and a reduction of the bacteria that, in particular, cause gingivitis.  

Myth: Lemon whitens teeth


This is true. Whilst the whitening effects of lemon on the teeth have been researched and the results conclusive, we don’t recommend applying it in its pure form to teeth and gums. There are various home remedies and techniques that can be found online, however they could be doing more harm than good.

Anyone old enough to remember the early 90s will remember that teenagers everywhere went mad and started putting lemon juice on their hair to bleach it. You may have even been one of them. If so, you’ll remember that, yes, it did indeed bleach the hair to a lighter colour, but it would need to be followed up by a fairly intense conditioning treatment afterwards.


Myth: Lemon is bad for your teeth and gums

FALSE! But also True. 

In fact it is an acid, specifically, which is bad for your teeth. Logic might then dictate that Lemon peel, juice or flesh applied to the teeth and gums is inherently bad and will have adverse effects on the enamel over time.  

The thing to bear in mind here is ‘everything in moderation and balance’. 

Many people will drink lemon water for health purposes. Whilst this has its benefits, the acid can attack the tooth enamel. So lemon by itself isn’t a great idea for your teeth. At least, not on a regular basis.

This is why, when choosing a natural toothpaste, it’s important to make sure that you have one that balances the pH for the whole mouth. Therefore lemon essential oil, for example, will still have all the benefits of whitening and fighting bacteria if it’s used with, say, an alkaline mineral base with bentonite

The pH balance of your mouth is actually more important than many people realise. A healthy adult should have a saliva PH level of 6.7 to 7.4. If this drops below 5.5, then there is a serious risk to the tooth enamel. Unfortunately, any damage there is permanent as it can’t replenish itself. 

In summary, lemon can be good for teeth and gums as long as your toothpaste has a brilliantly balanced pH. And the great news is, we’ve done all the hard work! We’ve carefully formulated Truthpaste to help maintain good oral pH, keeping your whole mouth healthy whilst helping to brighten your smile. 


Malini Murali, et al. (2018)  The Effect of Teeth Whitening Produced by Various Natural Food Substances. International Journal of Current Research. Vol. 10 Iss. 10.

Sudhir Savarkar et al. (2019) Efficacy Study of whitening Toothpaste containing Lemon (Citrus Limon (L) and Salt (Sodium Carbonate). Online Journal of Dentistry and Oral Health

Verlekar, P. and Chandak, N. (2018) Antibacterial and antibiotic-potentiation activities of lemon against drug resistant phenhotypes. International Journal Pharmaceutical Science & Ressearch. Vol. 41.

Hans, R., et. al., (2016) Effect of Various Sugary Beverages on Salivary pH, Flow Rate, and Oral Clearance Rate amongst Adults. Scientifica. Vol. 2016



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