For many people, lazy days swimming, diving, and playing in a pool are what summer is all about. And while they may not be actively drinking the pool water, it certainly ends up in their mouth and the chlorine commonly used to keep the water clean comes into contact with their teeth. Unfortunately, chlorine can stain or damage teeth if it is not monitored and adjusted frequently to maintain the proper pH level.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8 to effectively kill harmful organisms in the water. However, if the pH level falls below this range, the acidity can be a problem. According to some studies, even a small drop can have an effect, especially in those with higher exposure.
What is referred to as “dental erosion” is a condition in which material from the tooth’s surface is lost. Beginning with damage to the enamel, this process can progress and result in a wide range of oral health issues, including:
- Moderate to severe sensitivity
- Accelerated tooth wear and changes to tooth shape
Tips for Protecting Your Teeth
While nobody is recommending that kids or adults steer clear of pools entirely, there are certainly things you can do to minimize the risk of damage to your teeth.
Zip your lip. The less water you take into your mouth, the less effect the chlorine will have on your teeth. Simply focusing on keeping your mouth closed as you swim can help.
Proper pH. If you are a pool or hot tub owner, be sure to keep the water within the recommended pH range. Not only will preventing the water from become too acidic benefit users, it will also keep your pipes, railings, and ladders from corroding.
Chlorine alternatives. In recent years, a number of additional options for sanitizing pools have come on the market. You might consider talking with your pool supplies provider about them.
More frequent fluoride. Fluoride treatments can help protect teeth from acidic pool water. If you are a frequent swimmer, you should talk with your dentist about your options. More frequent cleanings can also help prevent discoloration.
Pick your paste. Some toothpastes are designed to help strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Your dentist can advise you on whether using one of them would be helpful in your situation.
Ultimately, the best defense against pool water-related tooth damage is awareness and education. A regular teeth cleaning at University Dental Orlando will certainly help in keeping your pearly whites in tip top shape over the summer. Now that you understand that swimming can impact your oral health, you can share that information with your family and friends, and learn more about your options for both enjoying your pool time and keeping a beautiful, healthy smile.