Extra splashes in the swimming pool can certainly put a smile on your face. But have you ever considered the effects that chlorine can have on your teeth? Whether you are an athletic swimmer or a recreational splasher, spending more than six hours in the pool each week can lead to more than green hair and itchy skin. Frequent exposure to chlorinated water may also cause dental damage.
Enamel erosion is the major concern when it comes to swimming and your smile. While the chemicals in pool water are effective in killing harmful bacteria, they can also lead to enamel loss and stains across your teeth. In fact, “swimmer’s calculus” is the term used to describe brown deposits of tartar that develop on the teeth of those who spend significant amounts of time in the pool.
Different pools have different pH procedures. Ask your lifeguard the pH number that they aim for. Safer levels should be between 7.2 and 7.8. If it is too high, your teeth become more at risk for enamel erosion. Still, you should know that the antimicrobials found in pool water register a higher pH than our saliva, which triggers protein breakdown, enamel erosion and teeth stains.
What You Can Do
Don’t worry; you can still enjoy pool time this summer without compromising your smile health. First and foremost, keep your lips zipped shut as much as possible when you swim. Stay hydrated with bottled water (not pool water) and consider rinsing out your mouth when you towel off. Lastly, consider adding an extra dental checkup to your schedule if you are an avid swimmer or year-round aquatic athlete. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends increasing your checkups to 3-4 times a year if you regularly spend time in chlorinated pool water.
For more tips on keeping a healthy smile for your family this summer, please call Park South Dentistry.