As the weather warms up and the holiday season approaches you may find yourself gravitating towards the swimming pool. While this is a great place to cool off, have fun and exercise, it may not be such a great place for your teeth. This is not necessarily because of the risk of collisions with other people, slipping on a wet surface or diving head-first into the shallow end, although they are a real hazard. It is actually due to the chlorine content of the pool.
The effects of chlorine on your teeth
Chlorine is used in drinking water and swimming pools as an antimicrobial agent to kill any harmful bacteria. At lower levels, it is generally not a cause for concern, however, when too much chlorine is added it causes the pH level of the water to fall below 7. At these levels, when the water comes into contact with teeth, it can begin to erode away the protective enamel layer.
This is generally not a concern when chlorine is added to drinking water, as the levels are usually not high enough to have an effect. Pools, on the other hand, can often have too much chlorine added. This improperly chlorinated pool water can seep or splash into the mouth coming into contact with the teeth. With regular exposure it can begin to erode the enamel quite rapidly – leaving the teeth discoloured, exposed and sensitive.
How to protect your teeth
Aside from keeping your mouth firmly shut or your head out of the water during your venture in the pool, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent the pool water from coming into contact with your teeth. What you can do is avoid improperly chlorinated pools. While it’s not possible to visually detect how much chlorine is contained in the water itself, and it’s not practical to take a pH test kit with you, there are some signs of an overly chlorinated pool that you can look out for. The main indicator is signs of erosion to pool linings, rails and ladders – as this is a similar effect that it will have on the enamel of your teeth.
Taking good care of your teeth by using a soft-bristled toothbrush along with a toothpaste that is designed to promote and protect healthy enamel, will help to keep your teeth strong and reduce the potential damaging effects of chlorine. As will regular visits to your highly experienced dentist at Moss Vale Dental. Our friendly dentists will provide a thorough examination, detecting any changes in your teeth, before they become an issue.
If you have already begun visiting your local swimming pool, or when you do, why not book an appointment with us here at Moss Vale Dental to ensure that your teeth are not being negatively affected by chlorinated water?
And remember, if you do chip your teeth, while swimming, we’re here to help!
Give us a call on (02) 4869 3111.