Given the hot and muggy conditions of summertime in Georgia, it’s no wonder that many end up spending their days at water parks and swimming pools. When it comes to keeping pools clean and sanitary, chlorine is a necessary antimicrobial agent that kills bacteria, while keeping pool levels safe for swimming. Yet, most are unaware of the damage that too much chlorine poses to tooth enamel. Thus, before you plan the next pool day with your family and friends, it’s important to understand the connection regarding Chlorine and Oral Health.
Whether swimming laps, racing friends, or diving under the water in search of pool rings, it’s common for water to occasionally seep into the mouth. Generally, this is not a big deal–unless the pool is improperly chlorinated. In other words, when the pH of pool water falls below 7, it can be incredibly damaging to tooth enamel, even in small amounts. At this level, chlorine erodes tooth enamel. Often times, the first thing that individuals notice is that their teeth are extra sensitive. In turn, the edges of teeth, particularly the front teeth, may appear translucent or transparent. This is a strong indicator of tooth enamel loss. As enamel is lost, teeth are more susceptible to cracking and chipping. Unfortunately, the body cannot rebuild tooth enamel once it is lost.
Can I Protect My Teeth From The Effects Of Chlorine?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the pH of pool water should be between 7.2 – 7.8. While the pH levels are not visible to the naked eye, there a few things you can look for to gain an idea of pH levels before you go for a swim. For instance, take notice of the pool lining, railings, or ladders. Do you see spots of erosion? If so, the pool water is likely highly acidic, and could damage your teeth. While many will opt to build and maintain their own pool at home, do not assume that keeping it balanced is easy. As a rule, it’s a good idea to have a pool specialist check pH levels once a month.
At Grateful Dental, we believe that you can have fun this season, while protecting your teeth, too! That’s why we’re happy to partner with you in the quest for optimal oral health. Is it time for your dental checkup? Dr. Porcaro and the team at Grateful Dental welcome your call today.