School’s out, the sun’s blazing, and the days are longer. It’s time to hit the local pool! Swimming is a great way to stay cool during the warmer months. When you take a plunge, the last thing on your mind is your oral health – but it should be a priority.
Chlorine is used in water to maintain cleanliness by killing harmful bacteria. However, it may also be hurting your teeth. Read on to learn more about the effects of chlorine on your smile and what you can do to protect yourself this summer.
Why is Chlorine Used in Water?
Before using chlorine in drinking water to kill bacteria, thousands of people died annually from numerous waterborne diseases. Thus, chlorine and pH are now the first line of defense against hazardous germs that can make you sick. Water illnesses from pools and hot tubs can have symptoms like diarrhea, skin rashes, ear pain, coughing, congestion, and eye pain.
The Effects of Chlorine on Your Oral Health
Improperly chlorinated pools and hot tubs have pH levels that can cause enamel erosion. When the pH drops too low, the water becomes corrosive and can leave your teeth brittle and sensitive. While a few visits to the pool each year are unlikely to have adverse effects, you should still be cautious and avoid swimming in overly chlorinated water.
Does the smell of a pool cause your eyes to water and your nose to burn? Those are both signs of low pH. The CDC recommends the pH levels of treated water be between 7.2 and 7.8. If you have a pool at home, make sure you have the chlorine levels checked by a professional to keep your teeth safe!
How to Protect Your Smile from Chlorine
Even though chlorine can be harmful, you don’t have to give up swimming completely! Follow these tips to spot potential problems and protect your smile:
- Look for signs of high acidity. Before you dive in, take a look around at your local pool. If there are signs of acid eating away at the surfaces of pool linings, railings, and ladders, chances are your teeth will be affected too.
- Test with pH strips. Testing the water with pH strips ensures the pool is properly chlorinated. You can purchase pH strips at any local recreational supply store.
- Close your mouth. Keep your mouth closed while swimming to minimize exposure to your teeth.
- Use fluoride. Drinking fluoridated water and using fluoride toothpaste helps strengthen your enamel.
- Regularly visit your dentist. Routine visits with your dentist are essential to catch, prevent, and treat any erosion as early as possible.
Next time you go for a swim, think about how it can affect your oral health. By taking proper precautions, you can help your smile stay happy and healthy for many summers to come!
About the Practice
Our team at DeMartino Dental Group goes above and beyond to give each patient premium care in our state-of-the-art dental office. For more than five decades, we’ve helped our community achieve and maintain their best smiles possible. We believe preventive care is the key to keeping your oral health in optimal condition. With routine checkups and cleanings, we can stop problems before they even start! Schedule your summer appointment via our website or call (908) 859-5260.
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