Pools, Chemicals and Your Teeth
Summer means cook-outs, late nights, and swimming in the pool. But don’t let your summer fun turn into a dental disappointment. Pool water can potentially harm your teeth, discoloring them and harming the enamel. There are steps you can take in order to prevent this and keep your smile and the smiles of your family bright and happy while still enjoying the water.
The effects of pool water on your teeth
In the 1980s it was suspected that pool water was having an adverse effect on the teeth of competitive swimmers. Since then it has been established that repeated or long term exposure to the water in pools can adversely effect one’s teeth. In fact, part of the condition was named “swimmer’s calculus”.
Swimmer’s calculus is brown tartar that has hardened on the teeth. The most noticeable effects are on the front teeth. In addition, the hard outer layer of your teeth (enamel) can become compromised and be worn away. Not only can this increase your sensitivity to hot or cold foods but it can also increase your chances of chipping or breaking a tooth. And as your enamel disappears bacteria can better infiltrate you tooth and lead to infection.
Pool water and pH levels
Chemicals are added to pool water in order to keep bacteria, microbes, and other health hazards from surviving. This can have an effect on the pH level and must be adjusted to be safe.
The pH level of anything is how acidic or basic it is. The lowest level is 0 and is highly acidic while the highest level is 14 and is highly basic. A level of 7 is considered neutral and the human body is around 7.4.
A pool should be around 7.2 – 7.8 in order to be safe for you and your teeth.
Protecting your teeth poolside
- Keep it out of your mouth: Swallowing pool water is obviously unsafe but even having it in your mouth can harm your teeth.
- Clean out your mouth: It’s a good idea to wash your mouth out with water every so often while swimming in the pool. This will keep your teeth free of any chemicals.
- Maintenance: Hire experts to maintain your pool if you are unsure of how to properly care for it. They have the tools, chemicals, and skill to keep your pool at the right levels.
- Test: Test strips can be purchased and taken with you to public pools. Testing is quick and easy and can tell you whether the water is safe.
- Dental hygiene visits: The Academy of General Dentistry has said that if you swim a good deal in treated pools, then having three or four dental hygiene visits a year (instead of the normal two) may be your best option.
It’s important to stay safe when you go to the pool. Not only because of the pH levels, but also from accidents while running, diving, and horse playing. These can all lead to cracked, chipped, and broken teeth. And no one wants to end a fun day at the pool with a visit to the dentist.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if you have cracked, chipped, or broken your tooth, please call the dental experts at Advanced Dentistry South Florida. You can reach us at 561-495-2099 or visit our contact page for more information.