Swimming is one of the most fun things kids can do during the summer. Not everyone can get to a beach or lake, which is why so many people have swimming pools these days. Many park districts and communities have public swimming pools as well.
However, you need to be careful. The chlorine needed to keep those swimming pool safe can cause several dental health problems with your family’s teeth. Call our Nashua, NH dental office today at 603-546-7460 to make your next appointments. Our highly skilled dentists can help make sure all that fun swimming doesn’t ruin their smiles.
Why Is Chlorine In Swimming Pools?
Bacteria can grow almost anywhere, but they tend to love water. If you left a swimming pool full of water alone for long enough, it will get polluted by harmful bacteria. That means your kids can easily get sick if they swim in that pool.
Adding chlorine to the water helps prevent those bacteria from showing up. It does this by altering the pH value of the water. That’s chemistry, and what it means in layman’s terms is how acidic something is. If the pool water has a high pH value (say, around 11), then there’s not much acid in there. That means bacteria can grow.
Adding chlorine makes the water more acidic, which can kill off those bacteria and prevent new ones from polluting the water. In fact, the Center for Disease Control actually requires that pools use a disinfectant like chlorine.
How Chlorine Damages Your Teeth
Just taking a dip in a pool will not suddenly destroy your smile. It’s just that anything highly acidic will erode some of your enamel. As with many dental problems, the issue here is with repeated exposure. Here are some dental problems your family could be facing by swimming often in chlorinated pools.
As the highly acidic pool water hits your teeth, it starts to erode a tiny amount of the enamel. This is painless because your tooth’s nerve endings are hidden deep inside the tooth. In fact, the enamel protects it.
But when the enamel gets worn down, temperature (hot and cold) can more readily reach the nerves inside the tooth. That means your teeth can be sensitive to temperature and can hurt when you enjoy hot coffee or cold ice cream.
Chlorine does more to the enamel than just wear some of it away. It can also discolor your teeth. Instead of the bright, healthy white color people expect from teeth, you’ll have “swimmer’s calculus” which is a brownish discoloration to your smile.
If you get some pool water in your mouth, the chlorine makes it safe from infection. But it also gets in the way of your mouth producing enough saliva. This is how you mouth washes away tiny bits of food that get stuck and end up feeding bacteria in your mouth. As your mouth dries out, your risk of cavities and gum disease increases.
That acidic attack on your enamel isn’t done. It will create unevenly worn spots on your teeth. These are great places for cavities to form, but they are also weak points. If you were to get hit in the mouth, these points make it more likely that your tooth will get chipped or cracked.
Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Safe From Chlorine
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop having pool parties! It just means that you need to take a few extra steps to ensure your family’s teeth are safe from all that chlorine.
- Brush your teeth after swimming. This can get rid of any acid that’s still clinging to your teeth.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Not only does this prevent dry mouth, it washes your teeth clean of any lingering acid.
- Keep your mouth closed when underwater. You can’t expect to prevent all pool water from getting in your mouth, but keeping it closed underwater can help.
- Test your pool for a pH level of around 7.5. That’s the perfect balance of acid in a pool to keep bacteria away but not hurt your teeth too much.
Call Nashua Family Dentistry today at 603-546-7460 or use our convenient online form to schedule your next appointment this summer. Our Nashua dentists are here to help with discolored teeth, damaged teeth, and much more.