Summertime means pool time. The weather is warm and it’s the perfect time to kick back, cool off and relax in the water with friends and family. But this summer pastime also means being exposed to chlorinated water—a necessity that keeps swimming pools safe for the public but something that also can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. And your teeth?
Yes, it’s true. Over exposure to chlorine can potentially damage your teeth and gums. However, this is completely preventable if you take a few precautions! You can continue to swim to your heart’s content and avoid any issues while the treated water does its job. But just how can it affect your smile? Keep reading to find out.
Chlorine and Your Teeth
Pool water is highly acidic, and when your mouth’s acidity levels get too high, it struggles to produce saliva. You need that layer of saliva to coat and protect your teeth. Without it, your enamel becomes vulnerable to the acids in chlorine, leading to damage.
When your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva, many issues can occur, including:
- Tooth Sensitivity: As the acids attack your enamel, it can break down and crack your teeth’s surfaces. This leaves the nerves underneath open to water and other liquids, causing sensitivity. You may find it painful to eat or drink hot or cold items, and to apply pressure when biting and chewing.
- Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Dryness in your mouth can also make it more difficult to wash away food particles and bacteria. The bacteria then has a chance to multiply and cause problems like cavities and gum irritation.
- Stained Teeth: Your teeth can also become discolored because your saliva isn’t there to wash away staining pigments found in some foods and drinks, leaving them to sit on your teeth all day.
Protecting Your Smile
Avoiding chlorinated pools altogether isn’t the only way to prevent damage this summer. If you follow some simple precautions, your smile won’t have to suffer while you swim!
First things first, drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will prevent dry mouth and encourage saliva production, so always remember to pack a water bottle. Also bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to use when you’re finished swimming for the day.
When swimming, remember to keep your mouth closed and teach children to never swallow pool water.