Swimming is a favorite summer activity for many of us. It’s a great way to cool off, get some activity, and have fun with friends and family. However, there is one pungently-scented downside, and that’s the chlorine in the water.
Unfortunately, chlorine is a necessary evil. Think of all the people who use a pool. We can’t have the bacteria washing off of their skin and just sitting in the water! Plus, the damp environment combined with the hot weather is a perfect recipe for mold. Without chlorine, pools would be breeding grounds for infection.
Chlorine Can Harm Your Teeth
We all know that chlorine has a strong lingering scent, but few people are aware that it can also be harmful to your oral health. But this doesn’t mean you have to choose between your pearly whites and fun afternoon swims!
There are ways to avoid the harmful effects of chlorine, other than avoiding the pool altogether.
How Does Chlorine Harm Your Teeth?
Chlorinated water is very acidic, which can affect your salivary glands. This is a problem because saliva plays an important role in protecting your teeth from bacteria. Throughout the day, your saliva rinses leftover food particles from your teeth, and it also forms a coating that protects your pearly whites. Without the coating & regular rinses, your teeth are at a higher risk of infection.
Reduced saliva in your mouth can cause problems like:
- Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: When your salivary glands are functioning effectively, they help rinse away leftover food residue and bacteria. Without adequate saliva, those bacteria have a greater opportunity to multiply.
- Stained Teeth: The longer particles from foods and drinks sit on your teeth, the higher the likelihood that they will cause stains. Your saliva usually helps to rinse those particles away, but when you aren’t producing as much due to the acidic chlorine, this effect is reduced.
- Tooth Sensitivity: The acid in the pool water can create cracks in your enamel, exposing the nerves in your teeth and causing sensitivity. When you have high oral sensitivity, you may feel uncomfortable when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks.
Do I Need to Keep Out of the Pool?
Absolutely not! We would hate to see our patients miss out on summer fun and healthy exercise. Now that you’re aware of the potential harm from chlorinated water, you can take precautions to prevent it from damaging your teeth.
The most important thing is to keep hydrated. Not only is it important to take in liquids while you’re exerting yourself in the sun, but it can help rinse your mouth and prevent damage to your smile. Keep your mouth closed when your underwater, and make sure the kids understand that the pool water is not to drink.
Bonus points if you throw in an extra brush for your chompers after you finish swimming for the day!