Summer is a prime time to hit the pool with friends and family. As you take steps to protect your skin and eyes from long days of swimming, you may also want to be mindful of your teeth. That’s right; the same chlorine water that can turn blonde hair into green can also cause stains, sensitivity and damage across your pearly whites.
Chlorine is an antimicrobial agent that is frequently used in swimming pools to kill harmful bacteria. While parents appreciate this disinfectant at the neighborhood pool, it can cause some setbacks within your smile if the water is improperly (or overly) chlorinated.
The CDC recommends that pool water register at a level between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale. Unfortunately, not all pools adhere to this guideline. When too much chlorine exists in the pool, the pH can fall below 7 and becomes a threat to your teeth enamel. In an acidic environment, enamel can wear down or erode. This leads to discoloration and sensitivity to hot and cold foods. In fact, “swimmer’s calculus” is the term used to describe a condition of discolored front teeth experienced by frequent or competitive swimmers. If you log in several hours in the pool each week, this is a good reason to keep your lips closed as much as possible. Rinsing with (non-pool) water after you are done is a great idea too!
How Do You Know If Your Pool Water is Safe?
It is impossible to detect the pH of a pool simply by looking at it. Here are some ways you can be sure your swimming pool is “dental safe” for your kids.
- Ask the lifeguard or local pool manager what the ideal pH guidelines are.
- Take note of pool linings, railing and ladders. Signs of erosion probably means the water can eat away at your teeth too.
- Buy and use your own pH strips to evaluate the pool water before jumping in.
At Green Dental of Alexandria, Dr. Hye Park wants to keep our patients safe all summer long – which includes giving you helpful tips to protect your teeth. In addition to chlorine water, be careful on slippery surfaces around the pool, as dental injuries are a major risk for young swimmers and tiny splashers.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St, Suite GR03
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 549-1725