Chlorine is an antimicrobial chemical used in drinking water and swimming pools for water purification. During the summer as were swimming in order to cool off is when we come into contact with it the most. Although it benefits our water, soaking in a pool for a long period of time is not recommended for many reasons, but from a dental health perspective, because the effects of chlorine on our teeth are discerning.
Chlorine Vs. Your Teeth
In recent years, evidence has shown a connection between chlorinated pools and tooth damage. Chlorine, when added to water, is pH neutral. Its addition to pool water serves to render harmless various contaminants that swimmers and the environment release. This chemical interaction can alter the pH of the pool water, allowing it to drop and thereby become acidic. It is imperative that the pool waters pH be continually monitored and chemical stabilizers are routinely added to maintain the pH neutrality. The goal is to keep the water slightly alkaline at a pH reading of 7.3-7.8, with our bodies’ pH at 7.4. Chemical stabilizers are added to the swimming pool water to neutralize the pH, however as chlorine interacts with a variety of contaminants the chemical balance will change, the pH can drop and the pool water will become acidic. Swimming in pool water that is acidic can cause tooth erosion in addition to other symptoms such as eye and skin irritation. It is important that swimming pool water be continually monitored. In addition, swimmers can experience a slight yellowing of their teeth due to repeated chlorine exposure.
How to Protect Your Teeth From Chlorine
Pool water should register between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale. It’s difficult to determine the pH levels of water with the naked eye so follow these two tips to ensure the safety of your teeth the next time you’re in a swimming pool.
Carefully notice pool linings, railings, and ladders to see if they have been eaten away. If you notice erosion caused by the water being too acidic, the same thing might happen to your teeth.
Hire a specialist to check the levels for you at the start of the summer, or to save money, check the levels on your own on a weekly basis.
Stay cool and hydrated this summer but watch out for poorly maintained swimming pools because they could have a damaging effect on your healthy smile. If you continue a normal and healthy dental regimen of brushing regularly, flossing every day, and visiting your dentist annually, you won’t have to worry about Chlorine.