Chlorinated Swimming Pools and Tooth Enamel Erosion

Feb 26th, 2012 | By | Category: Dental News, Preventive Care

enamel erosionYou know that soft drinks and sugary treats are bad for your teeth, and you avoid them like the plague. You brush and floss twice a day. You never miss a dental checkup. So why are your teeth all of a sudden turning yellow and feeling sensitive? The answer may lie in your fitness routine. If you’ve taken up swimming recently, you could be suffering from tooth enamel erosion caused by pool water that contains too much chlorine.

What is enamel erosion?

Your tooth enamel is the outer layer of your teeth and the hardest substance in your body. Enamel protects the underlying dentin, which is connected to nerves and is highly sensitive. Enamel erosion, also known as acid erosion, occurs when acidic substances wear away the enamel of the teeth. When this happens, your teeth not only become sensitive, worn down, and discolored, they also are more prone to developing tooth decay. You cannot restore tooth enamel once you have lost it.

How does chlorine cause enamel erosion?

Many pool owners do not know how to properly maintain the chemical levels in their pools, and they think that more is better when it comes to chlorine. Sure, chlorine kills harmful bacteria, but too much of it can create a highly acidic environment that is not only bad for your skin but also wears away at your tooth enamel. Exposing your teeth to pool water with a pH level below 6 can be as harmful to your enamel as drinking a soda. If you are a competitive swimmer and spend a lot of time in an over-chlorinated pool, you may as well be holding a mouthful of soda for hours on end.

How can I prevent enamel erosion caused by chlorine?

Prevention requires participation from both the swimmer and the person maintaining the pool. Simply closing your mouth while swimming can reduce your exposure to chlorine. Check the pH levels in your home swimming pool frequently, and if you are having trouble maintaining the chemical levels on your own, hire a professional pool service. If you are at a public pool and notice a very strong chlorine smell, notify the maintenance team. Do not brush your teeth immediately after they are exposed to chlorine, as your enamel is at its weakest for 30 minutes after exposure.

If you swim frequently and are showing signs of acid enamel erosion, call Drs. Alex Denes and Claudia Denes today at (559) 297-1800 to schedule a consultation. Fresno Dental Studio happily treats patients in Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.


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