Most of us can’t wait to dive into the pool on a hot summer day. Although the feeling of chlorine on our skin and hair can be repulsive. However, chlorine is necessary to keep the water swimming-safe, especially this year. With all the people coming in and out of the pool and the hot weather, chlorine helps keep germs at a minimum and prevents swimmers from getting sick.
Similar to how the chlorine can wreak havoc on your skin and hair, your teeth and gums aren’t immune as well. But, this does not mean to avoid the pool! There are ways around the negative side effects caused by chlorine exposure.
Chlorine Dental Damage
Pool water is highly acidic, which disrupts the mouth’s ability to produce saliva, making it more difficult. In result, the coating of saliva that typically protects your teeth from becoming weaker disappears. This leaves your enamel vulnerable to the acids in the chlorine, causing a number of problems.
Some issues a lack of saliva can create include:
- Tooth Sensitivity: The acids can break down and crack your enamel, leaving the nerves of your teeth open to water and other liquids. Eating or drinking hot or cold items can become painful, as can applying too much pressure when biting and chewing.
- Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: When your mouth becomes very dry, there will be less saliva to help wash away food particles and bacteria. The bacteria can then multiply, causing cavities and irritation.
- Stained Teeth: Saliva also helps wash away stain-causing foods and drinks. Without it, the staining pigments are left on the teeth for longer which can lead to discoloration.
Preventing Damage at the Pool
After hearing these negative side effects, you might be thinking it’s time to find a new summer activity that doesn’t involve chlorine. Luckily, there’s no reason to skip trips to the pool this summer! With the right precautions, you can still enjoy swimming and use it as a great way to cool off.
Just keep in mind these tips and tricks for keeping your teeth protected:
- It’s important to stay hydrated when swimming. Bringing water with you and drinking often will prevent your mouth from getting too dry, allowing your saliva to do its job.
- Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste and use it when you’re done swimming for the day.
- If possible, keep your mouth closed while swimming underwater. Also, make sure children know not to swallow pool water.