Can Pool Water Affect Your Smile?

July 16, 2019

ladder into a swimming poolSwimming is one of the best exercises you can do. It’s low impact, but still intense. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! However, one thing about swimming that most of us don’t love is the chlorine.

While the chlorine does have a distinct smell and can dry out your skin and hair, it’s actually far better than not having chlorine in the water. Think about all the mold and bacteria that would collect in an unchlorinated pool!

Even though chlorine is an ultimately good thing, it’s also hard on your teeth. However, don’t panic! You can still go to the pool without causing too much damage to your smile! Just be sure to follow our tips for keeping your oral health intact during your summer swims.

How Does Chlorine Harm Your Teeth?

Chlorine’s impact on your teeth can be boiled down most simply with this: chlorine is highly acidic and it reduces your ability to produce saliva.

Saliva is an important component of your oral health. It helps protect your teeth by forming a protective barrier. Plus, it rinses your mouth, helping to wash away any lingering food particles. When this protective layer is not present, your enamel becomes more vulnerable to damage from the bacteria that live in your mouth.

The lack of saliva can cause problems like:

  1. Tooth Sensitivity: As bacteria feed on leftover food particles in your mouth, they give off an acid that breaks down your enamel. This forms tiny cracks in the surface of your teeth, exposing the nerves, which leads to sensitivity.
  2. Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Without adequate saliva to rinse away food particles, bacteria in your mouth have the chance to thrive.
  3. Stained Teeth: The longer food stays on your teeth, the higher the likelihood that it will cause a stain. If your saliva isn’t rinsing your teeth like usual, food and drink particles are going to sit on your teeth for longer periods of time, causing stains.

So, Do I Need to Skip the Pool?

No way!

We know it may sound like pools have a bad impact on your oral health, but ultimately, swimming offers a host of health benefits that we wouldn’t want you to miss out on. Plus, as long as you’re aware of the impact chlorine can have, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce damage to your teeth.

Firstly, it’s a good idea to try keeping your mouth closed while underwater. That will limit direct contact between your teeth and the chlorine. Also, make sure your children understand that they shouldn’t drink pool water.

Another great defense against the drying effect of chlorine is to drink plenty of water while you’re outside. It also doesn’t hurt to pack a toothbrush with you and give your pearly whites an extra brush when you’re finished swimming for the day.