Protecting Your Teeth from the Effects of Chlorine

Jul 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Preventive Dentistry

Effects of ChlorineNow that April is here, the summer months are just around the corner and, here in sunny California, one of our favorite summer pastimes is taking a dip in the swimming pool. Just like sugary and acidic foods and drinks, jumping into a chlorinated swimming can do some damage to your smile. Read on to find out more about the effects of chlorine on your teeth from Richmond dentist Dr. Stefan Moiceanu.

How does Chlorine Cause Enamel Erosion?

            Whether you swim for fitness all year long or you take a dip to cool off during the warmer months, you might notice that your teeth appear somewhat yellow or feel sensitive after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Although chlorine kills harmful bacteria in pools, too much chlorine creates a highly acidic environment.

            Every time you eat and drink, bacteria in your mouth combine with the acids and sugar in the foods and drinks to create plaque. A build up of plaque leads to cavities and gum disease, and a high level of acidity can lead to the erosion of your tooth enamel—the hard white coating on each of your teeth.

            The pH scale measures the acidity or basicity of a substance, and any solution with a pH lower than six can harm your tooth enamel. The pH of chlorinated water is below the level six, therefore your teeth are under constant acid attack every time you’re in the pool.

How can You Prevent Enamel Erosion Caused by Chlorine?

            One of the best ways to protect your teeth from the effects of chlorine is to make sure that you don’t hold any water inside of your mouth while in the pool. If you have a pool at home, closely monitor the pool’s pH levels to ensure that all of the chemicals are balanced. If you’re in a public pool and notice an overwhelmingly strong chlorine scent, notify the maintenance team.

            Most importantly, do not brush your teeth immediately following a swim session. Instead, wait about an hour to brush so your tooth enamel has time to reharden and, therefore, protect your teeth.

            If you have sensitive teeth, it’s time to reserve an appointment with Dr. Moiceanu. To reserve an appointment at Hilltop Family Dental, call (510) 758-7222. We serve patients from Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, Benicia, and the greater Contra Costa County area.

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