Swimming pools may seem like an odd thing for your dentist in Austin to talk about, but besides being a long-time summer favorite and a relaxing escape from the heat, swimming pools may actually pose an unwanted threat to your teeth. Now, before you forego all pools this summer (trust us, we don’t want that!), let’s take a look at just how and why pool water may be dangerous for your smile.
Pool Water & Your Oral Health
It’s worth noting that not all pool water is dangerous pool water. But it is important to talk about the pool water that can be a threat to your oral health. The problem with pool water and your oral health arises when the pH falls below an acceptable safe range (usually 7.2 and 7.8). When the pH is too low, pool water can actually become acidic. That’s where the problem lies. Acidic pool water can not only cause burning eyes and skin irritation, but it can also contribute to enamel erosion and tooth discoloration.
The Importance of Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is the incredibly tough outer layer of teeth and protects our pearly whites from decay, bacteria, and sensitivity. While tooth enamel is incredibly strong, it can become damaged over time. Often, either brushing too hard or exposing your teeth to too much acid are the main causes behind enamel erosion. This includes prolonged exposure to acidic pool water.
What are the Signs of a Problem?
The most immediate signs that your pool water’s pH is too low are burning eyes and irritated skin. But over time you may begin to notice damage to your smile, including increased sensitivity caused by the tooth roots becoming exposed, or little brown spots known as swimmer’s calculus. If you notice any of these signs, call your dentist in Austin to schedule an appointment.
Who’s At Risk?
Many times a casual swimmer won’t experience the damages of pool water, but the more time spent in a pool, the risk increases. In fact, according to a study of competitive swimmers conducted in the 1980’s, nearly 40% of them had some level of enamel erosion.
Protecting Your Smile
One of the best ways to protect your smile is, of course, to brush and floss properly and see your dentist in Austin regularly. But when it comes to protecting your smile against the potential dangers of pool water, make sure to test your water’s pH regularly and try your best to keep pool water out of your mouth as much as possible.