Surprisingly, it can!
The trick is understanding how and why it can happen, and what you can do to minimize or eliminate the damage.
And, that’s where we come in! Let’s learn how this healthy form of exercise can contribute to staining, and even eroding, your tooth enamel – yikes!
What’s in the water that’s bad for teeth?
No one wants to swim in algae and bacteria, so chlorine is added to the pool to manage that situation. This is a good thing. But in order to keep things in check, pH has to be monitored.
If you’re familiar with the concept of how acidic beverages can erode tooth enamel, the same principal applies to pool water – a pool with too low a pH means the water is technically acidic, which can erode tooth enamel.
And, if you have kids putting in more than six hours a week in a pool with a pH that isn’t being monitored properly, that sort of damage can happen fast.
This is of particular concern in pools that are “gas chlorinated.” One study showed severe sensitivity and enamel loss in a man swimming in a high pH pool in just 27 days!
Aside from enamel loss, which is only a concern in improperly monitored pools, tooth discoloration is a much more common ailment. Here, the offender is how chlorine interacts with proteins in our saliva. In a nutshell this chemical reaction results in what’s known as “swimmers calculus.”
The only way to keep these threats at bay is to keep a pool maintained properly with regular testing. Again, staining is a preventative pursuit you can plan with your dentist.
Swimming should always be a fun and engaging activity, good for body and soul. So, do it right, and have fun!