Summer fun in the pool is a way of life for many people. Avoiding scorching temperatures while getting a full body workout is typically a wonderful and refreshing thing. However, all of that laughing and splashing can wreak havoc on our precious smiles — especially in pools that have high chlorine concentrations. Chlorine is damaging to tooth enamel and too much exposure can have severe results — particularly when it comes to smile brightness. Learn more about this common, yet rarely discussed concern:
A tan isn’t the only thing you’ll get from a lot of time spent in the pool. The longer your teeth are exposed to chlorinated water, the more likely you are to develop swimmer’s calculus. Chlorine can deposit residue on your teeth, turning them yellow or brown after constant exposure. This condition typically only affects swimmers who spend over six hours a week in chemically treated water.
Let your dentist know if you notice these stains on your teeth or your children’s teeth. Your dentist can remove the stains, offer tips to avoid them and, if it’s a chronic issue, may recommend more frequent cleanings. Learn more from Delta Dental
Brush Your Teeth After Swimming
It’s wise to get in the habit of brushing your teeth and swishing with a smile whitening rinse once you’re out of the pool. Removing the chlorine from your smile should be a common post-pool ritual, just like rinsing it off your body and out of your bathing suit. So many people — kids especially — swallow pool water inadvertently or even intentionally take it into their mouths to play, resulting in high chlorine exposure. Discover more about the harmful effects of this:
Protecting Your Teeth from Chlorine
Given that the pH level of water is invisible to the naked eye, how do you know if it’s safe to take a dip? Follow these two tips to keep your teeth healthy during your water workout or relaxing soak in the hot tub.
- When in a public pool or on a tropical vacation, take notice of pool linings, railings and ladders. Pool water that’s too acidic will eat away at these surfaces. If you notice spots of erosion, the water may do the same to your teeth, so consider skipping your swim or pursuing a natural (but supervised) body of water. Pool pH strips are also common to local recreational supply stores, and allow you to test the water before wading in. According to the CDC, pool water should register between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale.
- If you’re a homeowner, you might attempt to save money by maintaining your own backyard pool – but this can be tricky. Check your pool’s pH balance once a week at a minimum, and budget permitting, hire a specialist to examine it upon your first use.
Ultimately, brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, having regular teeth cleanings and using a toothpaste specifically designed for the health of your enamel can keep your teeth strong and help modulate the effects of chlorine. Learn more from Colgate
Summer Food Choices That Strengthen Enamel
If you do have the luxury of spending time poolside this summer, add enamel boosting snacks to help protect your smile. Hard cheeses, calcium-rich shakes made with almond milk and homemade frozen yogurt treats are great options. Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, celery and carrots can act similar to a toothbrush so they’re great to munch on after a dip. Here’s some more info that will help:
Stock a Healthy Kitchen
Keep the summer from being an “acid attack” on your family’s teeth by investing in healthy snacks. It’s hard to limit snacking when the kids are home all day, but with the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, you can stock the fridge with healthy options. Be sure to keep the fruits and veggies clean and ready to grab. You’ll feel better about snacking when the kids are reaching for blueberries and strawberries instead of candy and cookies. And swap out the sugary, acidic soft drinks with bottled water. Read more tips from Colgate
If your smile has dimmed from chlorine exposure or any other reason and you want to look and feel better about yourself, now is the time to consider your cosmetic dentistry options, including ZOOM! teeth whitening. Call Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on our website to set up a free, no-obligation smile consultation with Dr. Robert Harrell, one of the top cosmetic dentists in the Charlotte metro area. At your exam, a complimentary digital smile preview (an $85 value) will be created to show how your smile will look when your cosmetic dental work is complete.