Swimming Pools and Your Oral Health

Published on July 1, 2015

July1SwimmingDo you spend a lot of time soaking in your nearest swimming pool during the summer months? We don’t blame you. Kicking back on a raft, playing an intense game of Marco Polo, or swimming laps for exercise are great ways to beat the heat. But did you know that pool water can actually affect your smile? It’s true, and everyone at my dental office in Spokane wants you to know how to avoid ill effects from summer fun, poolside.


The link between pool water and oral health concerns was first noted during a study of competitive swimmers and enamel erosion in the 1980s.  When 39% of the swimmers surveyed suffered from dental erosion, further investigation was warranted. Before too long, scientific studies correlated swimming pool water with enamel erosion. But not much has been done to make the public aware of the risks. That’s where we come in.


What’s The Issue with Pool Water?

Not every swimming pool is dangerous. The problem arises when the pH level of a pool is too low, or too acidic. An ideal level is usually between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH level drops below this standard, the water becomes corrosive and can begin to affect your body. Some of the most common symptoms of water with low pH is burning or stinging eyes, itchy skin, tooth staining, and enamel erosion.


What are the Signs of a Problem?

Two of the first clues of a problem are sensitivity and brown spots known as swimmer’s calculus. If a swimmer or chronic pool dweller in your family starts to experience either of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your Spokane dentist as soon a possible. It’s also important to note that those who spend a considerable amount of time in a swimming pool are at greater risk for enamel damage.


What is Enamel and Why is it Important?

Enamel is the hard, outermost layer of the tooth. It’s purpose is to protect teeth from bacteria. When enamel erodes, your teeth become more susceptible to decay and other dental problems.


How to Protect Your Smile

Keeping pool water out of your mouth is the best way to keep water from damaging teeth. Another way is to check the pool for proper pH. Test strips to check water in any pool you use are easy to find online, and available at most pool supply stores.


As always, regular checkups at my Spokane dental office are key catching any problems early and treating them before they become large problems.