Chlorine is an antimicrobial that is used to sanitize swimming pools and Jacuzzis and keep them free of the bacteria that can be harmful to humans. It is also added to municipal water sources to keep that water free of these same disease-causing microbes, but the levels are much lower than that found in swimming pools and typically don’t cause problems for your teeth.
If you are swimming regularly, water in the pool may seep into your mouth. Pools that have high levels of chlorine can cause enamel erosion, which can lead to discoloration and extreme tooth sensitivity, and possibly cracks or breaks in your teeth.
Signs of enamel erosion include:
- Increase in tooth decay
- Teeth that grow thinner and appear to be almost transparent
- Yellow teeth because you are seeing the underlying dentine of the teeth, which is yellow
- Uneven edges on the teeth
- Fractures and cracks in the teeth
- Shiny spots on the teeth
There are ways to protect your teeth from chlorine water while swimming.
- Keep your mouth closed as much as possible while you swim.
- Schedule an extra cleaning and fluoride session at the start of pool season.
- Ask what the pH balance of your pool is. A properly maintained pool should have a pH balance of between 7.2 and 7.8. You can buy test strips at a drugstore to make sure your pool is at a safe level for your teeth.
- And, of course, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, which will help protect your teeth.