The diving, the splashes, the never-ending games of Marco Polo — it’s summertime, and your pool is getting a lot of attention from your kids and their friends. But did you know that pool time can actually affect your kids’ healthy smiles? Your pediatric dentist in Chattanooga doesn’t want to take away the summer fun of swimming, but we do want to let you in on a little secret that may be lurking in the water of your favorite pool.
The link between pool water and oral health isn’t a new concept to dentists and has been studied since the 1980s. But it’s not well known to the general public. Basically when the pH level in a pool becomes too acidic, or too low, the water actually becomes corrosive. Water with a low pH may cause burning eyes, skin irritation, tooth staining, and yes, enamel erosion.
Signs of a Problem
While many casual swimmers probably won’t experience a problem, those who spend a lot of time in the pool may experience sensitivity or discoloration known as swimmer’s calculus. Swimmer’s calculus is typically characterized by brown spots on the teeth. It may be impossible to remove it at home, but a visit to your Chattanooga pediatric dentist can help.
Why is Enamel Important?
Tooth enamel protects teeth against bacteria. Without it, bacteria can easily settle into tiny crevices and create decay and cavities. Anything that’s acidic in nature, like low pH water, lemonade, or citrus fruits, can erode enamel and pave the way for future dental problems.
One of the best ways to protect teeth against erosion caused by long summer days in the pool is to check and maintain a proper pH — it should be between 7.2 and 7.8. The same thing applies to public pools and water parks. There are inexpensive test strips you can buy to easily check any water’s pH level.
It’s also important to make sure your kids visit their Chattanooga pediatric dentist regularly. These appointments will help monitor tooth health and catch any potential problems early. Early detection often means easy treatment, which gets kids out of the dental office and back into the pool (the properly pH balanced pool, of course) much quicker.