June 1, 2017
Now that summer is here, your children are probably dreaming of jumping in pools and swimming all season long. Whether it’s an above-ground pool in a backyard or a deep one run by your local park district, pools and summer go hand in hand.
But you need to be careful, because the chlorine in these pools can hurt your kids’ smiles. Call our Kansas City, MO dental office at 816-399-5539 today to schedule your next family dentistry appointment. Because he combines expertise with working great with children, Dr. Stiver can help keep your children’s smiles healthy this summer.
Why Pools Need Chlorine
What is chlorine anyway, and why is it in pools? It’s to keep pools from getting you and your kids very sick.
Bacteria seem to get everywhere. That includes standing water like you find in a pool. Without chlorine or some similar disinfectant in the pool water, your kids will likely get very sick if they swam in it. (No matter how hard you try, some of that water gets inside you.)
Chlorine helps by increasing the acidity (or pH level) of the water. If the water’s acidity is around 11, then it has low pH and the bacteria will love that stuff. But if the water’s acidity increases, it starts to kill off the bacteria. That’s why the CDC actually makes it a rule that pools use something like chlorine.
Although there are non-chlorine ways to keep pools free of bacteria, those can be expensive or hard to find. Most families and communities still use chlorine in their pools.
What Chlorine Does To Teeth
It’s not like your kids will come out of the pool one day with horrible, damaged teeth. Similar to cavities, the damage done by chlorine is slow. It builds up over time. But that also means the damage is hard to notice at first. Here are some of the problems your kids can face by all that chlorine in swimming pools.
Anything that’s acidic will erode a tiny amount of enamel from teeth. That’s part of why drinking so much fruit juice (normally very acidic) can be bad for your kids’ teeth. But when you’re in a pool swimming and playing around, you’re going to get some water splashed on your teeth. Since chlorine makes water more acidic, it makes the water damaging to your teeth.
Chlorine does more than just erode some of the enamel. It can also discolor and stain your kids’ enamel. They have a word for it: “Swimmer’s calculus.” It’s a dark, brownish color that gets in your enamel when you swim in chlorinated pools too much.
Enamel is used to protect the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth., As chlorine and the acidic water erode your kids’ enamel, that protection is diminished. The enamel is thinner, so temperature and pressure can reach the nerve endings inside. This means your kids’ teeth can be sensitive and even hurt with hot, cold, or tough foods.
Saliva is used to wash away some of the food particles that get stuck there whenever you eat or drink. That’s a good thing because it deprives bacteria behind cavities and gum disease of the food they need to thrive. But chlorinated water will lead to drying your mouth out. With less saliva, you’re kids will be at a higher risk of cavities and gum disease.
Protecting Kids’ Teeth During The Summer
Then what can you do to protect teeth from chlorine in pools? Here are several things.
- Visit a dentist regularly: Dental cleanings and dental exams at our Kansas City, MO dental office can help keep teeth healthy and strong.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water prevents dehydration and dry mouth.
- Keep pools around 7.5 pH: That level is the best for keeping water safe without getting too acidic.
- Brush after swimming: Make sure there is no acid lingering on teeth with a quick brushing
Call us TODAY at 816-399-5539 or use our convenient online form to make your next appointment for family dentistry. Dr. Stiver is more than just a highly trained dentist. He knows how to work well with children. In fact, our entire team can help your child feel safe and welcome.