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Swim Much? Your Smile May be Suffering

added on: July 1, 2015

July1SwimmingWhether it’s for fun, exercise, or relaxation, there’s nothing better than a cool dip in a swimming pool to ease the summer heat. But everyone at our dental office in West Caldwell knows about a smile-damaging secret that could be lurking in your favorite pool, and we’d like to share it with you.

Swimming Pools Hurt Teeth? Really?

Yes, really, swimming pools can cause tooth damage which may lead to extensive dental problems. The link between pool water and teeth isn’t a new discovery. Back in the 80s, researchers conducted a study examining competitive swimmers and oral health. Turns out, almost 40% of those studied had some degree of enamel erosion. The more it was researched, the more conclusive the results: swimming pools may cause tooth damage.


Pool water should have a very specific pH level — typically between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH drops too low, it becomes acidic. Acidic water can have effects on the whole body including burning eyes, skin irritation, and enamel erosion.

Knowing When There’s a Problem

There are two main signs you may be suffering from pool-induced tooth problems. First, new sensitivity could be an indicator of eroding enamel. Once enamel erodes, tooth roots are left exposed to heat and cold, which can be quite painful. Second is brown spotting on the teeth. This is called swimmer’s calculus, and it’s nearly impossible to remove at home. If you’re noticing signs of a dental problem, call your West Caldwell dentist as soon as possible.

Acidic Water and Tooth Enamel.

Those who spend more time in the pool are more susceptible to enamel erosion. Enamel is the hard, outermost surface of teeth that protects them against bacteria and keeps the inner roots safe. If compromised, teeth are more likely to have decay, cavities, and additional oral health problems.

How to Avoid the Danger

Simply testing pool water before spending extended time in it can go a long way toward ensuring a healthy smile. Purchase some inexpensive pH testing strips and measure the pH prior to diving in.

Additionally, keeping up with regular appointments at our West Caldwell dental office is the ultimate prevention. Often times, early detection means a faster treatment, which allows you to get back to health and back to enjoying summer.

Accepting patients from West Caldwell, Fairfield, and Roseland.

Posted In: Dental Articles

Drs. Mike & Tom Masella