In the world of entertainment, being known as a triple threat is a good thing. It refers to someone who has the talent to sing, dance, and act. When an entertainer can do all three, they’re definitely someone worth watching.
But with summer finally upon us, our team at 7 O’Clock Dental wants to talk about a different kind of triple threat. It’s all about chlorine, and today, we’re sharing three of the ways it can put your oral health at risk and threaten your healthy, summer smile.
Let’s face it, we love summer! There are so many opportunities to spend time with the people you love and making memories while you’re enjoying some much needed quality time with the family. But the rewards of all that fun in the sun doesn’t come without a few risks. Specifically, the chlorinated water you find in the local swimming pool is one of those special threats of summer.
Today’s blog will help keep you equipped with the right information to keep these potential threats at bay to protect your smile all summer long!
Threat #1: DRY MOUTH
Without chlorine, pool water wouldn’t be safe to swim in. It helps balance out the pH levels so the acids can effectively kill off a ton of harmful bacteria that would otherwise grow in the water and make you and your family very sick if you swam in it.
So it’s not that we’re saying chlorine is a bad thing. The more swimmers you have in the water, the more potential you have for a breeding ground of bacteria from discharge and other waste, especially in the heat and humidity of the summer throwing acidity levels out of whack. Chlorine allows us to safely swim without much risk of becoming physically ill.
But it can be bad for your teeth if you’re not careful. One of the reasons has to do with dry mouth. Chlorine can hinder your ability to produce saliva, which is your natural defense against harmful bacteria in your mouth. Saliva helps wash away sugars and acids left behind from food and drinks.
Without enough saliva, your mouth becomes dry. You no longer have that protective coating on your teeth to keep the harmful stuff out. One of the ways you can combat dry mouth is to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you’re out in the hot sun.
Threat #2: ENAMEL EROSION
Just as the acidity in pool water attacks harmful bacteria, it also attacks your tooth enamel. Considering the risk of dry mouth because of lack of saliva, your enamel isn’t protected. Saliva also helps to remineralize your enamel, so again, without it puts your teeth at risk even further.
When your enamel becomes weakened, you’re more vulnerable to things like cavities and decay. You can protect your teeth by using a toothpaste containing fluoride. This will help your teeth stay healthy and strong, not just through the summer months, but all year long.
Threat #3: TOOTH SENSITIVITY
As we mentioned before, chlorine can weaken your enamel. What that does is provide harmful bacteria better access to the vulnerable soft tissues and nerve endings inside your teeth. Without proper protection against the bacteria, you could develop tooth sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages. Worse, you open yourself up to the possibility of infection.
Telling yourself you can just keep your mouth closed while you’re splashing around in the pool isn’t going to help, unfortunately. Chlorine will still find its way inside your mouth. Keep a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste with you so you can brush after you swim to encourage stronger enamel from potential tooth sensitivity.
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It’s best to always try to stop these problems before they start. You can do that by scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams with Dr. Tripp and our team at 7 O’Clock Dental.