Monday, September 27

Can swimming pool water affect the health of teeth and mouth?


The pool is one of the most appropriate places to find refuge from the sweltering heat of summer. Beyond the advantages and pleasant moments that this space provides, it should also be remembered that it exposes some risks.

This is the reason why it is risky to install a plastic pool on the terrace this summer

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The possible problems related to this space are very varied. The most common are irritations and infections –especially in the skin, eyes or ears–, but also the risks of accidents or hydrocution in children must be considered, and even those derived from falling into the temptation of having sex in the water.

Another possible negative consequence of spending a lot of time in the pool is related to oral health. In this case, as in many of the irritations that mainly affect the skin and eyes, the main responsible is chlorine.

Problems of excess chlorine

Chlorine is a gas widely used in the treatment of swimming pool water, as it helps prevent the proliferation of bacteria and other microorganisms that are harmful to humans. If it is not used, water can become a source of infections.

But, if too much chlorine is used, or if a person spends many hours swimming in the pool, the risk of irritations and also that the teeth and gums are affected – something that is much less talked about.

This is because chlorine modifies the acidity levels of the water of the pools. Because of this, in general, the pH of water is higher than that of saliva. Such decompensation causes salivary proteins to break down more quickly and tooth enamel to erode and wear.

In addition, the high temperatures of summer, sweat and a possible insufficient water intake they can generate some degree of dehydration, which also has to conspire against the production of saliva. The result of all this is that the teeth and gums are less protected against microorganisms.

Swimmer’s tartar and other problems

Various studies have explained that, due to chlorine, spending more than six hours a week in the pool for a long period of time exposes the risk of suffering from the so-called “swimmer’s tartar”, a Brown spots that appear mainly in the front teeth. This problem afflicts many professional swimmers.

In people who do not swim professionally – and who therefore tend to spend less time in the water – the problem is not as serious, but still chlorine exerts its effect in the oral cavity.

Especially if you take into account that during the summer and holidays many people tend to relax care of your oral hygiene and to modify your diet by including more fast foods or meals cooked outside the home. Therefore, it is important to remember the importance of maintaining healthy habits, also at this time of year.

Pool water can contribute to the formation of organic deposits on the teeth and gums, which leads to a weakening of the enamel. This wear causes the tooth sensitivity, the condition that leads to experiencing a stabbing and localized pain in certain parts when a very cold food or drink is ingested.

And, in a longer period of time, such organic deposits and the weakening of the enamel can lead to the emergence of other problems, such as gum inflammation, halitosis, gingivitis, periodontitis or cavities.

Prevent pool water problems in oral health

Among the measures to avoid the possible damage of swimming pool water on oral health, one of the most important consists in – as has been pointed out – maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.

The Mediterranean diet is always a recommended option when talking about this kind of care. “Dairy products, vegetables, fish and meat, which provide the nutrients and vitamins necessary for the body “, specifies the periodontist Jorge Ferrús, co-founder of the Ferrús & Bratos dental clinic in Madrid.

The expert also points out the importance of drinking plenty of water to maintain good hydration and contribute to a correct saliva production. In particular, after swimming or other physical activity and, in general, without waiting to feel thirsty to do so.

On the other hand, in the case of private pools, it must be ensured that the water has the most appropriate level of acidity. According to the pool maintenance company Awa, the most ideal thing is that the water has a pH between 7.4 and 7.6, although a somewhat wider range is also acceptable: between 7.2 and 7.8.

The pH of human saliva, meanwhile, ranges between 5.6 and 7.9 according to the Madrid College of Hygienists. The wider the difference between the pH of water and saliva, the greater their negative effects can be. However, as already noted, the effects are not very important if the time in the water is not very long.

Also the care of oral hygiene acquires great importance in these cases. Specialists recommend the use of toothpastes with a high content of fluoride, in addition to the use of dental floss and mouthwashes, both for strengthen enamel as to reduce bacterial plaque.

Because of all this, for people who are very fond of swimming pools and swimming, the visits to the dentist they become fundamental. The early detection of accumulations of tartar and small carious lesions can allow an early and effective treatment, to prevent major problems.

For the rest, it is advisable to pay close attention to the oral care of children who often also spend long hours in swimming pool water. In your case, you should not only emphasize brushing and other habits of your oral hygiene, but also emphasize the importance of do not put chlorinated water in your mouth, and much less swallowed, things they do frequently.

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