How Swimming Pool Water Can Cause Dental Problems

Here in Florida, swimming pools are often everywhere. That’s because the weather is often (but not always) good for a swim. Even in the summer when the heat gets bad, a quick dip can make or break your day.

However, you have to be careful, especially with your children. The water is swimming pools can lead to dental problems like cavities, tooth sensitivity, and more. That’s why you need to call our Panama City, FL dental office today at 850-588-0185 and make a family dentistry appointment for you and your kids. Dr. Patel is your Panama City dentist who combines dental expertise with being able to work well with kids.

Why Chlorine In Pools Is Both Good And Bad

Technically, the water in the pool is just fine. It’s the chlorine in that water that’s causing the problems.

Standing water is a great environment for growing harmful bacteria. That’s why all pools need some kind of disinfectant. Untreated pools can literally make your kids sick, which is the CDC recommends treating pool water so strongly.

Chlorine isn’t the only way to treat pool water, but it’s very common. It works by making the water so acidic that it kills off the bacteria present in the water. If your pool has a pH level close to 11, that means the water is almost acid-free and can be a problem. Adding chlorine raises the pH level. That’s the good news. The bad news is that acidic water can hurt teeth over time.

What Chlorine Does To Your Kids’ Teeth

Thankfully, the problems caused by swimming pool water aren’t immediate. Your kids aren’t going to come home from swimming in the neighbor’s pool with horrible teeth! But over time, these are the problems that will develop.


Any acid will start to erode whatever it touches. That’s the problem here. Even if your kids keep their mouths shut the entire time they swim (and what are the chances of that?), some pool water will get on the teeth. This covers the teeth with acids that erode the enamel.

The enamel is like armor for the teeth. It protects the sensitive nerves inside the tooth. So when acidic pool water starts wearing down the enamel, it lets temperature and pressure reach those nerves. This creates tooth sensitivity, where one or more teeth hurt a bit when you chew or eat hot/cold food.


Saliva is really important to your dental health. It washes away food particles that lead to more cavities and gum disease. It even helps strengthen enamel because saliva has calcium and trace minerals in it. But chlorine dries out your mouth. That means your kids will have less saliva, which means they’ll have an increased risk of cavities and gum disease.


Between eroding the enamel and getting rid of the saliva, it’s no wonder that teeth start to get weaker when exposed to chlorinated water is pools. What is a weak tooth? It’s one where it’s more likely to get cavities or damage like chips and cracks. That’s because the enamel is literally easier to damage.


Swimmer’s calculus is the nickname of this dental problem. It’s not the same as stains that happen thanks to drinking coffee and tea for so many years. Instead, it’s a discoloration caused by the chlorine. That means people who swim a lot in chlorinated pools can have darker, even browner teeth.

Helping Preserve Everyone’s Smiles

Then what can you do to help your kids’ smile stay healthy? Here are a few tips.

  • 1. Keep a pool’s pH level around 7.5: This number is the best for fighting bacteria in the water while making sure the water isn’t too acidic.
  • 2. Visit our Panama City, FL dental office: Regular dental exams from our Panama City dentist can make sure there are no dental problems growing worse due to chlorinated water.
  • 3. Make sure your kids are drinking plenty of plain water: Staying hydrated helps fight dry mouth and keep their teeth healthy thanks to saliva.
  • 4. Rinse and then brush teeth after swimming: Rinsing gets rid of the acids, while brushing with a fluoride toothpaste helps repair any microscopic damage to the enamel.

Call us TODAY at 850-588-0185 or use our convenient online form to make a new family dentistry appointment this summer. Dr. Patel knows how to work with children, but he also is highly trained in spotting and fixing the dental problems caused by too much pool water.

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