If you love to hit the pool to cool off, exercise or play all the time, your teeth are at risk for enamel erosion and tooth discoloration. The researchers at New York University report that the chlorine used to clean and sanitize residential swimming pools may increase the acidity in your mouth when it's not regulated or used properly. If you notice that your teeth look yellow, weak or eroded over time, consult with your dentist about dental bonding. Dental bonding is used to strengthen weakened tooth enamel right away. Keep reading to find out more about chlorine's effects on your teeth and how dental bonding works to protect them.
How Does Chlorine Change pH Levels of Swimming Pool Water?
Chlorine can discolor, dry out and irritate the skin and hair if you expose these body tissues to it on a regular basis. However, chlorine's affects on your teeth may be even more damaging. It has the ability to remove tooth enamel by changing the pH levels or acid levels in your mouth.
The pH level describes how much acid is actually found in water on a scale of 0-14. Chlorine contains a strong compound called hydrochloric acid. Adding too much chlorine to your swimming pool's water may increase its pH levels.
If you swim in overly-chlorinated water, and it gets inside your mouth, the chlorine may coat the surfaces of your teeth and release acids on them. Eventually, your teeth may turn yellow or yellowish-brown from the acids. In addition, your teeth enamel may become sensitive to sugary foods, as well as hot and cold food and beverages.
There's a way to repair the damage caused by chlorinated swimming pool water. It's called dental bonding.
What Does Dental Bonding Mean and How Does It Work?
Dental or tooth bonding is a unique treatment that covers thin or damaged tooth enamel on your teeth with a special material called composite. The tooth-colored material bonds easily to the surfaces of your teeth and may protect them from future enamel loss.
There are several steps to the bonding treatment, which includes the preparation time, bonding time and drying time. However, you may expect your tooth bonding treatment to take 30 minutes to one hour of your time to complete.
Prepare Your Teeth Enamel
The first step to the treatment requires the dentist to roughen up the surfaces of your teeth with a dental file, then place a thin layer of conditioning agent on them. The agent seals the tiny openings on your tooth enamel, which prevent the formation of air bubbles in the composite after the dentist places it on your teeth. The conditioning agent also strengthens the enamel against decay and other dental problems.
Apply the Composite
As the conditioning agent dries, the dentist chooses a composite material that may whiten your discolored tooth enamel. After this step, the provider mixes the composite material with a bonding agent, then applies it to your teeth.
If your teeth enamel is very thin, the dentist may apply several layers of composite to thicken it up. The dentist may also use dental tools to shape the composite, so that it looks even and natural in your mouth.
Dry the Composite
Once the main portion of the treatment is done, the dentist will cure or harden the composite with a drying light. Cured composite is less prone to breakage, chipping and other problems after placement.
Your composite material forms a protective shield over your tooth enamel, which may help keep overly-chlorinated water from coating or touching it when you go swimming.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Teeth Enamel After Treatment?
Taking care of your bonded teeth is essential. To do so, it's a good idea that you avoid swimming in excessive chlorine. If you do choose to continue swimming, cover your teeth with a mouth guard. The device may help keep your mouth closed and water out of it when you swim.
Also, test the pH levels of your swimming pool's water as often as you can. If necessary, have a professional treat the pool to avoid dental problems in the future.
If you have concerns about chlorine and your teeth enamel, contact a dentist, such as Richard M Holmes DMD PA, for more details.