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News / August 3, 2011

Swimming pools pose risk to dental health

by Guy Hiscott

A study by New York University College of Dentistry warns about the dangers of severe and rapid erosion of dental enamel from improperly maintained swimming pools.
This serves as a stark warning to people with their own swimming pools, without proper maintenance they could be putting their dental health at risk and causing permanent damage to their teeth.
Dr Leila Jahangiri, Steven Pigliacelli and Dr Ross Kerr, authored a paper entitled ‘Severe and Rapid Erosion of Dental Enamel from Swimming: A Clinical Report’ (not yet published).
The study was based on a 52-year-old male patient whose main complaints included extremely sensitive teeth, dark staining and rapid enamel loss over a very short five-month period beginning in May of 2010.
Dr Leila Jahangiri, a clinical associate professor and the Chair of NYUCD’s Department of Prosthodontics and her team concluded that the enamel loss was a direct result of the patient’s 90-minute swimming exercise routine he started earlier that summer. Since he had never hired professional service to maintain his pool, given the timing coincidence and the lack of other possible causes, improper pool chlorination was ruled to be responsible for the patient’s dental erosion.
Jahangiri warned: ‘Improperly maintained pool chlorination in swimming pools can cause rapid and excessive erosion of dental enamel. It is a difficult balance to maintain home pools properly, pool chlorine and pH levels need to be monitored and maintained on a weekly basis. Improper pH levels can result in irreversible damage to one’s teeth.’
‘If the chemical levels are not properly maintained, pool water contact with teeth can cause serious enamel erosion.’
Case studies show that the effect occurs when the pH of the water ranges between 2.7 and 7.