Most of us know that regular brushing is the best way to prevent oral health problems. It scrubs away acids, plaque and other substances that can eat away at your enamel and damage your teeth. If you've just been swimming, however, brushing can also remove your enamel.
Swimming probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dangerous activities for your tooth enamel. However, a recent study found that chlorine had damaged the teeth of 66 percent of a test group of 500 regular swimmers [source: Elkins].
Most pools use chlorine to kill harmful bacteria in the water, but this chemical also happens to be highly acidic. In fact, not only can chlorine eat away at the enamel on your teeth, it can also temporally soften the enamel it doesn't destroy. What this means is that besides swimming with your mouth closed, you need to make sure you avoid the toothbrush after you take a dip. Because your enamel has been softened by chlorine's acids, you could actually tear it away if you brush your teeth immediately after leaving the pool. Therefore, make sure you wait at least an hour before scrubbing your pearly whites [source: Elkins].