Etiological factors in the development of dental erosion are usually listed as dietary acids, for instance in soft drinks and fruit juices, and intrinsic acid exposure due to gastro-intestinal disease or frequent vomiting. Quite often the list of causes in reviews and textbooks also includes frequent swimming. This paper evaluates the evidence behind this erosion etiology. The main desinfection techniques using gas chlorination and sodium hypochlorite are described, and their relative risk for development of low pH water is discussed.
In the Netherlands only the relatively safe sodium hypochlorite method is used, and the quality of the water in public swimming pools is monitored monthly by independent test laboratories. Data for 2001 from such a test laboratory show that the precentage of low-pH results is very low (0,14%). It is concluded that the risk of dental erosion from frequent swimming in acidic pool water is probably negligible in the Netherlands.