Living in Texas means having warmer weather throughout the year. And since summer is fast approaching, there is nothing better than going to the swimming pool on a hot day! But did you know that spending a lot of time in a body of water – whether it be in the ocean or pool – can affect your teeth?
Whether you are a dedicated athlete, an avid swimmer, or a recreational swimmer, swimming can affect your teeth and pose some risks. From potential mouth injuries to exposure to incorrectly treated pools while engaging in water sports, below are some things you should consider when it comes to swimming and your teeth.
Many studies show that too much exposure to overly chlorinated water can harm your teeth. The improper composition of chemicals and too much chlorine can make the pool very acidic. Acids can erode the enamel of the teeth, discolor them, and cause them to weaken.
Frequent exposure to overchlorinated pools may lead to the following dental issues:
To reduce your risk, stay away from overchlorinated pools and swim only in pools that ensure the right pH balance and those that adhere to proper water treatment standards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pH levels of chlorine to be 7.2 and 7.8. If you have a pool in your yard, it’s best to consult with a professional when it comes to proper application, maintenance, and monitoring of chemical disinfectants.
Pack your retainers or any removable dental appliances before you jump in. Keep them away from the water or store them safely in a container. Retainers can fall out of the water, and get lost or damaged. Treated water can also damage the plastic in your removal dental appliance.
If you wear dentures, don’t worry, you can still wear them while swimming. If you use dentures, you need not worry about them loosening or coming out if they are fitted and made well. However, if you want to play it safe, you may use dental adhesive to secure their fit.
Barodontalgia, commonly known as tooth squeeze, is a condition that typically affects scuba divers due to the pressure changes when deep in the water. This painful condition happens when the pockets of air in your teeth contracts – like a vacuum effect – to match the outside pressure. If you plan to go scuba diving on your next trip, be sure to consult with your dental provider.
When you are around the pool, be sure to slow down. It is very easy to fall and lose or chip a tooth if you slip on a wet surface. If you have kids with you, teach them some dive and swim techniques that will help them avoid hitting the pool floor or the hard tiles. If you are going to engage in high-contact water sports, be sure to wear a mouthguard.
Your risk of developing swimmer’s calculus increases with more and prolonged exposure to chlorinated water. Chlorine is responsible for the formation of calculus, the residue that can turn your teeth yellow or brown through prolonged and constant exposure.
Be sure to let your Dallas dentist know if you notice stains on your teeth. Your dentist can offer tips to help prevent them, remove the stains, and if it’s a chronic issue, come up with a treatment plan which includes more frequent cleanings.