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How Can Swimming Affect Your Teeth

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When playing sports like football, basketball and hockey, it’s common for dentists to recommend that athletes wear mouth guards. After all, a high stick, errant elbow or hard tackle has the potential to do a lot to your teeth if the mouth area isn’t properly protected. However, you may be surprised to learn that another sport and leisure activity has the potential to take its toll on your teeth as well – swimming. That's right, swimming. Here’s a look at what you should keep in mind if you have a backyard pool or regularly spend your summer days at the beach:

How Swimming Can Impact Your Teeth (and How to Avoid Certain Conditions)

  • Swimmer’s calculus: When someone has swimmer’s calculus, it means that chlorine has deposited a residue on their teeth, likely turning them beige or brown. The bad news is that it’s a very unappealing look, but the good news is that it’s easy to prevent. To minimize your chances of swimmer’s calculus, keep the pH levels right (ideally between 7.2 and 7.8) in your pool, swim with your mouth closed and rinse your mouth out with fresh water after you depart the pool for the day.
  • Eroded enamel: Chlorine doesn’t just have the potential to turn your teeth an unsightly color, but it can also accelerate tooth enamel erosion. Enamel erosion often leads to sensitive teeth. Again, the best way to avoid eroded enamel is to keep the pool pH levels at ideal levels. In fact, research indicates that water with a pH under 7 is more apt to cause serious enamel erosion. Swimming with your mouth closed is another good preventative technique. If you’re not able to properly chlorinate your pool, consider hiring a company to do it for you to avoid eroded enamel and swimmer’s calculus.
  • Tooth squeeze: Also commonly known as “barodontalgia,” this condition occurs when air causes the teeth to contract to match the outside pressure. This can be painful, damage dental fillings and other restorative apparatuses like crowns and bridges. It’s common among divers and/or snorkelers who swim deep under the water.
  • Dental device damage: If you wear retainers or dentures, take the proper precautions before swimming. For instance, retainers should be removed before swimming, as chlorine can cause damage to the device. Dentures can be worn while swimming, but you should always be sure that a denture adhesive has been administered so that they don’t loosen within the mouth.

Additionally, it’s important to see your dentist for regular cleanings so that any potential issues – whether they’re the result of swimming or something else – can be properly identified and treated before they become too severe. For more information on how swimming can affect your teeth, contact Caven Dental today.

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