Thursday Thought: Swimming & Your Oral Health

Did you know that exposure to pool chlorine can lead to teeth staining, dental pain, and other dental problems?

Risks Posed by Swimming

Swimming is the favorite sport during the summer months. We all love swimming in our home and neighborhood pools. Also, swimming is an excellent form of exercise that is low impact and has cardiovascular benefits. What the dental community is noticing is that swimmers may need more frequent checkups than the normal range – twice a year. The reason for this is to minimize the effects of exposure to chlorinated water. Let’s address a few dental problems that can be caused by exposure to pool water.

Teeth staining is a problem for swimmers because of all the chemicals added to the water. The chemicals can give the water a higher pH than saliva, which can form deposits on teeth. People who swim more than 6 hours a week (typically athletes) expose their teeth to large amounts of chemicals, which results in hard, brown calculus deposits on teeth.

Swimmers who have dental infections, caries, and failing restorations (just to name a few) are at risk of developing Barodontalgia, which commonly explained is tooth pain caused by pressure. The key to avoiding this is excellent oral health and upkeep on dental treatment. If you swim more than 6 hours a week or intend to, please advise your dentist so a customized dental plan can be put in effect. For a more complete article discussing the oral effects of a swimmer’s mouth, please refer to “Risks to Oral Health Posed by Swimming,” in the Dimensions of Dental Hygiene magazine.