Swimming and your teeth

As we all watch the Olympics with Michael Phelps and  Katie Ledecky tearing up the competition. We all want to hop in the pool and swim as easily as the Olympians. As a Dentist I wonder what all that exposure to pool water is doing to his teeth. There are many different things that are occurring that many are not aware of. Pools are cleaned and water is kept safe by the addition of many chemicals including chlorine. Many things may arise from this chlorine and other aspects of swimming that will be discussed below:

Swimmer’s calculus

A tan is only one thing you’ll get from a lot of time spent in the pool. The longer your teeth are exposed to chlorinated water, the more likely you are to develop something know as swimmer’s calculus. Chlorine can deposit residue on your teeth, turning them yellow or brown after constant exposure. This condition typically only affects swimmers who spend over six hours a week in chemically treated water. Let us know if you notice stains on your or your children’s teeth. We can remove the stains and may recommend more frequent cleanings.

Over chlorinated water

If you have a pool or hot tub at home you want to be vigilante about checking the pH and the chlorine levels. When a pool is over chlorinated and acidic it may lead to tooth erosion. The chlorine and acid can dissolve the outer layer of the tooth leading towards sensitivity.

Mouth Injuries

High contact sports in the pool puts you at risk for injuries to your teeth and lips. These sports are water polo, water volleyball or general roughhousing. However, the majority of injuries we see associated with a pool are from when kids hit the bottom of the pool with their teeth. Use caution when diving into the pool especially head first. Also use caution when swimming close to the wall as teeth are sometimes the first to make contact.

What you can do to protect your teeth.

·         Wear a mouthguard when playing water polo or water volleyball

·         Visit your dentist if you notice discoloring of your teeth or the teeth being less shiny.

·         Use a professional to chlorinate and maintain your pool

·         Rinse your mouth with tap water after swimming.