Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
Swimming is a fun and healthy way to expend your energy and enjoy time with friends and family. Adults and kids alike choose swimming as one of their favorite past times, a form of exercise, or for birthday parties and celebrations. But did you know that spending more time in the pool could be causing you cavities? Chlorine is a chemical commonly used to treat pool water and to maintain a proper pH level. But, chlorine isn’t so great if you get pool water in your mouth, which happens from swimming underwater, splashing around, or diving. Find out how pool chlorine could damage your teeth and how to keep them protected while you swim.
How pool water could be damaging your teeth
Studies reveal that young swimmers are most at risk of damaged dental enamel as a result of swimming. Additionally, the more time swimmers spend in the pool, the higher their risk of developing dental disease compared to occasional swimmers.
However, there are certain things that you can do to protect your oral health if you’re a swimmer.
- Swimmer’s Calculus – More likely in people who spend more than six hours a week in a swimming pool. The chemical residue makes it more likely for bacteria and buildup to adhere to your teeth, leading to swimmer’s calculus.
- Increases Tooth Sensitivity and Decay – Acidity is to blame for increased tooth sensitivity. Highly acidic foods and beverages, as well as an improperly chlorinated pool, could cause the enamel on your teeth to thin, leading to sensitivity and an increased risk for cavities.
- Increases the Risk of Mouth Injuries – More likely for individuals engaging in water sports like pool polo or water volleyball. However, you can protect your teeth while playing sports of any kind just by wearing a custom-made sports guard.
- May Cause Dry Mouth – It’s likely that if you spend any amount of time in a pool that you will swallow pool water accidentally. The chlorinated water decreases saliva production, leading to dry mouth. A dry mouth creates the perfect environment for cavity and gum disease development.
- Leads to Teeth Staining – Decreased pH levels allow the water to develop organic deposits on the swimmer’s teeth due to an accelerated breakdown of salivary proteins. As a result, staining of the anterior or front teeth is more likely. While these stains probably cannot be brushed away, your dentist can help brighten your teeth with regular dental cleanings and professional teeth whitening treatment.
You should enjoy the summer and time spent in the pool. However, it’s important to be aware of these potential oral health dangers so that you can take steps to protect your teeth and gums. While swimming provides a great source of exercise, just be sure that you stick to a healthy regimen of oral care such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and drink plenty of filtered water while swimming. Additionally, see your dentist twice a year to keep your oral health on track. You may also want to ask your dentist about fluoride treatments to protect your teeth and reduce the risk of dental disease.
Family Dentist in Poway and Rancho Bernardo
An occasional splash in the pool probably isn’t going to impact your oral health. However, if you are a competitive swimmer or spend six or more hours a week in the pool, be aware of the above-mentioned potential oral health dangers. If you’d like to learn more about protecting your oral health, please get in touch with Smiles by Dr. Cook by calling (858) 673-0141 or contact us today.