Swimming is one of those sports that don’t make dentists cringe when you bring them up, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from oral health risks. A little known fact is too much time spent swimming in a chlorinated pool or in the ocean can pose certain risks to your oral health. If your children are avid swimmers that you can’t keep out of the water, this article will let you know the dangers.
Improperly chlorinated pools pose a risk to dental health, be sure to chlorinate appropriately
Five Unexpected Dental Health Risks from Swimming
Swimming of all forms is excellent exercise, working every part of the body while being low-impact. While this latter is hardly a concern for most young swimmers, there are a number of concerns that can face those who spend long hours in the pool or swimming in the ocean. Below are five of the most prominent.
- Swimmer’s Calculus – Chlorine from your pool water is important for keeping bacteria and other contaminants in your pool at bay. Excessive time spent in the pool can also result in chlorine deposits forming on your teeth, resulting in a brown or yellow residue. If you or your child often spend more than six hours a week in a chlorinated pool, talk to your dentist.
- Sensitive Teeth – Having a professional set your chlorine levels in your pool is important for lots of reasons. Among them is the potential for damage to your teeth. High levels of chlorine can cause your teeth to become brittle and sensitive to temperature changes.
- Oral Injury – Roughhousing in the pool, whether in general or as part of an organized sport like water volleyball or polo, can result in injuries to the teeth and jaw. If you enjoy these sports, check with your dentist to get a good custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your teeth.
- Tooth Compression – Those who participate in snorkeling or diving at depth can experience a condition known as barodontalgia, or “tooth squeeze.” The pressure inside your mouth changes in response to pressurized water at depth and can lead to dental pain or damage to oral restorations like crowns or fillings.
- Lost Dental Devices – Children who have received orthodontic care often have to wear retainers. Retainers are one of the most commonly lost dental devices in the water, so be sure to remove them before diving.
If your children spend a lot of hours in the pool, it’s important that you communicate this to your dentist. They’ll be able to keep an eye out for related concerns and identify the correct cause of those that may appear to be from poor hygiene.
What To Do To Protect Your Child’s Teeth
There are quite easy things you can do to prevent time spent in the water from impacting the health of your child’s teeth. It starts with making sure you take regular trips to your dentist and rinsing your mouth after every swim. Getting additional fluoride will definitely help protect your teeth, and you should always have a professional manage the chemical levels in your home pool.