Swimming is coming back as a popular activity. As summer comes along, many will be joining the waters either casually or competitively to soak up the sun and have a good time. Swimming is an excellent activity as it promotes cardiovascular health, helps increase lung capacity, and works out the muscles in a low-impact manner. But what about your teeth? Most often, people don’t think about what their chlorine-filled waters are doing to their teeth and gums, and depending on your mouth’s sensitivity, pools with high levels of chlorine can produce long-term side effects.
Because we’re excited about summer around the corner, we’re here to explain how daily exposure to chlorinated water can increase the risk of dental stains, tooth pain, and even enamel erosion, and we’re also here to inform you about the best ways to prevent these issues while enjoying the summer sun.
What Dental Risks Are There To Swimming Daily?
If you love to swim and have a passion for this sport, swimming each day is a wonderful way to exercise. We urge you to keep exercising each day with whatever activities you love to do because exercise is always good for your health. However, one aspect of swimming we have previously noted is that chlorinated pools sometimes don’t have regulated pH levels. These unregulated pH levels can contain higher than normal amounts of chlorine that, when exposed to it on a long-term level, can cause these dental issues:
• Dental Stains: Chlorinated pools often contain antimicrobials. Antimicrobials are chemical additives that can break down saliva proteins over time. Because it is vital for your oral health, poor saliva creation can contribute to staining.
• Tooth Pain: If you love diving, be aware that barometric stress can increase the risk of dental pain at specific depths. This condition is also known as barodontalgia.
• Plaque Accumulation: As the most common problem, chlorinated waters due to saliva breakdown can allow bacteria to build quickly and cause irritation to the gums.
• Enamel Erosion: With the growth of bacteria and the decline of saliva, it can ultimately lead to the enamel breaking down, which increases the risk of cavities.
What You Can Do While You Swim This Summer
If you only swim once in a while, then don’t worry. However, if you are an athlete, competitive swimmer, or love swimming every day for exercise, then be aware that some studies cite that dental erosion is common among regular swimmers, with older swimmers being more vulnerable to the effects of enamel erosion.
Overall, the best place to find more information about maintaining your oral health long-term is with your primary dentist. Just make sure to brush your teeth, use a mouth rinse after swimming, and check the pH levels of your pool.