Swimming is a popular summer pastime, enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a great way to get exercise and have fun, but it can also affect your oral health in some negative ways. This is partially due to the use of chlorine in swimming pools. Chlorine is commonly used in swimming pools to kill bacteria and prevent the spread of infection. However, too much chlorine can be harmful to your health. In this blog post, we will discuss the effects that chlorine has on your oral health, and offer tips for safe swimming.
Chlorine is a chemical that is used in swimming pools to kill bacteria and prevent the spread of waterborne infections. However, too much chlorine can be harmful to your health. When you swim in a pool that has too much chlorine, it can dry out your skin and hair, and irritate your eyes. It can also damage your teeth and gums. While chlorine can affect your oral health, it is not the only threat to be aware of while swimming. Here are some of the ways that swimming can affect your oral health:
Swimming frequently in a chlorinated pool can cause a condition called swimmer’s calculus. This is a type of tartar that forms on your teeth when the chlorine starts to accumulate on the surface of your teeth. For starters, swimmer’s calculus can make your teeth appear yellow, but it can also cause enamel erosion. Swimmer’s calculus is difficult to remove and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if it is not removed properly.
Swimming in a chlorinated pool can also cause tooth sensitivity. This is because the chlorine can strip away the protective layer of enamel on your teeth, exposing the dentin beneath. Dentin is a sensitive tissue that is full of tiny pores. When this tissue is exposed, you may experience pain or discomfort when eating or drinking hot or cold beverages.
Barodontalgia is a condition that can occur when you swim in a very deep pool with high pressure, but it mostly occurs in people who scuba dive. This condition is also known as tooth squeeze. It occurs when the pressure of the water around you presses on your teeth and gums, causing them to swell. In the case that you have untreated tooth decay, a faulty dental restoration, or a tooth fracture, this can cause the air in your tooth to expand or contract to match the ambient pressure. In addition to being uncomfortable, barodontalgia can actually lead to tooth fractures or displaced restorations.
Swimming, like any type of outdoor activity, can also cause oral injuries. These types of injuries can vary from loose or knocked out teeth to soft tissue cuts on the gums or tongue. In most cases, swimming-related oral injuries are caused by water sports like water polo. However, they can also be caused by general rough-housing or running around slippery pool decks.
Tips for Safe Swimming
There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of oral health problems when swimming. Here are some tips for safe swimming:
Manage Chlorine Levels
You can reduce the risk of oral health problems by making sure that the chlorine levels in your pool are well-managed. You should test the chlorine levels in your pool regularly and adjust them as needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that your swimming pool should fall between 7.2-7.8 on the pH scale. Free chlorine concentration should also be at least 1 part per million in swimming pools and 3 parts per million in hot tubs.
Estimate Chlorine Levels
If you are swimming in a public pool or any pool where you cannot manage the chlorine levels, you can estimate the chlorine levels by looking at the condition of the pool linings, railings, and ladders. If these surfaces show signs of erosion, then chances are that more chlorine is used and the water is slightly acidic. In these cases, it is recommended to limit the amount of time spent in that pool to minimize the harmful effects of excess chlorine.
Stay Up to Date on Dental Visits
You should see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. This will help to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and that any oral health problems are detected and treated early. This is especially important if you are an avid scuba diver. However, it is also necessary to avoid scuba diving for a minimum of 24 hours after having any dental procedure with anesthesia.
Practice Pool Safety
Finally, you can reduce the risk of oral injuries by practicing safe swimming habits. You should always wear proper protective mouthguards while playing water polo and be sure to only walk around the pool. Taking even a few minutes practicing safety can make a huge difference.
In this blog, we discussed how swimming can affect your oral health. We talked about the use of chlorine in swimming pools and how different concentrations can affect your health. We also listed and described some of the oral health problems that can arise as a result such as Swimmer’s Calculus or Tooth Sensitivity. Additionally, Barodontalgia and Oral Injury can also occur while swimming. Finally, we shared some tips for safe swimming such as Manage Chlorine Levels, Estimate Chlorine Levels, Stay Up to Date on Dental Visits, Practice Pool Safety. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your oral health is not affected by swimming in a chlorinated pool.