Most people look forward to the warmer months as they’re excited to spend their days outdoors, soaking up the summer sun and enjoying the beautiful weather. Swimming is one of the most popular seasonal activities, and for good reason—what better way to cool down than taking a plunge into a refreshing body of water? However, spending too much in the pool can have adverse effects on your mouth.
Read on to learn how swimming is bad for your teeth and what you can do to protect your smile this season.
How is Swimming Bad for Your Teeth?
Swimming is a great form of exercise for both children and adults, but frequent exposure to pool water can put your dental health at risk. In addition to dehydrating your skin and discoloring your hair, it can damage your tooth enamel. Studies report that extended exposure to chlorinated water can lead to staining and tooth erosion. One study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1986, concluded that out of almost 750 professional swimmers surveyed, 40% of them suffered from enamel erosion of their teeth.
How Does Chlorine Damage Your Teeth?
Enamel erosion happens when the pH balance (how acidic or alkaline the water is) of a swimming pool drops too low. Thus, improperly chlorinated pools can harm your oral health. When the pH drops, the water becomes corrosive and can leave your teeth brittle and sensitive. The CDC recommends the pH levels of treated water to be between 7.2 and 7.8. If your eyes are starting to water, or if your nose burns from smelling the pool, they’re signs of low pH. Before diving into your pool at home, have the chlorine levels checked by a professional to prevent serious dental damage.
Tips for Protecting Your Smile
A few visits to the local pool each year is unlikely to cause significant damage, so don’t worry about having to give up swimming completely! Like most things, moderation is key. Here are some tips you can follow to protect your teeth:
- Close your mouth. While swimming, keeping your mouth closed as much as possible will reduce exposure of your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth. After swimming, rinse your mouth with tap water to wash away any remaining pool water that can damage your teeth.
- Visit your dentist. If you’re an avid swimmer, make sure you see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups so they can catch any developing erosion as early as possible.
- Use fluoride. It helps strengthen your enamel! Drink fluoridated water and make sure you’re brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- Wear a mouthguard. This is to protect yourself from mouth injuries when playing high-contact sports, like water polo or water volleyball.
Taking these precautions and practicing good oral hygiene will help you maintain a strong, healthy smile you can enjoy all summer long. Next time you go for a swim, keep these tips in mind and your dental health will thank you.
Meet the Dentists
Dr. Dhiren Ahir and Dr. Rajiv Shekhadiya believe in establishing lasting patient relationships, as they wholeheartedly believe it’s the key to providing world-class dental care. Both dentists and their team at Prime Dentistry place much of their attention on preventive care to help you avoid the hassle that comes with dental damage. Dr. Ahir and Dr. Shekhadiya perform thorough oral exams and recommend appropriate treatments as needed, so you can rest assured you’ll have a healthy smile to kick off summer with. If you’re going to be swimming often, we can help keep your teeth in their best shape. Visit our website or call (940) 514-0333 to schedule your checkup.