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Your Teeth Underwater

Your Teeth Underwater

ANYONE WHO REGULARLY swims might have noticed that your teeth are more sensitive after climbing out of the pool. That’s not just your imagination. Doing a lot of swimming actually can take a toll on our teeth if we aren’t careful.

Pool Chlorine Can Cause “Swimmer’s Calculus”

To most people, the word “calculus” calls forth scary flashbacks from high school math class, but in this context, it refers to a dental health condition. Prolonged exposure to the acidic chlorine ions in pool water can make a swimmer’s teeth develop yellow or brown stains, which we call swimmer’s calculus. Chlorine is excellent for keeping a public pool sanitary for everyone swimming in it, but if it isn’t monitored carefully, the water’s pH levels can become more acidic.

Our teeth are very vulnerable to erosion from acid, so even mildly acidic pool water can make it more likely that we will develop these kinds of stains. You might be able to minimize this by keeping your mouth closed in the water and drinking plenty of water to rinse any pool water off of your teeth. Regular dental appointments are also important.

The Dental Woes of Scuba Divers

If you prefer scuba diving over swimming at the pool, you will face a different set of dental health risks, including barodontalgia or “tooth squeeze.” If you’ve ever felt pressure building up in your ears when you dive to the bottom of the deep end, you’ve gotten a taste of what can happen inside of individual teeth — particularly those with cavities that haven’t been treated yet or have been treated ineffectively.

The pressure of all that water can build so much that it can actually fracture a tooth. For this reason, we strongly encourage divers to begin their diving season with a visit to the dentist so that they can get ahead of any potential problems.

The All-Size-Fits-None Scuba Mouthpiece

Many scuba divers struggle with the supposedly one-size-fits-all mouthpieces that don’t really fit anyone very well. Most divers don’t go into the water often enough to feel like the cost of a custom-fitted mouthpiece is worth it. As dentists, we would argue that it’s worth it for anyone diving multiple times a year, because a custom-fitted mouthpiece won’t cause the problems the generic one can.

Generally, divers must clench down on the mouthpiece to keep it from falling out while diving, which can put a high level of strain on the jaws. It could even cause TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).

Do You Still Have Questions About Teeth and Water Activities?

If we haven’t answered all of your questions about how to look after your dental health while being an avid fan of water activities, just ask! A less obvious danger to be aware of as well is the tripping hazard of slippery areas around pools; a fall could easily cause an injury to your mouth. Take the right precautions for your teeth and enjoy all the water you want to this year!

We wish our patients a fantastic summer!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Warren Wise

Just had my first visit with Dr. Whiting at Smiles for Life in Bridgewater. My welcome to the office was warm and inviting. The dental assistant was professional, proficient, and very gentle. Dr.Whiting is very good at explaining problems he saw with my teeth and outline options for addressing those problems.

Jennifer Harper

Cathy Batton is an amazing hygienist and is so gentle but very thorough. She is very kind, and I am always happy to see her when I go to the dentist! She makes going to the dentist more fun!

Sandy Miller

I love Cathy!! She does a great job and is always very personable and professional. Give her a raise!! 😊 Everyone at Smiles for Life is great! If you’re looking for a dentist, I would highly recommend them.

Adam Harper

As always, my dental hygienist was amazing! Kathy has always done a great job and she is so very pleasant! I enjoy talking with her and she is extremely gentle when it comes to cleaning my teeth! Thanks for everything Kathy!

Sergen Keles

I recently visited this place and was extremely impressed. The staff was friendly, the clinic clean, and the appointment was punctual. Dr. Dan Whiting provided professional, gentle care, and explained everything clearly. Highly recommend!

Regina Pierce

Cathy Batton has been my hygienist since I (Dean) started at this practice and she is absolutely the best! Very gentle and caring! This group has brought me a long way from where I started! Thank you Cathy! The ladies at the desk (Jodie, Tara) thank you for keeping me in check! All of the people at this practice are great!

Chimdindu Ojibe

I had the best experience here. Every one was so nice to me and I felt very comfortable throughout my appointment. The doctor and all the staff were very friendly. They even gave me a free scan which was so nice of them. If you’re looking for a new dentist I 100% recommend Smiles for Life.

Clinton Huntley

Great Dentist!!!! VERY Professional, Polite, and most of all more worried about my condition and understanding my circumstances and and my opinion on what I believe should be done… will definitely recommend him to everyone thank you once again for everything I greatly appreciate you and all your staff!!!

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