Dental Care for Frequent Swimmers

If you spend more than six hours per week at the swimming pool, chances are you are at increased risk for tooth damage due to prolonged exposure to chlorine. The chlorine found in so many swimming pools can actually cause tooth sensitivity, as the chloric acid in the pools forms teeth-harming hydrochloric acid. In addition, high chlorine content in the pool can lead to dental erosion. You might even find after frequent, prolonged periods of swimming that your teeth form hard, yellowish-brown deposits on the surfaces, especially on your two front teeth.

None of these prospects makes for an attractive summer smile, of course. Here are some dental care practices that you can follow to help keep your teeth and gums healthy even as an avid swimmer.

Keep your mouth closed.

One of the simplest things you can do is to simply close your mouth while you are swimming, especially underwater. This will help eliminate the exposure of pool water to your teeth.

Visit the dentist.

It’s never a bad idea, of course, to visit the dentist more frequently if you are a swimmer who encounters regular tooth problems due to chlorine exposure. One thing that you can have your dentist do is apply a protective fluoride treatment, in addition to scraping away any mineral deposits (“swimmer’s calculus”) on your teeth.

Drink plenty of water.

“Water” doesn’t mean pool water, of course; it means clean drinking water. Whenever you plan on spending prolonged periods swimming in the pool, be sure to have plenty of water nearby and to regularly sip it, swishing it around in your mouth before swallowing. This will help dilute the effects of the pool water.

Brush regularly.

If you’re not already brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, now is the time to start! Regularly brushing your teeth, especially before swimming to remove plaque, will help prevent mineral deposits from forming on your teeth.

Maintain your pool accordingly.

If you happen to have a residential pool, one way to further keep tooth damage at bay is to ensure that you are maintaining your pool accordingly. Ensure that you are not adding too much chlorine to your pool water, and always keep you pool at a pH between 7.4 and 7.6. You can also check with your local pool to ensure that they are maintaining their pool properly.

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