Swimming is one of the most popular summer activities. It’s a great way to cool down and have fun with friends and family. However, swimming can also affect your oral health in a number of ways. In this blog post, we will discuss the use of chlorine in swimming pools and how it can affect your oral health. We will also list and describe some of the most common oral health problems that can occur as a result of swimming. Finally, we will provide some tips for safe swimming!
Chlorine is a chemical that is used in swimming pools to kill bacteria and other contaminants. It is effective at doing this, but it can also be harsh on your skin and hair. When you swim in a pool with chlorine, you are exposed to the chemical. This exposure can cause a number of oral health problems.
One of these problems is known as swimmer’s calculus. Swimmer’s calculus is a type of tartar that forms on your teeth as a result of exposure to chlorine. The chlorine can cause the minerals in your saliva to harden and form a plaque-like substance on your teeth. This substance can be difficult to remove and can lead to tooth decay if it is not removed properly.
Tooth sensitivity is another common oral health problem that can occur as a result of swimming. When you are exposed to chlorine, the chemical can cause the enamel on your teeth to erode. This erosion can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain when you eat or drink hot or cold foods and beverages.
However, chlorine is not the only risk to your oral health. Here are a few other risks that you should be aware of while swimming:
Barodontalgia is a type of tooth pain that can occur as a result of changes in pressure. When you swim, the water around you exerts pressure on your teeth. This pressure can cause the nerves in your teeth to become irritated and inflamed, leading to pain. In most cases, this condition only occurs while scuba diving at depths that cause a significant change in pressure. Barodontalgia can be especially problematic if you have untreated tooth decay, a tooth fracture, or a faulty dental restoration, since all these can cause air pockets in your teeth that can expand or contract with changes in ambient pressure.
Oral injury is another potential oral health problem that can occur while swimming. Oral injuries are usually caused by swimming accidents or contact water sports.
Tips for Safe Swimming
Now that we’ve discussed some of the ways that swimming can affect your oral health, let’s talk about some tips for safe swimming.
Manage Chlorine Levels
First, it is important to manage the chlorine levels in your pool. You can do this by using a pool test kit to test the chlorine levels in your pool regularly. If the levels are too high, you can adjust them accordingly. 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
Second, it is important to estimate the amount of chlorine in public pools. You can do this by looking at the condition of pool linings, railings, and ladders. Highly corroded surfaces indicate highly chlorinated water that is slightly acidic. In these cases, you should minimize the amount of time spent in the water to minimize the effects of high chlorine levels.
Stay Up to Date on Dental Visits
Third, it is important to stay up to date on your dental visits. This is because your dentist can identify oral health problems that may be caused by swimming and can provide treatment accordingly.
Practice Pool Safety
Finally, it is important to practice pool safety. This includes things like not running around the pool deck, not diving into shallow water, and wearing safety gear when appropriate. By following these safety tips, you can minimize the risk of oral injury while swimming.
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 oral health problems that can arise as a result, and provided tips for safe swimming. By following these tips, you can help reduce your risk of developing oral health problems as a result of swimming. Remember, if you have any concerns about your oral health, be sure to visit your dentist for an evaluation.
Dr. Gerald Sisko graduated from Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 1987. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, and the Akron Dental Society where he is currently holding a council position. He has had the honor and distinction of being awarded “TOP DENTIST” in Akron and Cleveland as well as Northeast Ohio for the last several consecutive years.