125 W. Wisconsin Ave. • Suite 102 • Pewaukee, WI 53072 • 262.737.4004

Is Pool Time Ruining Your Teeth?

Swimming is one of the best calorie-burning activities there is. Not only is it a great workout, but it can also be incredibly refreshing and even relaxing on a hot summer day. For some, a love of swimming develops early in life and carries over into adulthood. And while most swimmers are aware of the effects of chlorinated water on their hair and skin, very few realize the damage the chemically treated water can do to their teeth. Pools that are not maintained with balanced pH levels can cause problems for those who swim on a regular basis.  

In 2013, researchers studied competitive and recreational swimmers at a swimming club in Poland and found that 26 percent of the competitive swimmers and 10 percent of the recreational swimmers suffered from dental erosion.

When the pH levels in a pool drop too low, creating an acidic environment, the water can irritate skin and can even stain the teeth, said Dr. Bryan Schwartz, DDS, of Whole Health Biomimetic and Biological Family Dentistry in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

"Chemical deposits on the teeth can cause brown stains known as swimmer’s calculus," he said. "Pools with high chlorine content can also cause decay and erosion of the enamel, which can lead to sensitivity among other problems."

Dental researchers at the Paffenbarger Research Center in Maine studied 156 swimmers ranging in age from 6 to 18. These swimmers spent significant time in the pool, and 58 percent of them were found to have swimmer’s calculus stains on their teeth.

Here are a few ways you can help keep teeth healthy while enjoying a daily swim:

Check the Water

If you own a pool, proper maintenance is key. If the process is overwhelming, pool companies offer services to clean and maintain proper levels of chemicals in the pool to be sure it stays safe and clean at all times. If you choose to do it yourself, be sure to keep testing strips handy and conduct regular water tests. Experts recommend keeping pH levels between 7.2 and 7.8.

Close Your Mouth

Keeping as much water out of your mouth as possible can be a big help. It’s also important to teach children to close their mouths while swimming to not only avoid swallowing water, but also to keep their teeth protected.

Go to the Dentist More

If you swim several times a week for exercise or your children are competitive swimmers, it’s a good idea to increase your number of regular dental exams and cleanings. If the brown stains common in swimmer’s calculus appear, Schwartz can remove them with in-office treatment and help you find ways to prevent them in the future.

Bring Your Own Water

"We obviously don’t mean you have to bring enough water to fill the pool," said Schwartz, "but bringing water to drink can help you rinse out your mouth after swimming and during breaks while swimming. This can help the mouth return to healthy pH levels faster and rinse out any chemicals still in your mouth after swimming."

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

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