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How Swimming Affects Your Oral Health

Healthy Smiles
Mid Wilshire dentistry
Posted on: December 17, 2019

Swimming is one of the most common exercise habits that people regularly try to do. Who doesn’t love to feel refreshed during the summer months with a dive into the pool, right? Swimming improves your lung capacity, and also provides numerous strength and cardiovascular benefits. 

However, with these positive aspects come certain negative side-effects as well. This includes the damage of your oral health. Yes, swimming doesn’t just cause dry skin or eye irritation - it can deteriorate your oral health as well.

Here are some of the ways in which swimming affects our oral health:

  • Swimming pools are sanitized with chlorine in order to keep the harmful microbes away from the water. However, the addition of chlorine leads to the formation of a weak acid. If the pool’s pH level isn’t regulated, this acid can cause a condition known as swimmer’s calculus.

    This condition leads to yellow and brown stains being developed on the teeth. It also causes your teeth to become more sensitive post swimming. This is due to the enamel erosion that chlorine puts your teeth through. If the pH level isn’t kept between 7.2 and 7.8, it can highly damage your oral health.

  • We all know the importance of enamel in our teeth. It coats the surface of each tooth and protects our teeth from decay, sensitivity, and bacteria. Although it’s one of the hardest materials in our bodies, it’s not unbreakable. 

    Swimming in a pool with a low pH level can lead to the erosion of this protective enamel. The relation between enamel erosion and low pH have been a cause of study ever since the 1980s. A report even showed that 40% of the competitive swimmers face enamel erosion. All the research that has been conducted since then continues to prove that swimming does indeed lead to poor oral health.

When you start swimming, the signs of low pH can take some time to be visible on your teeth. You’ll gradually begin to witness brown spots or increased sensitivity. Therefore, if you’re planning to indulge in swimming for longer periods of time, be sure to check that the pH level of the water is safe. Be sure to visit your dentist frequently. Maintain your brushing and flossing routines daily, and you should still be able to keep your teeth away from the harmful effects of low pH levels in the pool water.

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