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The Lifeguard of Swimmer’s Teeth

The Lifeguard of Swimmer’s Teeth
by Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S.

Read The Lifeguard of Swimmer’s Teeth by Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S. to learn more about Grove Smiles® Dentistry and our Dentistry office in Coconut Grove, FL.

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At times we have all felt sensitivity in our teeth, but have your teeth ever felt super sensitive after swimming at the pool? If so, that is no coincidence, but it can take quite a lot of swimming before the actual effects become noticeable.

Now, if you are wondering why the water in swimming pools could damages teeth, read on.

The Question of Chlorine

That is right: the same chemical that kills many germs that love to swim in that freshwater pool can also be pretty hard on our teeth if the pool’s pH isn’t carefully regulated. The proper pH for pool water is 7.2-7.8, but it can quickly become acidic because of the chlorine. When this happens, your teeth are susceptible to swimmer’s calculus.

What is Swimmer’s Calculus?

Swimmer’s Calculus is not the name of an underwater math class; it is what happens to tooth enamel after prolonged exposure to acidic chlorine ions.

Acid, like the diluted hydrochloric acid that forms in pools with chlorine, will erode more tooth enamel the longer we swim. This prolonged exposure can lead to the “swimmer’s calculus,” or yellow and brown stains on our teeth. Plus, it can also make our teeth extra sensitive after swimming due to the erosion of the enamel, which exposes the more vulnerable dentin underneath.

Not Just Pools – Let’s Head To The Sea!

Maybe you are not a huge fan of the public or freshwater pool, but you love snorkeling and diving in natural bodies of water. While you probably will not have to worry about swimmer’s calculus, these activities come with their own set of tooth-threatening problems.

The Tooth Pressure of Scuba Diving

If you have ever felt the water pressure in your ears when you dive or swim at the bottom of the deep end of the pool, imagine the pressure you on your teeth when you scuba dive.

When diving, the tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to the pressure. This tooth pressure is referred to as Barodontalgia. This pressure can cause significant tooth pain, and it can even fracture teeth. Due to the seriousness, aim for excellent prevention by making a visit to the dentist a priority before the diving season begins.

A Dental Sea Challenge: Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

Most divers know the inconvenience of the mouthpiece design, but you might not know all the specific ways it is bad for your teeth.

The mouthpiece shape has often been described as “one size fits none” because it’s too small and really does not fit most divers’ teeth. Despite the less-than-ideal size and shape, we still have to grip it between our teeth the entire time we dive.

Clenching our jaws for so long, especially when the pressure is mostly on the front teeth, can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. So if you are a frequent diver, our best recommendation is to get a custom-fitted molded mouthpiece.

Our Dental Health Ring

This summer and every summer, all of us at Grove Smiles Dentistry in Coconut Grove, FL, want to make sure that you and your family are enjoying your favorite water activities without the added fear of the health of your teeth.

So please schedule an appointment today or ask us at your next visit how we can develop the best plan to help you avoid these common underwater tooth problems.

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For Your Health,

Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S.

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Grove Smiles® Dentistry

Dr. Stephen J. Parr D.D.S., P.A.
2685 Bird Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Phone: 305-858-0505
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