In order to keep your teeth nice and white, you may have been advised to avoid smoking, cut down on fizzy drinks, and limit the amount of red wine and coffee you drink. While all this is good advice, there could be one area of your life which is causing damage to your teeth: swimming. While swimming is considered a great form of cardiovascular exercise, providing a wide range of benefits to the body such as increased endurance, greater lug capacity and reduced levels of stress, it can also lead to swimmer's calculus, a condition which can cause serious damage to your teeth. Below are the answers to some common questions about swimmers calculus.

What is swimmer's calculus?

Swimmers calculus occurs when a brown residue builds up on your teeth. This is caused by the chlorine in the pool water. Chlorine, which is an anti-bacterial agent, is commonly added to many swimming pools to help to keep the water clean. If you regularly swim in a chlorinated pool, the regular exposure to the chemical could result in calculus forming on your teeth.

How does swimmer's calculus occur?

When swimming in a pool, you will inevitably get some of the chlorinated pool water in your mouth. When the chlorine in the pool water mixes with the proteins which are contained within the saliva in your mouth, it lowers the pH of your saliva. This increases the acidity of your saliva and prevents it from protecting your teeth. This changed chemical state of your saliva results in increased levels of tooth decay and the formation of a brown residue on your teeth. Over time, if you do not receive treatment or take preventative measures, the condition will worsen.

How can swimmer's calculus be prevented?

An easy solution is to ensure that your wash your mouth out using a bottle of water immediately after you have finished your swim session. This will help to normalise the pH level of your saliva which will help to reduce the damage to your teeth and the buildup of the brown residue. You should also have your teeth regularly checked by a dentist, who will be able to carry out any necessary cleaning. They may also recommend cosmetic dentistry such as tooth whitening to help to restore your smile. If you have any concerns about the impact of swimming on your dental health, contact your family dentist today for advice and treatment.