How Can You Prevent And Treat Swimmer's Calculus?

Swimming has a ton of health benefits since it's a total-body workout that doesn't strain the joints. However, if you or a family member swims frequently each week, one condition you should be aware of is swimmer's calculus. Calculus is hardened dental plaque that's mainly composed of saliva, bacteria, and mineral deposits.

Swimmer's calculus occurs when chlorine that's used in swimming pools leaves residue on teeth. Swimmer's calculus can cause tooth stains and even lead to enamel erosion. Read on to learn more about this condition and how dental cleanings can help you manage it.

Why Does This Happen?

The University of Western Australia reported a study that found that the more time a person swam each week, the more likely it was that they would experience chlorine staining. So if you only visit the pool a few times a year, then you shouldn't have to worry about swimmer's calculus.

Increased swimming duration isn't the only cause of this calculus; another study found that unbalanced pool chemicals—like those with a low pH—can damage hydroxyapatite, which is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up teeth.

What are the Symptoms of Swimmer's Calculus?  

If your teeth have been damaged by pool chemicals, you may notice white or brown discoloration. The anterior teeth are mainly affected; the incisal edges may look worn or transparent. If erosion has occurred, you may notice sensitivity when eating cold or hot foods.

How Can You Prevent and Treat it?

If you have a pool, you should follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding the chemical balance and use pool pH strips each week before swimming. If you are traveling and visiting a hotel or public pool, take a quick look at the pool railings and liners; when the chemical balance is off, you may notice discoloration or erosion on those elements, which means that the pool water can also affect your teeth.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent and treat swimmer's calculus is to go to the dentist for regular cleanings. Once plaque has hardened into calculus, it cannot be removed by a toothbrush alone; a dentist can use both ultrasonic and manual scalers to remove this tartar. You may want to schedule a dental cleaning before the start of a swim season, as fluoride treatments can provide a protective barrier against calculus. If you don't get fluorinated water, then your dentist might prescribe fluoride tablets and/or fluorinated toothpaste.

Reach out to a dentist clinic in your area such as Family Dentistry Of Woodstock today to learn more.