HomeOral HealthFrequent Swimmer? Your Oral Well being Could also be Grimmer

    Frequent Swimmer? Your Oral Well being Could also be Grimmer


    Just a few months in the past, a affected person of mine sat down and proudly knowledgeable me she had “swimmer’s mouth.” It was the primary time I had ever heard that time period, however having solely been working towards dental hygiene for 3 years, I assumed it was one thing I had maybe missed whereas at school. Upon additional inquiry, I found that not one in every of my dental hygiene colleagues had heard of “swimmer’s mouth” both. Traditionally, this affected person has all the time had bigger than traditional calculus deposits in her mouth regardless of her diligent dental hygiene routine at house. As an answer, we had created a remedy plan to see her on a 3-month recall to evaluate her plaque ranges then, however on the recall go to she nonetheless had the identical heavy deposits positioned round her anterior tooth. When she was complaining about her excessive plaque ranges within the locker room, her swimming coach instructed her to not fear – it was one thing all swimmers acquired and was known as “swimmers mouth.” In line with her swimming coach, irrespective of how typically she brushes and flosses, she’s going to all the time get plaque. In her chart, I famous a number of occasions about her aggressive swimming however at no level was this truth linked to her higher-than-usual ranges of calculus. This complete interplay piqued my curiosity and led me to analysis the phenomenon.

    Swimming is without doubt one of the high advisable actions for all ages as a result of it’s a low impression train and simpler on the bones and joints.1 In line with the CDC, an individual who swims simply 2.5 hours per week has about half the chance of loss of life in comparison with inactive individuals.2 Though swimming has many confirmed advantages, it might probably additionally negatively impression oral well being due to the ingestion of pool water. In 2017, a examine showcased that swimmers, on common, ingest 32mL of water per hour.3 That is about 5 cups of water in a single hour simply from swimming. Ingesting water is kind of wholesome and likewise helpful for the oral setting; sadly, pool water comprises chlorine and it’s the chlorine chemical response that results in elevated plaque ranges within the oral setting.

    Calculus is fashioned when the pH in an individual’s mouth drops beneath 7.0.4 When the pH of an individual’s mouth begins to decrease even additional, to round 5.5, laborious deposits begin to crystalize5 as a result of micro organism thrive in an acidic setting. These crystallizations change into tartar or calculus. In North America, all swimming pools are required to comprise chlorine, a harsh chemical used to disinfect them. Chlorine is chosen due to its affordability and effectiveness. The pH of the pool will rise and decrease relying on the degrees or forms of chlorine used. That is when swimming can change into a menace to the oral setting. The decrease the pH degree of the pool, the simpler the chlorine and the cleaner the pool. A correctly maintained pool sometimes has a pH of seven.4, which is greater than the same old pH of saliva. That is the place the issue lies as a result of when an individual’s saliva interacts with a pool setting it causes the salivary proteins to interrupt down shortly and type the darkish brown deposit often called “swimmer’s mouth” or swimmer’s calculus.6

    As a swimmer takes a breath earlier than going below water, the anterior tooth are uncovered to the chlorinated water. The distinction between swimmer’s calculus and generic tartar is that bacterial tartar accumulates close to the gum-line whereas swimmers’ calculus accumulates within the entrance of the mouth.7 Swimmer’s calculus deposits are sometimes discovered interproximally across the anterior tooth. It accumulates the place the water passes via the tooth when swimming. Picture A is a basic case of swimmers calculus. This affected person was reported brushing 5x day by day and acquired a dental prophylaxis 4 months previous to taking this photograph.8 As you possibly can see, it seems extraordinarily much like a affected person with heavy supragingival calculus and, due to this, is usually misdiagnosed and never recognized as swimmer’s calculus. With a purpose to establish “swimmers mouth,” one ought to gauge the regularity of dental visits, location of plaque, and diligence of oral hygiene routine. If these three issues are assessed in the course of the preliminary affected person planning then it is going to be famous as swimmers calculus and might be handled as such.

    Picture A

    Rose KJ, Clifton CM. Intensive Swimming: can it have an effect on your sufferers’ smiles. The Journal of American Dental Affiliation. 1995;126:1402-1403.

    Because it’s fairly laborious to utterly keep away from opening your mouth when swimming, we will’t contemplate it a viable resolution. In 2017, a examine was carried out with swimmers utilizing a pre-fluoride resolution. The swimmers have been uncovered to closely fluorinated swimming pools for half-hour a day. The examine discovered that the swimmers handled with the fluoride remedy had elevated safety from the erosive results of chlorine.3 Although this remedy gained’t eradicate or keep away from the stains related to swimmers calculus, it does shield the tooth construction beneath the laborious calculus deposits or stains.9 Moreover, whereas some swimming coaches counsel instantly rinsing with a fluoride rinse or utilizing a fluoridated dentifrice when exiting the pool, dental hygienists don’t suggest this as a result of chlorine softens the tooth enamel, which may extra simply be brushed away if brushed instantly after being uncovered to chlorine.10 As an alternative, the objective is to decrease the pH of the mouth first, by rinsing with a fluoride rinse and even water instantly following the tip of apply.

    The objective of dental hygienists is to search out the supply of the issue and fight it with viable options. Crucial key facet of my analysis led me to grasp that to assist our sufferers who swim, we should first have the ability to establish swimmer’s calculus, which may simply be confused with a affected person who has supragingival calculus. However as soon as we acknowledge the indicators we will then deal with the affected person appropriately to save lots of the affected person’s oral setting from injury.


    1. Moore AB, Calleros C, Aboytes DB, Myers OB. An evaluation of chlorine stain and collegiate swimmers. Can J Dent Hyg. 2019 Oct 1;53(3):166-171. PMID: 33240355; PMCID: PMC7533807.
    2. Marsh PD. Microbial ecology of dental plaque and its significance in well being and illness. Adv Dent Res. 1994;8:263–71.
    3. Dufour AP, Behymer TD, Cantú R, Magnuson M, Wymer LJ. Ingestion of swimming pool water by leisure swimmers. J Water Well being. 2017
    4. Chase NL, Sui X, Blair SN. 2008. Swimming and all-cause mortality threat in contrast with operating, strolling, and sedentary habits in males. Int J of Aquatic Res and Educ. 2(3):213-23.
    5. D’ercole S, Tieri M, Martinelli D, Tripodi D. The impact of swimming on oral well being standing: Aggressive versus non-competitive athletes. J Appl Oral Sci. 2016 Mar 1;24(2):107–13.
    6. Moore AB. Chlorine Stain and the Oral Cavity [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2020 Mar 22]. Obtainable from: 2
    7. Guardian. How Does Chlorine in Swimming pools Have an effect on My Tooth? | Guardian Direct [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 22]. Obtainable from: affect-my-teeth
    8. Rose KJ, Clifton CM. Intensive Swimming: can it have an effect on your sufferers’ smiles. The Journal of American Dental Affiliation. 1995;126:1402-1403.
    9. Boonviriya S, Tannukit S, Jitpukdeebodintra S. Results of tannin-fluoride and milk- fluoride combination on human enamel erosion from inappropriately chlorinated pool water. J Oral Sci. 2017;59(3):383–90.
    10. Centerwall, BS. “Erosion of Dental Enamel Amongst Aggressive Swimmers at a Gasoline Chlorinated Swimming Pool.” Nationwide Heart for Biotechnology Info. U.S. Nationwide Library of Medication, Apr. 1986. Internet. 23 Nov. 2014.

    Concerning the Creator

    Rachael Straus (AKA The Pink Hygienist) initially is from Atlanta, GA and graduated from New York College’s Dental Hygiene Program. Apart from discovering out in regards to the newest and biggest in dental hygiene, her pursuits embody the colour pink, make-up artistry, tennis and studying.

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