Study Finds Swimmers Six Times More Likely To See Stained Teeth

Muscle fatigue and swimmer’s ear are typical ailments associated with the sport of swimming no matter what one’s age. However, a recent study has found that a young swimmer’s teeth are at risk of damage with prolonged chlorine exposure.

Studying a set of athletes between the ages of 5 and 17 and comparing them to a similar set of non-swimmers, the University of Western Australia found that the swimmers were six times more likely to have stains/discoloration on their teeth.

Staining was significantly greater in swimmers (82 percent) when compared against a control group of age-matched youngsters who didn’t compete in the pool (44 percent). (Dentistry.UK)

Participants in the study completed a questionnaire that not only included questions pertaining to frequency of time in the pool but also assessed other teeth-staining factors, such as oral hygiene and diet.

‘The results showed greater cumulative time swimming was associated with greater stain intensity and that this staining was unrelated to oral hygiene or factors like diet,’ said head researcher Dr. Jilen Patel (Dentistry.UK)

Chlorine affecting one’s teeth is commonly known as ‘swimmer’s calculus.’ According to insurer Delta Dental, chlorine can deposit residue on your teeth, turning them yellow or brown after constant exposure. This condition typically only affects swimmers who spend over six hours a week in chemically treated water.

Regarding the specific WA study, Dr. Patel said, “Further research is focused on understanding the exact causes of the staining, whether it be chlorine levels, pool pH or salivary composition.

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2 years ago

Swam for 25 years. Never had a cavity. Now 55 still no cavities. Swimming?

2 years ago

Probably because non-swimmers have time to be vain and use all of those teeth whitening products to make you look like a news reporter or TV actor. Morning practice cuts into mirror time!

2 years ago

“This condition typically only affects swimmers who spend over six hours a week in chemically treated water.”

So…Michael Andrew’s teeth should be fine?

2 years ago

Chlorinated water erodes the enamel of teeth.

The tartar deposits are caused by the breakdown of salivary proteins that deposit on the teeth.

There is a hardening toothpaste and pH neutralizing rinse from a brand called Carifree that could help swimmer’s calculus. Their products were developed by a dentist. Fluoride rinses at night can also harden enamel to counter the erosion.

The dental hygienist can remove the stains and tartar but it’s better to prevent them.

2 years ago

Bri’ish swimmers especially

2 years ago

If only Mark Spitz had followed through with the dentistry thing, he might have found a solution to this.

2 years ago

My daughter was always embarrassed by her (yellow) teeth throughout high school. We questioned her dentist why her teeth so discolored / brushed 2x day etc. Dentist asked if she was a swimmer – well there you go. Once we learned it was from the chlorine – she would visit the dentist 4 x a year -and it really made a difference.

2 years ago

When I was a teenager I would always be asked by the dentist whether I smoked. I’ve never smoked in my life.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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