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How Do Swimming and Diving Affect Teeth?

“SWIMMER’S CALCULUS” SOUNDS more like advanced mathematics than anything to do with teeth, but it’s actually the term for yellow or brown stains a swimmer can develop on their teeth after prolonged exposure to acidic chlorine ions in pool water. Tooth enamel is so vulnerable to acid that even mildly acidic pool water can increase the risk of stains.

Tooth Squeeze for Scuba Divers

For those who prefer scuba diving over swimming pools, the dental health risk is barodontalgia or “tooth squeeze.” The same way pressure builds in our ears when we dive, it can also build inside teeth, particularly any with untreated cavities or faulty dental work. If the pressure grows enough, it can even fracture the tooth. We recommend pre-diving dental visits to make sure no teeth are vulnerable.

Diving Masks: One Size Fits…None?

A common diving problem is that the so-called “one size fits all” mouthpieces don’t seem to fit anyone well, forcing divers to clench down on the mouthpiece to keep it in place. This puts a lot of strain on the jaws, potentially contributing to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). To anyone who dives multiple times a year, we recommend investing in a custom-fitted mouthpiece.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical