Pool hazards to your teeth

Published: Jun. 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2012 at 1:38 PM CDT
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Children enjoy opening day at New Orleans public pool- WVUE FOX 8
Children enjoy opening day at New Orleans public pool- WVUE FOX 8

New Orleans, La. - There could be a danger to your teeth lurking in the swimming pool that you never considered.

Janice Townsend, D.DS from the LSU Health Sciences Center, says frequent swimmers could be causing damage to their teeth.

Brown deposits called "swimmers calculus" often turn up in patients who spend more than six hours a week in chemically treated pools.

Researchers found the deposits appear in as many as 58% of children who swim regularly during elementary and high school. These deposits can be removed during a professional dental cleaning.

Also, dentists have long known that swimming can damage tooth enamel, particularly if a pool isn't properly maintained. It happens when the pool's pH balance drops too low and the water becomes too acidic.

Dr. Townsend advises swimmers to proceed with caution in pools where chlorine levels seem particularly high. She suggests frequent swimmers might even want to invest in their own pH test strips to monitor the chemistry of the pool the use most often.

LSUHSC also warns that during the summer, swimming pool accidents are a leading cause of dental emergencies. Swimmers can collide underwater, bump their teeth on the side of the pool or even damage teeth in diving accidents.