Swimming and Your Oral Health

kids swimmingThere’s nothing quite like hopping in a cool swimming pool during these hot summer days. It’s relaxing, it’s fun, and it’s good for you! Swimming is a summer favorite for the team at our Georgetown dental office, but there are a few things we want to warn you about when it comes to your pool water. 

The Dangers of Pool Water

Swimming pools are often sanitized using a combination of chemicals, including chlorine. This chlorine helps keep harmful bacteria from swimming around in your pool water and protects you and your family. It also plays a role in the water’s pH level. However, if proper balance isn’t maintained, your pool water could put your teeth at risk.

Pool water should be kept at a safe pH level at all times — usually between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH drops below this safe zone, it becomes acidic and can cause eyes to burn, skin to become irritated, and tooth enamel to erode.  

Acidic Water and Enamel Erosion

Enamel is the hard coating surrounding each tooth’s surface and protects teeth against bacteria, decay, and sensitivity. It’s one of the hardest materials in our bodies, but that doesn’t make it unbreakable. Enamel can erode due to a diet high in acid, brushing too hard, or yes, swimming in a pool with a low pH. Of course, those who spend a lot of time in the pool like competitive swimmers are at greater risk for this type of enamel erosion. 

This correlation between pool water with a low pH and enamel erosion dates back to the 1980’s. In fact, one study showed that nearly 40% of competitive swimmers had some level of enamel erosion. Continued research appears to support the notion that pool water may, in fact, put tooth enamel and oral health at risk. 

What to Look For

The first sign that your pool’s pH may be too low is burning eyes or irritated skin. But when it comes to your teeth, the signs may take a bit longer to show up. There are two main signs you may be suffering from pool-induced tooth problems — increased sensitivity or unexplained brown spots on your teeth, known as swimmer’s calculus. If you’re noticing signs of a dental problem, call your dentist in Georgetown as soon as possible. 

How to Keep Your Smile Safe

If you’re going to spend some time a pool this summer, make sure to test the water regularly to ensure it’s at a safe pH level. Additionally, try to keep pool water out of your mouth as much as possible. And of course, always brush and floss properly and maintain regular appointments at our Georgetown dental office.

“I have dental anxiety. Can you help me?”

anxious womanDental anxiety is nothing to joke about. Many people have had a painful or scary experience at a dental office in the past that has left them feeling stressed and downright scared of going to another dentist… even for a cleaning. At our Georgetown dental office, we never want our patients to feel uncomfortable or fearful. There are some things we can do to help ease dental anxiety…

Peaceful Surroundings

Many people have said that our office feels more like a spa than a dental office. We’ve decorated the office with soothing Thai and Balinese accents, along with live plants, to help you feel relaxed from the moment you walk through the door. Let us make you a smoothie while you relax and gaze out at the duck pond. 

Trouble Getting Numb? Consider Sedation

Some patients who have come to our Georgetown dental office from other places have told us that they developed a fear of needles, and dentists in general, because of the pain of lots of Novocaine and difficulty getting numb. We have two different options for sedation dentistry that can help to alleviate that fear.

  • Oral Conscious Sedation this is sometimes called pill sedation. We’ll give you an oral medication to calm you and take the edge off of your worries. You’ll still be fully awake, but much more relaxed. 
  • Inhalation Sedation – which is often called “laughing gas.” A combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen is inhaled through a mask to help you relax. Again, you’re not going to be put to sleep. You’ll be able to ask questions and be fully alert, but without the tension or nervousness.

Talk To Us

Oftentimes there’s something simple that we can do during a procedure or cleaning to help you relax. Maybe you’d like to listen to your favorite tunes, or wear sunglasses so that the light isn’t so bright. Or perhaps you’d like a big, soft blanket on your lap, or a friend to be sitting in the room for moral support. We are here to help you have the healthiest, most confident smile possible, so if there’s something that we can do to help, please just ask!

We hope that we’ve eased some of your fears or nervousness about going to the dentist. If you haven’t been to a dentist in a long time, don’t worry. Give our dental office in Georgetown a call, and we’ll work together to get your smile back in shape.