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It’s February, and if you were one of those who made exercise a part of your New Year’s resolution, congratulations! We applaud your healthy resolutions. But if you chose swimming in a pool–indoor or outdoor, at the gym or your own backyard–as your exercise of choice, there are some things you should know to protect your smile.

There are many different things that could harm your smile and alter your oral health while you’re enjoying yourself in the water. If you’re not careful, you could experience one or more of the following issues:

Swimmer’s calculus: If your teeth are exposed to chlorinated water for a long amount of time, you could suffer from swimmer’s calculus. This occurs when the chlorine deposits residue on your teeth, which can turn the teeth yellow or even brown. This problem can occur if you are in chlorinated water for over six hours in a week.

Tooth sensitivity: If a pool is improperly chlorinated, there is a chance it could result in sensitive teeth. The chlorine can wear away your tooth enamel and make your teeth brittle and sensitive.

Mouth injuries: Many mouth injuries can occur at the pool, especially if you’re running on the slippery concrete next to the water. If you fall, there is a chance you can hit your mouth and injure your teeth and jaws. So, please don’t run at the pool. Also, if you play contact water sports, like water polo and volleyball, there is a chance a hard object can hit your mouth and cause an injury. It’s best to protect your smile with a mouthguard.

Lost dental appliances: If you have a dental appliance in your mouth, like dentures or a retainer, it’s best to take it out of your mouth before you get into the pool. This will help you reduce your chances of losing your appliance in the water. In addition, it can also reduce your chances of ruining or damaging it.

As you can see, your smile could be in danger while you’re at the pool. So, it’s important to take good care of your teeth, gums, and appliances at all times. If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more about how to maintain a healthy smile while you’re swimming in Sonoma, California, please call Lisa Halliday, DMD & Tom Halliday, DDS at 707-996-6704. Dr. Lisa Halliday and our dental team are happy to help you!