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Summer is the time for enjoying the great outdoors. However, some popular summer sports – such as swimming and softball – can expose your teeth to danger. Here are several seasonal activities that could lead to dental injuries and ways to keep your smile safe:
Frequent swimmers may be at risk for developing yellowish-brown or dark brown stains on their teeth. Those who swim more than six hours a week continually expose their teeth to chemically treated water. Pool water contains chemical additives, which give the water a higher pH than saliva. As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard, brown deposits, known as “swimmers’ calculus,” appear most frequently on the front teeth. Swimmers’ calculus can normally be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
Scuba diving can lead to jaw joint pain, gum tissue problems or “tooth squeeze”– pain in the center of the tooth. All of these symptoms are caused by the air pressure change involved in scuba diving and by divers biting too hard on their scuba air regulators. Tooth squeeze is caused by the change in air pressure, particularly if a diver has a big cavity, a temporary filling, gum disease, periodontal abscess or incomplete root canal therapy. The best way to avoid these problems is to schedule a dental visit before your scuba diving trip.
Contact sports (soccer, softball, basketball)
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), soccer players are more likely than football players to sustain a dental-related injury. Soccer is a sport where mouthguards and face masks are not mandatory, increasing the odds for mouth and face injuries. Softball, basketball and touch football involve similar risks. When participating in such sports, a custom-fit mouthguard is your best protection.