Is swimming staining your child’s teeth?

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group of people swimming

Did you know that the brown staining on your child’s front teeth can actually be caused by the swimming pool? Most parents are surprised to hear this.

This staining can happen when teeth are exposed to chlorinated water for extended periods of time. For example, it’s more likely when a swimmer spends more than six hours a week in a chlorinated pool but can occur in less than three. This is because chlorine and other chemicals in the water can cause salivary proteins to break down, causing deposits on our teeth.

Here are some simple tips to help reduce staining:

  • Have fresh water close by. Did you know you can become dehydrated while swimming? Freshwater will keep you hydrated and help remove any residual chlorine that may be left in your mouth after your swim.
  • Regular dental checkups – If you or your child is an avid swimmer, it is recommended to get regular checkups to help prevent and remove the staining.
  • Practice good oral hygiene – By practicing good oral hygiene, you have a greater change of reducing the risk of staining. This can include: Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. You can also do this before going swimming. This can help reduce any plaque but also the fluoride can help protect your teeth while swimming.
  • Don’t brush your teeth directly after a swim because the enamel may be softened and this can cause more damage to your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with regular plain water or fluoride mouthwash to bring the pH in your mouth back to neutral.

While the staining doesn’t look very nice, it is unlikely to have any long term problems and the good news is that we can clean it off relatively easily.

There are some other causes for teeth staining (such as coffee and tea), but Singapore’s climate makes swimming a likely culprit, especially in children.

Singapore Dentist

Dr Jonathan Luke trained in Otago, New Zealand. He has worked in both public and private clinics in New Zealand and Singapore. He has been a member of the Smile Focus team since 2019. With an interest in digital dentistry as well as conservative and aesthetic procedures, Dr Luke enjoys caring for all your dental needs with an up to date approach to treatment.

For appointments or further information please contact us.