Coffee drinkers, smokers and red wine lovers all have to contend with teeth stains. Regular dental cleanings can help to keep these stains at bay. However, as crazy as it sounds, people that spend a lot of time in a swimming pool are also at risk of developing teeth stains. If you are spending a lot of time in your pool this summer, be wary of "swimmer's calculus".

Prolonged Exposure to Chlorine Stains Teeth

A common dental issue that affects professional swimmers who spend at least 6 hours a week in a chlorinated swimming pool is tooth staining. Regular swimmers may also be at risk of tooth staining, which is caused by the chlorine in the water, if their pool time amounts to 6 hours per week. All ages are affected, and this issue is mainly confined to the front teeth.

This was proven by a study in Spain that compared swimmers to non-swimming athletes. It found that over 60 percent of the swimmers had dental stains, compared to just 12.9 percent for other athletes. If you have noticed brown marks appearing on your front teeth recently, and you regularly swim in a chlorinated pool, you may be experiencing swimmer's calculus.

Swimming Pool Water Has a High pH

Don't worry. The stains are not a sign that a swimming pool is dirty. It is the additives used to keep the pool clean and germ free, combined with chlorine, that cause the stains to appear on teeth. The saliva pH of a healthy person is usually somewhere between 7.1 and 7.5. The pH of a swimming pool, however, is often from 7.2 to 7.6. This is a small but telling difference.

If the water of a pool is even slightly more alkaline than the saliva of a swimmer, the proteins in the swimmer's saliva will begin to break down. However, because the environment is alkaline, not acidic, the proteins and minerals, such as calcium do not dissolve. Instead, they form into chalky, yellowish brown deposits on the surface of the most exposed teeth—the front teeth.

Dental Cleaning Can Help

Fortunately for professional swimmers and those frequently spending their afternoons cooling off in the pool, a simple dental cleaning can remove swimmer's calculus.

If your teeth have yellow or brown stains and you spend at least 6 hours in a swimming pool per week, swimmer's calculus could be to blame. Book an appointment with your dentist so they can remove the stains and restore your smile.