In general, taking a dip in the ocean and getting a bit of water in your mouth every now and then should not pose any concerns, especially if you have a good, daily oral care routine.
In fact, salt water can be good for your teeth in small amounts. A salt water rinse is often recommended to patients after some dental surgeries or procedures, as they can help fight infections and reduce pain. People who have mouth sores or a sore throat might also find some temporary relief with salt rinses as well. A good mixture is about a half teaspoon of table salt for every cup of water. Mix well, and rinse in your mouth for about 30 seconds.
However, salt water rinses are a little different compared to natural ocean water – which contains a lot more than just salt water!
Ocean water can also carry a lot of unwanted bacteria, so we definitely do not recommend you use ocean water in place of salt water for a rinse at home. If you’re spending some time at the beach, take a small bottle of mouthwash or bring your toothbrush and paste before heading out for a meal afterwards.
Those who find themselves around water, whether it be a pool or the ocean, should take extra steps to protect their oral health.
Overexposure to chlorine in water can damage your teeth
Known as swimmer’s teeth or swimmer’s calculus, hard brown and yellow deposits can form on your teeth if you’re a swimmer who spends a handful of hours per week in a chlorine-treated pool.
Too much chlorine can also erode your enamel, causing pain from heightened sensitivity and weak teeth that will be susceptible to cracking.
Work with your dentist for the best dental care plan
If you’re an avid swimmer, surfer, scuba diver or anything that involves you being in water frequently, then the best course of action you can take is to work with your dentist. Communicate your lifestyle, habits, and schedule so that your dentist can help you create a custom dental care routine.
You may want to look into some preventative treatments, like dental sealants, which can be applied in a matter of minutes by your dentist.
And, of course, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time, and use mouthwash and floss.
Need to make a visit to a dentist? Book your appointment with Dr. Coates. He and his dental team have been servicing the families and residents of Long Beach and surrounding areas for decades, helping people just like you maintain optimum oral health, no matter your situation. Call today at 562-434-6414 or schedule an appointment online.