Transitioning from natural teeth to full dentures requires patience and perseverance. Many of the daily activities a patient once took for granted will become more challenging, at least until they learn what works and what doesn't.
Aside from the usual challenges, such as eating and speaking with dentures, keen swimmers will also need to make some adjustments. Swimming with dentures comes with several risks.
Chlorine Gradually Degrades Dentures
Most swimming pools contain chlorine. Like general household bleach, chlorine is a powerful disinfectant that kills microorganisms. Without it, a swimming pool would quickly become a health hazard. However, while research shows that swimming can increase a person's life expectancy, the opposite is true for dentures.
Partial or full dentures that contain metal, such as those with metal bases, suffer when there is prolonged exposure to chlorine. When chlorine is added to water, it produces negatively charged ions called anions. Anions corrode the metal parts of dentures, leaving the surface pitted and discoloured. The longer they are exposed, the faster the degradation occurs.
What to Do About It
If money was no object, swimmers wouldn't have to do anything. However, because good quality dentures don't come cheap, swimmers should take precautions. If using their own pool, swimmers should place their dentures in a glass of water before getting in the pool.
At a public swimming pool, to avoid embarrassment, swimmers can simply try to keep their mouth closed as much as possible. This will reduce the time that their dentures are exposed to chlorine.
Swimming Pools Loosen Dentures
Before a denture-wearer enters a swimming pool, they should ensure that their dentures are secure. They might also need to apply a denture fixative, such as those that come as pastes or powders. Otherwise, the increased pressure and the need to open their mouth to breathe may cause their dentures to fall out whilst they are swimming.
That could be both embarrassing and time consuming, especially in a public pool as the denture-wearer would need to retrieve their dentures from the pool bottom. Before swimming, a swimmer should apply some denture adhesive to their gums and dentures. This will help to keep their dentures secure while they swim.
Just as with eating, speaking or singing in dentures, swimming may become a challenge. However, these small adjustments will help to prolong the life of a patient's dentures. Besides, with a few weeks of diligent practice, swimming in dentures, or in fact doing any of the aforementioned activities with dentures, will become second nature.