Could scuba diving damage your teeth?

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A new study has suggested that scuba diving could damage your teeth.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo have discovered that the popular underwater pursuit could increase the risk of damage to the teeth. Vinisha Ranna, lead author, suggested that the “awkward position” of the jaw combined with the action of clenching the teeth onto the regulator presented a risk for divers, particularly inexperienced divers. The changes in pressure underwater also cause pockets to form close to the tooth roots.

Ranna, who has completed 60 dives, said that those who want to dive must meet medical requirements; however, there are no criteria related to dental health.

Researchers found that 40 percent of divers suffered from dental problems, which included jaw pain and stiffness, loose and broken restorations and damaged molars. People who had existing weaknesses were found to be particularly vulnerable to further damage. Ranna explained that the pressure underwater exacerbates pain, stating that being below the surface is the “last place you want to be with a fractured tooth.”

This is one of the first studies of its kind, as it focuses on recreational divers, rather than those who dive as part of their job. This study involved 100 divers who had participated in recreational activities whilst holidaying in the Maldives and Bahamas. Of the 100 adults surveyed, 41 reported dental symptoms.

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