Why Oral Health Is Vital In Scuba Diving

Diving and oral health are more related than they seem as the mouth and teeth are used in scuba diving, an underwater activity that uses a self-contained breathing apparatus called scuba.

What is a “Diver’s Mouth Syndrome”?

According to Dr. Eric Curtis of the Academy of General Dentistry, poor oral health can cause jaw joint pain, periodontal problems, and discomfort in the center of the tooth due to changing pressures while scuba diving. These conditions are clustered together in what is called “diver’s mouth syndrome” which is a common condition experienced by scuba divers but is often masquerade as another condition because its symptoms are usually headaches and face pain.

Although the mouthpiece is a crucial part of the apparatus, Curtis said it could cause problems to the teeth as it’s one size does is not a suitable fit for most people. It has not changed since its introduction in the 1940s, said Curtis, and continues to pose the same problems for most divers.

The mouthpiece grip requires divers to bite on the blocks which can eventually cause jaw joint stress and inflammation. Combined with the stress of dragging a regulator using your teeth, biting on the blocks increases the likelihood of temporomandibular jaw joint disorder which is characterized by pain in the jaw or face, headache, difficulty in mouth movements, and ringing in the ears.

Curtis recommends customizing the mouthpiece, especially for frequent drivers. However, if despite adjusting the mouthpiece TMJ is still a problem, take a break, take some medications, and apply a hot compress to the affected area. Also, talk to an expert for proper treatment and prevention of TMJ.


What is a “tooth squeeze”?

Poor oral health is also problematic when it comes to scuba diving. Air bubbles are usually released when diving. These bubbles can get trapped on the cracks and holes on the teeth and expand, leading to “tooth squeeze” or even an exploding tooth in rare cases.

A tooth squeeze can cause a toothache or a break or chip on the tooth. You can subside the pain with an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil. Still, to prevent the occurrence of tooth squeeze, getting your teeth treated for cavities, infections, chip, and the like is recommended. Dentists also advice completing the dental treatment first like a root canal procedure before scuba diving to prevent air bubbles from getting inside an unfinished dental procedure.

People wearing dentures are also cautioned to see their dentist before diving. Although they say it is safe to wear dentures, it won’t hurt to take precaution, especially with partial dentures as there is a chance of swallowing them. Same with dentures, people under orthodontic treatments like braces are also recommended to see their dentist and checked for the safety of the orthodontic device. Biting down on a mouthpiece while on braces can stress the teeth and make them tender or sore. Detachable parts of braces like springs and wires can also present a chewing hazard.

Another advice of dental experts is to always be ready for dental emergencies by bringing an emergency kit. When a dental emergency arises, make sure to see a dentist immediately.

Jump At Your Own Risk: 3 Cliff Jumping Spots To Try In Hawaii

In 2015, extreme athlete Laso Schaller set the world record for cliff jumping with a 192-foot jump from the Cascata del Salto in Switzerland which was about ten feet taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Schaller traveled at a speed of 74 miles per hour, taking only three seconds to free fall. Before the challenge, a platform was built to give the extreme athlete enough room to jump away from the rough rocks and land in a controlled area where six tanks were utilized to aerate the pool and soften the landing.

However, Schaller set a new world record with a bit of injury as he missed the aerated area and suffered an injured right leg and a dislocated right hip.

Cliff jumping or cliff diving is just like what its name suggests — jumping off a cliff. Although Youtube videos may portray the extreme activity as feasible for everybody, cliff jumping is a risky sport that requires proper training and bountiful of experience, especially when intended to be performed on very high and steep cliffs.

A fall can travel from 60 to 70 miles per hour, making sustaining injuries like bruises, sprain, fractures, concussions, and spinal damage, a possibility. In 2017, 18-year-old Luseni Traore died after jumping from a cliff at Blackwall Reach in Bicton. He was the second casualty that year at the popular cliff jumping spot following Taiwanese Eddie Chang who died earlier that year.

Despite the dangers of cliff jumping, many still dare to leap for the thrill and experience.

But, if you are a courageous soul with a proper training, the right physique, and sufficient experience, we have three cliff diving spots in Hawaii to recommend for your next jump.

According to accounts, the extreme sport traces its roots in the Aloha State when King Kahekili, a high leader of the Kingdom of Hawaii, commanded his troops to jump off a cliff on the southern end of the island of Lanai as a test of loyalty and courage.

Here are the three cliff diving spots you should check out on the island where it all began.


Waimea Falls

The Waimea Falls is located within the Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu. The falls are behind the Waimea Bay Beach and drop 45 feet into a pool.

Previously, professional divers had hourly exhibitions at Waimea Falls but were stopped in 2003.


Spitting Cave

The Spitting Cave of Portlock is tucked in a small neighborhood behind the Hanauma Bay along with a hidden coastline of sandy beaches. Aside from being a magnificent view and a reminder of the Island’s geological beginnings.

Cliffs on the Spitting Cave can drop down from around 70 feet with its ledges offering lower elevations for a possible jump.


Laie Point Cliff Jump

Remember “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”? One of its famous scenes — Mila Kunis’ cool cliff jump and Jason Segel’s well, not-so-cool hanging from the side of the cliff moment — was filmed at the Laie Point Jump.

The cliff jumping spot is located on the north shore of Oahu and drops down at 25 to 30 feet.

If you have decided to jump off a cliff, you should make sure to have sufficient training and research on the sport and the location of your jump. Also, begin with a small height and seek more thrilling heights when you have enough experience.