Mask Mouth - Side Effect of Living in a Pandemic
Wearing a mask is currently recommended to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Everyone has their own opinion about wearing a mask. Some people feel safer with one on. Others find them uncomfortable. Either way, it is important to understand how wearing a mask affects oral health.
Do Masks Make Your Breath Smell Bad?
In recent weeks, we’ve had patients bring up the sensitive subject of bad breath. Being able to smell your breath is normal when you wear a mask. Noticing that your breath is less than fresh is unsettling. This is a sign that something might be wrong with your oral health.
Several dental conditions can cause bad breath. These include cavities and gum disease. Foul breath that occurs on multiple occasions is something to mention to your dentist.
Who Is At Risk of Getting Mask Mouth?
A quick trip to the grocery store is not likely to cause problems with your teeth. The risk goes up the longer you wear your mask. People who work in positions that require them to wear a mask for several hours a day are more likely to notice the signs of mask mouth. Children who are returning to school can also develop symptoms.
What Are the Signs of Mask Mouth?
The most obvious sign of mask mouth is bad breath. This can signify gum disease. It can also provide a clue that your mouth is getting dry. If your mouth dries out, bacterial populations can grow. Your dentist may also notice increased decay and gum inflammation. Treating these issues early on prevents them from getting worse.
How Do You Prevent Dental Issues From Wearing a Mask?
In many cases, you don’t have a choice about wearing a mask. Fortunately, a few simple changes can reduce your chances of getting mask mouth. Since dryness is the biggest contributor to problems, focus on staying hydrated.
Sipping water throughout the day reduces bacterial growth in your mouth. It is also important to continue taking care of your teeth. No one may be able to see your smile with the mask on, but food that gets caught in your teeth leads to decay.
We also recommend breathing through your nose as much as possible. Some people automatically switch to mouth breathing with a mask on. This dries out your mouth. Try to stay aware of how you are breathing. It gets easier to breathe through your nose with a mask on over time.
Is It Safe to Go for a Checkup?
Bad breath or increased mouth dryness are important things to follow up on. Regular exams also help to catch early problems that occur from wearing a mask. Tooth decay is easier to treat when it is caught in the early stages. Gum inflammation can even be reversed so that it does not lead to more serious disease.
We wear masks with all of our patients. We also follow all of the protocols for safely treating patients during the pandemic. Don’t let wearing a mask ruin your teeth. Simple actions go a long way toward helping you keep healthy teeth when you have to wear one.
Shumway Dental Care is accepting new patients and would love to be your Chandler dentist. Call our office today for an appointment. We look forward to meeting you!