Many of us have been wearing face masks in public for the better part of a year now. They’ve definitely been proven effective at curbing the spread of COVID-19 by blocking infected respiratory particles. However, you may have noticed that they don’t exactly freshen your breath. In fact, your dentist is seeing an increase in oral health issues as a result of “mask mouth.” Keep reading to learn what these problems are and how you can prevent them.
The Problems Caused by “Mask Mouth”
Wearing a face mask dries out your mouth. This is because you’re more likely to breath out of your mouth and less likely to drink water while wearing one. Not only does an inadequate supply of saliva make your breath stink, but it can worsen your oral health.
Saliva rinses leftover food debris off of your teeth. When these particles linger, oral bacteria feed on them and produce acidic waste that erodes your tooth enamel. This is what causes cavities.
Dry mouth also increases your risk of gum disease. Saliva contains antimicrobial agents that can reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth. When you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria are more likely to irritate your gums. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to gum disease. While it begins with mild inflammation, gum disease can quickly progress to the point that your teeth loosen or even fall out.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize these oral health risks while avoiding infection.
How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy During the Pandemic
Here are some tips for avoiding mask mouth:
- Breathe through your nose. It can feel easier to breathe through your mouth when you’re wearing a mask, but doing so rapidly dries out your mouth.
- Drink plenty of water. Pulling your mask down to sip water every few minutes might feel like a chore, but it will keep your mouth hydrated enough to reduce dangerous bacteria.
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush and floss every single day. Also, don’t forget to attend your routine dental cleanings at least twice a year.
Face masks are probably not going to go away anytime soon. As you adapt to wearing them everywhere you go, you should also get in the habit of watching out for your oral health.
About the Practice
At Comprehensive Dental, our friendly and skilled dentists prioritize the comfort of our patients. That’s why we are taking more than 30 additional safety protocols to ensure you’re as safe as possible while under our care. You’ll be able to get your oral health needs met without worrying about the risk of infection. To learn more about keeping your mouth healthy during these times, contact us at 973-633-5666.