“Although masks are an absolute necessity in fighting the spread of the pandemic, dentists have begun to see a slew of dental problems related to wearing a mask for long periods of time.”
Among the many changes Covid 19 has brought to our lives is our beloved new accessory “the mask”. Although masks are an absolute necessity in fighting the spread of the pandemic, dentists have begun to see a slew of dental problems related to wearing a mask for long periods of time. A new term “mask mouth” has been coined to describe a range of symptoms and findings.
While wearing a mask, some people experience shallow breathing and begin breathing through their mouth. This in turn results in decreased salivary production creating a problem since saliva is crucial to keeping our mouth clean, balanced in pH and essential in cavity prevention.
Wearing a mask all day has also prevented people from drinking water regularly though out the day. This dehydration is leading to dry mouth, reduced saliva, an ideal environment for bacterial growth, bad breath and higher incidence of cavities.
Some of us have simply lost the motivation to continue proper daily oral hygiene routines since social activities have reduced. However, it is important to keep in mind that brushing and flossing should be part of our care routine on a daily basis to maintain our own health.
Although reusable masks may be a more environmentally friendly alternative to disposable masks we must be very vigilant about maintaining their cleanliness. If not cleaned properly these masks can harbor bacteria creating many oral problems. Reusable masks should be washed on a daily basis.
As with all health issues, prevention is key. Visit your dentist for your regular checkups and cleanings to ensure that your mouth remains healthy
Here are some tips to help you prevent “mask mouth” and how to reduce many of the symptoms.
Keep smiling under those masks!