2020 has brought many unexpected things that we have all had to deal with. Whether you have had to start working from home, homeschooling your children, or have learned to live with less – we have all had to adjust to changes. One major change that millions of Americans have had to learn to live with is wearing a mask when they go out in public. While wearing a mask is required to enter many places, and despite how you feel about mask-wearing, it is important to know how masks can contribute to unwanted and serious oral health issues.
“Mask mouth” is a new term used to describe certain dental issues that patients who wear a mask or face-covering are being affected by. Dentists across the Nation are reporting that even their healthiest patients are coming in for appointments and are being treated for issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and severe halitosis.
The most prominent factors linked to causing mask mouth are dehydration, mouth breathing, and dry mouth. As the mouth is continuously covered throughout the day, people are drinking even less water than before. With most Americans not getting adequate water intake before 2020, even less are drinking enough water while wearing a mask. Mouth breathing is also a problem that leads to dry mouth. The body was designed to take in approximately 80% of its oxygen through the nose. Breathing through the mouth leads to severe dryness, causing a buildup of bacteria that can result in terrible breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. All three of these factors reduce saliva production and increase bacterial buildup.
You do not want to let mask mouth ruin your smile. Here are things that you can do to help prevent the unwanted side-effects of wearing a mask.
- Set a timer on your phone or watch to remind you to drink water every 15 minutes. Your aim should be to drink at least 8oz every hour during the day.
- Chew sugar-free gum throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.
- Take your mask off frequently throughout the day. Make it a priority to step outside and remove your mask every hour so that you have the opportunity to breathe in fresh air through your nose.
- Brush your teeth as soon as you get home. You need to make sure that you are frequently brushing to remove bacteria that are coating your teeth and gum lines.
At Jefferson Dental Care, we are here for all of your oral health needs. Call us today.
Posted on behalf of Jefferson Dental Care