Wearing a facemask is the best thing you can do to combat the spread of COVID-19 and help protect yourself and others, but there are a few oral issues that can arise from long periods of wearing a mask. Therefore, while you need to keep wearing your facemask, you should pay attention to the development of any new oral issues and immediately book a visit with your dentist if you think that one of the following may apply to you.
Face Masks Are Effective
COVID-19 trends are finally moving down across the US, and one large reason is that face masks are helping curb the spread. It is impossible to trace the millions of droplets that are released each time you breathe or open your mouth, which is why face masks are so important.
The Development of Mask Mouth
Believe it or not, you may have something called Mask Mouth by dentists. In fact, it is so prevalent that dentists now look for signs of it during regular dental check-ups. Most dentists report seeing it in over 50% of their patients. In simple terms, Mask Mouth is a term that describes problems associated with dry mouth. People who wear masks constantly are more likely to have a dry mouth which allows viruses and bacteria to grow unbridled. Saliva acts as a barrier in your mouth, so when it’s not there a lot of problems can spring up even if you previously had good oral health.
Oral Health and Face Masks
Unfortunately, sustained Mask Mouth leads to continual issues which include:
In addition to forming a protective barrier in the mouth, saliva is responsible for flushing small food particles off of the teeth. Food particles that are left behind will eat into the enamel of the teeth eventually leading to tooth decay.
Dry mouth is very closely associated with bad breath, and to top it off you are probably not as likely to reach for gum or water when your mask is on. The result is stinky breath that just gets worse and worse throughout the day until you get home and your significant other informs you of how bad you stink.
As mentioned, without saliva your mouth is susceptible to viruses and bacteria that will eventually attack the gums leaving them sore and inflamed. If not promptly addressed eventually this will cause periodontal disease.
Inflammation that is not addressed will lead to gum disease which unfortunately is a chronic disease once it appears. Gum diseases slowly lead to the decay of bone structure and receding gums.
What Can You Do to Prevent Mouth Mask?
You may not be able to take off your mask, but there are a few things you can do to help protect your oral health.
First of all, fight the urge to breathe through your mouth and continue to breathe through your nose. Breathing through the mouth will increase dry mouth encouraging the above issues. Second, make sure that you take time to drink water throughout the day. Finally, make sure to keep your regular dental appointments and schedule a visit if you are worried you may already be experiencing any of the above issues.