Masks have become quite a controversial topic. However, health officials recommend them for limiting the spread of COVID-19 anytime you’re in a public place. Maybe, you’ve seen a commercial or read an article about mask mouth. So, is mask mouth real? It depends who you ask, but Alder Trails Dental has some suggestions for you.
There’s a chance that you might be more at risk for tooth decay when you’re wearing a mask for long periods of time. Why? You’re more likely to breathe through your mouth than your nose when you wear a mask. Ultimately, this habit causes dry mouth. Unfortunately, you need saliva to clean out your mouth. Your saliva keeps bacteria at bay and washes away the food particles that feed the bacteria. When you don’t have enough saliva, you let bacteria grow and thrive. Additionally, your saliva neutralizes acid in your mouth, which also helps prevent tooth decay.
The aforementioned problems also contribute to gum disease. All of that mouth breathing and decreased saliva in your mouth allow food particles to remain that feed the bacteria that cause gum disease. It doesn’t help that generally when people wear a mask they don’t drink as much water as they usually do. There are also indications that during the pandemic people might be drinking more coffee and alcohol which can exacerbate dehydration.
Decaying teeth and gum disease both cause bad breath. Also, since you have more bacteria and possibly decaying food in your mouth, you’re more likely to have bad breath as a result of mask wearing.
What to Do?
Wearing a mask is still a good idea to protect you and others from COVID-19 so you shouldn’t stop wearing a mask because of oral health concerns. Instead, take proactive steps to protect your oral health. First off, keep your mouth hydrated by increasing your fluid intake and limiting coffee and alcohol consumption. Try to remember to breathe through your nose when you have a mask on. Since you need to remove your mask to eat, keep it off a little longer and brush your teeth after eating. Also remember to brush or scrape your tongue.
Preventive Care in Cypress, TX
It is always beneficial to get a professional dental cleaning every six months, but possibly now more than ever due to the need for the mask. If it has been a while since your last cleaning, contact Alder Trails Dental in Cypress, TX and we’ll help you get a handle on that “mask mouth”!