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Face Masks and Your Oral Health: How One is Affecting the Other

October 5, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — hillsdental @ 8:38 pm
A woman wearing a white tank top and an orange face mask

If someone asked you this time last year if a face mask would be part of your normal attire, you would have likely laughed at the idea. Little did you and the rest of the world know that these protective shields would become normalcy when leaving the house. As effective as they are at safeguarding against COVID-19, your dentist is discovering how negatively impactful they are on your oral health. From tooth decay to gum disease and even bad breath, read on to find out more about “mask mouth” and what you can do to prevent it.

What is “Mask Mouth?”

The term “mask mouth” refers to what dentists are seeing across the country these days. With the entire population wearing face masks on a daily basis to protect against COVID-19, those who have normal, healthy smiles are beginning to experience some of the most common dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, inflamed soft tissues, and bad breath.

How is this possible? The reality is that no matter the type of mask, the material used, and the lack of free-flowing air makes for an ideal location for bacteria to grow and negatively impact your oral health. Because of these masks, it makes it much more difficult for the mouth to produce adequate amounts of saliva. As a result, bacteria can grow and spread, causing halitosis (bad breath), cavities, periodontitis, and even swollen gums to appear.

What is making this reality much more difficult is that people are still fearful of visiting a dentist during this time, causing many of these problems to escalate and worsen over time. Fortunately, most dental professionals are implementing additional health and safety protocols during this time to give patients greater peace of mind while being proactive about their oral health.  

Ways to Avoid “Mask Mouth”

One of the best pieces of advice you can receive right now is to continue your dental cleanings and checkups. Yes, the threat of COVID-19 is still very much real, but so is the possibility of worsening oral health conditions. If you allow these problems to progress, you could be faced with timely and costly procedures later on, not to mention a smile that lacks confidence.

To avoid this type of situation, remember to do the following:

  • Keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing after every meal, and rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash.
  • Drink plenty of water to help keep your body flushed of toxins and stay hydrated, and keep your salivary glands working at an optimal level.
  • Take time to see your dentist on a regular basis.

By keeping up with these helpful tips, you can continue to wear your mask to better protect yourself and others without worrying about the negative effects on your smile.

About the Author
MayFair Dental Associates is the dental office of choice if you are looking for comprehensive care for the whole family. Our highly-skilled team is going above and beyond to ensure your health and safety when visiting our practice. Apart from protecting you during your appointment, we will be pleased to offer tips and suggestions on ways to combat decay, disease, and other common problems while wearing face masks to safeguard against COVID-19. For helpful recommendations to ensure your smile remains healthy during this time, call us at (248) 851-3030 or visit our website.

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