Mask Mouth
What it is, and how to avoid it.
Posted on 12/1/2019 by Covington Family Dental
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According to health experts, the evidence is clear that masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the more people wearing masks, the better. Wearing a mask is a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Also, a mask can be somewhat effective in preventing germs from getting into your nose and mouth that come from another person’s respiratory droplets. Some people who have COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms or none at all, and they can spread the coronavirus to others before they realize they have it. However, wearing a mask for an extended period can create unwanted side effects, such as MASK MOUTH.

Mask mouth describes the oral side effects from wearing a mask for an extended period of time. These side effects include dry mouth, bad breath, tooth wear and jaw joint discomfort, tooth decay as well as gum disease. Some mask wearers experience dehydration-drinking less water than usual. Dehydration leads to dry mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and bad breath. When you wear a mask, you trap more carbon dioxide in your mouth than usual. This increases your oral microbiome’s acidity, putting you more at risk for infections or inflammatory conditions such as gum disease. In addition, changes in breathing patterns can be impacted. Also, a mask can cause more rapid, shallow breaths using your mouth, chest and neck instead of your diaphragm. Breathing out of your mouth decreases salivary flow, which in turn decreases the ability to wash away food debris-defending your teeth from cavities. Keeping your mask positioned correctly over your nose and mouth can sometimes cause abnormal movement of your jaw joint, leading to temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) pain, bruxism and sore teeth. And finally, wearing a mask continually can diminish your optimum home care habits. Why brush and floss when you can’t show off the pearly whites to anyone with a smile?

Mask wearing is not going away anytime soon. Therefore, implement some of the following preventative measures. Continue to focus on superb oral care. Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss. Using an anti-microbial rinse daily (one that does not contain alcohol) can freshen your breath and fight bacteria without exacerbating dry mouth. Also, sugar free mints or gum (preferably ones containing xylitol), can help remove food debris when brushing isn’t possible. Stay hydrated! Drink water throughout the day. Limit coffee and alcohol consumption, which leads to dehydration. Limit sodas and carbonated beverages-leading you towards tooth decay. Since mask mouth can increase your chance of infection-be aware of any changes in your oral environment such as sensitivity, bleeding, and tenderness. Always, use a clean mask to prevent bacterial growth. And, wear a properly fitted mask so that your jaw can remain in a normal position avoiding further discomfort and tooth wear.

The DENTAL HYGIENIST is a key component to assist with improving or maintaining an optimum level of oral hygiene as well as help you eliminate oral side effects from mask wearing. Remember, to mask up for the safety of yourself and those you come in contact with.

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