1. What is mask mouth?
2. How can you avoid mask mouth?
3. How can I stay hydrated while wearing a face mask?
At this point, we have now been wearing face masks for nearly a year, and when wearing a mask, it is entirely impossible not to smell your breath. Whether or not you admit it, many of us experience that same smell when we aren’t wearing a mask. While masks are working to keep us safe from COVID, poor oral hygiene and face masks are beginning to take a toll on oral health. The matter at hand here: mask mouth. South Lincoln Family Dentistry and our Lincoln, NE dentist have answers to your questions.
How face masks have helped save us from COVID-19
Daily, we release hundreds of respiratory droplets, reaching 20 to 500 micrometers, every time we speak. Because the transmission of COVID comes from tiny droplets, it can be challenging to tell who is infected. Not to mention asymptomatic and infected people but are not showing any symptoms.
Face masks can prevent the transmission of COVID from infected individuals by blocking respiratory droplets. Face masks work regardless of whether or not someone is asymptomatic or symptomatic. To contain the virus, the CDC has acknowledged face masks’ effectiveness. Therefore, the CDC recommends everyone uses masks.
Mask Mouth: An Emerging Concern in Dentistry
Dentists have started seeing a new trend of dental problems because of face masks. According to Dr. Rob Ramondi in an interview with New York Post, roughly 50% of their patients have been affected by the latest trend called ‘mask mouth.’ People who once had healthy gums and teeth are now displaying new dental problems. These new dental problems are not because of a lack of acceptable hygiene practices but rather because of face mask usage. But why?
The use of face masks increases dryness within the mouth, which unfortunately helps viruses and bacteria propagate (multiply). Saliva serves as a protective barrier. Also, saliva has antimicrobial components that help fight bacteria within the mouth. Even more, saliva takes part in the mucosal immune system part of our body, which aids in preventing viruses from entering directly onto the surface of our body.
A decrease in the flow of saliva within the mouth will not only create stinky breath but ultimately, it can put our overall health at risk.
Oral Health: The Impacts of Using Face Masks
Who would have thought that protective equipment we have worn for years could also be the same thing that endangers us. Nebraska Family Dentistry aims to keep every patient safe by preventing the following conditions:
Increased Tooth Decay
Due to dryness in the mouth caused by face masks, there is not adequate saliva to flush the food particles found on our teeth. Because bacteria thrive in sugar, it begins to breed from the existing food particles and causes tooth decay.
Inflammation is our immune system’s response when it begins attacking viruses and bacteria. Inflammation is never a good sign and can mean that an abundance of bacteria within our mouth is attacking our gums due to the lack of antimicrobial components found in saliva. If this persists and is left untreated, it can eventually cause periodontal disease.
Bad breath or halitosis is the result of an odor-causing bacteria that is present in the mouth. Prolonged dryness in the mouth will only exacerbate the issue. You might notice that you could experience bad breath from a dry mouth when you have been wearing a mask for an extended period.
Gum disease is considered a dental condition that is irreversible and requires care for a lifetime. It can begin with plaque buildup or a dry mouth and will slowly damage the gums and bone structure within the mouth. It starts without any pain or early warning signs and doesn’t become apparent until symptoms like inflamed and receding gums become present.
Changes in Breathing and Hydration Behaviors
Wearing a face mask makes drinking water to stay hydrated a real chore. Unfortunately, many of us tend to forget to drink water, which can be a risk factor for several health conditions.
When wearing masks, people are also more prone to mouth breathing to increase their inhalation capacity. However, when you breathe through your mouth, it only makes dry mouth much worse, leading to many dental conditions.
Nebraska Family Dentistry can help you prevent dental problems when using face masks.
We can’t afford many of the risks that chance getting us sick during a pandemic. South Lincoln Family Dentistry and Nebraska Family Dentistry seeks to ease the trend of mask mouth and keep all of their patients safe by providing the following dental services in Lincoln, NE:
- Dental cleanings: We can help reduce the plaque buildup that causes gum disease and tooth decay.
- Gum Disease Treatments: If you have already started damaging your gums, we can help prevent the bacteria from spreading further with our gum disease treatments.
- Fillings and Restorations: If bacteria has damaged your teeth, we can still help. We have many options to help you rebuild your smile.
If facemasks are now the new normal, we should consider our health a luxury. Be sure you prioritize your oral health by scheduling an appointment with us today.
Searching for the “best dentist near me” in Lincoln, NE? Look no further. At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we were recently awarded the “Best Dental Office in Lincoln” award from the Lincoln Journal Star during their 2021 virtual ceremony of Lincoln’s Choice Awards. Read reviews and see what others are saying. We’ve help hundreds of others and we’d love to help you, too!
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