The Coronavirus pandemic has helped to coin a litany of new words and phrases; from social distancing to putting on the COVID-19, there’s a new expression for almost everything related to the virus.
One expression that many dentists hear now is ‘mask mouth’. The phrase refers to a range of symptoms associated with wearing a face mask around your mouth for long periods. It’s not an official diagnosis, but it’s become a common phrase used to describe the rise in dental problems that have resulted from increased mask-wearing.
The rules about wearing a mask vary throughout South Carolina. However, in general, you should try to wear a mask as much as possible when out in public to protect the most vulnerable members of your local community. While wearing a mask is crucial for public safety, you also need to make sure that you keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy.
The team at Pleasant Family Dentistry is committed to helping the citizens of Mount Pleasant to live safely and maintain excellent oral health. To help anyone who’s suffering from mask mouth, or is unsure about what it is, we’ve written this guide. We’ll explain what mask mouth is, and offer you practical ways to prevent it.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mask Mouth?
Mask mouth is a general expression that covers a selection of symptoms. These include:
- Sour breath
- Receding gums
- A dry mouth
- Tooth decay
Mask wearers might experience one or more of these symptoms, especially if they spend a lot of time wearing their masks.
What Causes Mask Mouth?
Mask mouth is caused by wearing a mask for a lot of time, as keeping your mouth closed behind a cloth mask, and breathing through your mouth more than your nose, can dry out your mouth. As your mouth becomes dry, your breath starts to smell, and your teeth suffer.
Saliva is vital to maintaining fantastic oral health, so if you get a dry mouth, then you might find that your teeth get damaged. The symptoms of mask mouth aren’t dangerous on their own, but when taken together, they can cause lasting damage.
How Can You Prevent Mask Mouth?
There are many practical ways that you can try to prevent mask mouth, but one of the most effective is to reduce the amount of time you spend wearing a mask. That means going out less, avoiding contact with other people who aren’t members of your household, and working from home if possible. If you’re not wearing your mask, then you’ll dramatically reduce your chances of getting mask mouth, although you still need to take care of your teeth.
If you can’t avoid wearing a mask, then you should try to take regular breaks and get some fresh air during the day. When you don’t have to wear your mask, take it off and breathe in the fresh air, to refresh your mouth. Wearing a mask isn’t necessary if you’re outside and far away from other people, so you should take your mask off on your journey too and from your destination.
This approach will help you to keep your mouth moist and improve the flow of saliva. It would be best if you also tried to drink water throughout the day so that your mouth produces more saliva. Avoid drinking lots of sugary drinks, such as juice or soda, as they can cause even more tooth decay.
Improving your oral hygiene routine will help you to deal with any symptoms that you might notice. Try to brush your teeth more often, and floss your teeth after every meal. Make sure that your teeth are clean by visiting your dentist and getting a professional clean. Also, use a quality toothpaste and consider investing in an electric toothbrush.
As well as improving the cleanliness of your teeth, it would help if you also kept your mask clean. Wearing a dirty mask is worse than wearing a clean one, as you’ll spread more bacteria. Also, a dirty mask will hoard bacteria and food particles, which you might then breathe back into your mouth. Wash your mask regularly, and if you have to wear one at work then consider carrying a spare, so that you always have a clean mask close at hand.
Avoid Short-Term Fixes
Bad breath is one of the most noticeable symptoms of mask mouth, and so it’s easy to think that merely making your breath smell better will fix the problem. However, short-term solutions, such as breath mints and mouthwash, can do more harm than good.
Instead of using these solutions, try to use the above techniques to keep your mouth clean and reduce the impact that your mask has on your oral health.
If In Doubt, Consult The Experts
If you get significant problems with your teeth or mouth, then you need to visit the dentist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could cause the problem to get worse, so reach out to your dentist if you find that the problem isn’t going away or is getting worse.
A professional dentist, such as a member of our staff, can help you to understand the problem and provide you with practical solutions. If the issue is more severe or isn’t solely due to your mask, then they can help you to solve it. We can help with everything from cavity detection through to root canals and more. If you’re uncomfortable visiting the dentist, then don’t put it off. Our friendly staff can support you through every stage of the process, and if necessary, offer sedation dentistry to ensure that you get the treatment you need.
The team at Pleasant Family Dentistry is working tirelessly to support our patients during this tough time. We’re an essential business, so we’re here to help if you get mask mouth or any other dental issues. Contact us to book an appointment before you visit our practice, so that we can keep you, our staff, and our fellow patients safe.