We all know that 2020 has been the year of the unexpected. Everyone in the United States has been impacted one way or another by COVID-19. Most people have been affected by many businesses and establishments requiring patrons to wear a mask or face-covering. Regardless of your stance on wearing a mask, it is vital that you understand how covering the lower half of your face can negatively impact your oral health.
Dentists across the Nation are warning about oral health issues associated with the prolonged use of masks. “Mask mouth” is a new dental term that dentists are using to define negative issues in patients. Covering your mouth and nose for long periods of time impacts your breathing, causes bacteria to build up, and restricts the flow of moisture to the mouth.
A dry mouth has an increased tendency for cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Most people underestimate the importance of saliva, if they even consider it at all. Saliva is an essential component of oral health because it helps to flush the mouth of damaging bacteria that builds up throughout the day. When the mouth is dry, bacteria easily stick to the teeth and gums, causing damage quickly. Not only does a dry mouth lead to tooth decay, gum recession, and gingivitis, it also causes incredibly stinky breath.
There are things that you can do to protect yourself from mask mouth:
- Drink water. It is vital that you increase your intake of water every day. Most people do not drink enough water regularly, and when their mouths are covered for hours at a time, it is easy to forget to drink. Set a reminder on your phone to go off every 20 minutes so that you can drink water. Make it your goal to drink at least 8 oz of water every hour.
- Chew sugar-free gum. A huge benefit of chewing gum is that it helps to keep your mouth moist. Make sure you choose sugar-free gum so that you are not coating your teeth with sugar, enticing bacteria to congregate inside your mouth.
- Remove your mask frequently. It is essential that you breathe in fresh air through your nose. Wearing a mask causes most people to breathe through their mouths, which leads to dry mouth and its adverse effects.
- Brush your teeth frequently. You will need to take extra precautions with your oral hygiene. Step up your toothbrushing game by brushing after every meal, snack, or beverage that you drink other than water.
At Juban Cowen Dental, we know that this year has brought in new challenges. We are here to help you maintain your oral health. Contact us today.