We know the last year has been tough. As we start to come out of the shadows of a global pandemic, many dentists are starting to see patients develop problems associated with wearing a mask for an extended period of time during the day. Here is what you need to know about how wearing a mask on a consistent basis could affect your overall oral health.
We all understand that wearing a mask is just a fact of life right now. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is paramount, especially in communities where virus transmission rates are high. However, there are a few common issues with this practice that can cause what many in the dental community now refer to as mask mouth.
This is a situation where someone who previously had healthy teeth and gums has now developed oral health problems due to constantly wearing a mask. Why? The practice has a tendency to make your mouth much dryer, which in turn makes it a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. In the end, this can lead to more issues like increased tooth decay and inflammation.
So, what oral health issues are dentists like ours at Parke & Rogers Dentistry seeing with those who wear masks for an extended part of the day? A few of the most common examples include:
Inflamed Gums: This is a key indicator that your body is fighting off infection. Your saliva acts as a disinfectant for bacteria, which it can’t do if you’re suffering from a dry mouth.
Bad Breath: Increased or prolonged dryness in the mouth can increase the amount of bacteria, which is the leading cause of halitosis.
Increased Tooth Decay: Less saliva in your mouth means less ability to wash away food particles from your teeth and gums. Instead, these little pieces of your lunch sit there, feeding bacteria that cause decay.
Gum Disease: Over time, dry mouth can cause plaque buildup that leads to gum disease. Without intervention, this could mean serious damage to your gums and even the bone structure of your mouth.
Preventing mask mouth starts with being aware of a few crucial things. If you work in an industry where wearing a mask is required, try to take a break every few hours when it is safe to do so. Also, make sure to set reminders to take sips of water to help remoisten your mouth and flush away bacteria. And, try to train yourself to breathe through your nose and not your mouth. Most people forget to do this when wearing a mask, and mouth breathing increase dryness considerably.
At Parke & Rogers Dentistry, we want to help you keep a bright and healthy smile. Whether you wear a mask for work or just haven’t been in to see us for a regular cleaning since before the pandemic, we would love to hear from you. Our team utilizes all the proper safety protocols and procedures during this trying time. Please get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.