Since the outbreak of the coronavirus and the need for people to wear masks, dentists are discovering new oral health problems. Dentists have dubbed this new condition “mask mouth.” Let’s look at the symptoms and ways to prevent it.
Mask Mouth Symptoms
The main culprit for most of these symptoms is dry mouth. Wearing a mask causes more dry mouth for a number of reasons. People tend to breathe more through their mouth while wearing a mask which leads to decreased saliva. Additionally, we are drinking less water because we are wearing our masks more.
Saliva helps fight cavity causing bacteria by neutralizing acids in the mouth. When we have decreased salivary flow, our saliva does not help us in this way. Therefore, we are more prone to decay.
Saliva also helps naturally rinse away bacteria that cause gum disease. When our mouths are dry, bacteria stick to our teeth more easily, and therefore, causes gum disease.
The presence of bacteria in the mouth causes halitosis, or bad breath. People are more aware of their own bad breath while wearing a mask because they are smelling their breath more easily. Fortunately, this prompts people to contact their dentist about potential problems. Unfortunately, by the time patients reach out, the bacteria have already caused problems.
Mask Mouth Prevention
Increase water consumption
The best way to manage dry mouth is to drink plenty of water. While this does not help with salivary flow, it helps treat dry mouth itself.
Decrease caffeine intake
One side effect of too much caffeine is dry mouth.
Adding moisture to the air helps with dry mouth. Sleeping with a humidifier will help relieve dry mouth during the time of day our mouths are the driest.
Use alcohol free mouthwash
Alcohol can dry out our mouths. Try switching to an alcohol-free rinse, especially if you are prone to dry mouth.
Breathe through your nose!
The staff at Adams and Cheek Dentistry is committed to your health and safety. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about our new protocols or to schedule your next appointment! You may click here to reach us online or call us at 919.866.1360.