We’ve been wearing face masks for months and it’s impossible not to smell your own breath. Whether you admit it or not, most of us are experiencing that stinky smell out of our protective masks. While they’re keeping us safe from COVID-19, face masks and poor oral hygiene are beginning to take a toll on our oral health today.
How face masks are saving us from COVID-19
We are releasing hundreds of respiratory droplets, reaching 20 to 500 micrometers, every time we say a single phrase. Since the transmission of the virus comes from these tiny droplets, it can be hard to tell who’s infected or not. Not to mention the asymptomatic cases who are infected but not showing any symptoms of the virus.
Face masks can prevent the transmission of the virus from the infected individuals by blocking the respiratory droplets they release, regardless if they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. In efforts to contain the virus, the CDC acknowledges the efficiency of face masks and therefore recommends everyone to use it for protection.
Mask mouth as an emerging dental concern
Dentists are seeing a trend of dental problems due to the usage of face masks. According to Dr. Rob Ramondi in an interview with New York Post, about 50% of their patients are now affected by the trend ‘mask mouth’. People who had healthy teeth and gums are now showing new dental problems and it’s not because of unhygienic practices but because of face masks.
Using face masks has increased the dryness in our mouth which helps bacteria and viruses propagate. Our saliva serves as a protective barrier and has antimicrobial components that help fight bacteria. It also takes part in the mucosal immune system of our body that prevents viruses from entering directly onto the surface of our body.
The decrease in the flow of saliva in our mouth not only breeds stinky breath but can also put our overall health in danger.
The impact of using face masks on oral health
What we thought as protective equipment may also be something that can endanger us if we’re not aware of its negative implications to our health. Fine Arts Dentistry aims to keep our patients safe by preventing the conditions below:
Increases tooth decay
Due to the dryness in the mouth caused by face masks, there is not enough saliva to flush food particles in our teeth. With bacteria thriving in the presence of sugar, they will start to breed from the food particles and cause tooth decay.
Inflammation is our immune system’s response to the attack of bacteria and viruses. It is never a good sign and can mean that the abundance of bacteria in our mouth is attacking the gums due to the lack of antimicrobial components of saliva. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease.
Halitosis or bad breath is due to the odor-causing bacteria present in our mouth and prolonged dryness in the mouth makes it worse. You may notice this when there’s a change in the smell of your breath whenever you’re wearing a facemask for hours and your mouth starts to dry up.
Gum disease is an irreversible dental condition and requires lifetime care. It can start with a dry mouth or plaque buildup and slowly damages the gums and bone structure in the mouth. It begins without early warning signs or pain and only becomes apparent when symptoms like receding and inflamed gums start to show.
Changes in drinking and breathing behaviors
Wearing a face mask makes drinking water a chore. That’s why many of us forget to hydrate often which is a risk factor for a number of health conditions.
People are also prone to breathe through their mouths while wearing a mask to increase inhalation capacity. However, doing so makes dry mouth worse and can lead to various dental conditions.
Dental professionals recommend breathing through the nose, keep drinking water, and maintain oral hygiene to avoid dry mouth and the dental problems that come with it.
Fine Arts Dentistry can help you prevent dental problems in using face masks
- Dental cleanings: We can help break down the plaque buildup in your teeth that causes tooth decay and gum disease.
- Gum disease treatments: If the bacteria has already started to damage your gums, we can prevent the bacteria from spreading with our treatments.
- Fillings and restoration: When the bacteria has started to damage your teeth, we can still fix your teeth and rebuild your smile.
If facemasks are the new normal, our health is the new luxury. Prioritize your oral health by scheduling an appointment with us now.