December 11, 2020
Over the last nine months, the novel COVID-19 virus has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, from following stay-at-home orders and practicing social distancing to wearing face masks daily. But now dental teams are beginning to realize another consequence: mask mouth. Fortunately, Dr. Owens is an expert on the matter. In fact, you might have seen him on the local news discussing this prevalent issue. Read on to learn what it is, effective prevention tactics, and how your dentist can help.
What Is Mask Mouth?
While it’s not yet an official diagnosis, “mask mouth” is the term dentists are using to refer to the unintended repercussions of wearing a face mask for extended periods of time. Although extensive research is underway on the exact causes, experts believe that diminished saliva production from drinking less water and breathing through your mouth is to blame. The combination of the two causes your mouth to become dry, your breath to smell, and your teeth to suffer. Alone, these symptoms may seem inconsequential, but together they can cause lasting damage that requires extensive restorative treatment.
7 Prevention Tactics to Implement Today
When it comes to the condition of your teeth and gums, prevention is key. To protect your oral health from the disastrous consequences of mask mouth, make sure to implement the below best practices throughout this pandemic:
- Reduce the amount of time you wear your mask by avoiding contact with people outside your household and working from home, if possible.
- If you can’t avoid wearing a mask, take regular breaks and get fresh air throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water to encourage saliva production.
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages, like candy and soda, that leave your teeth vulnerable to decay.
- Brush and floss after every meal and snack.
- Keep your mask clean.
- Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
How Your Dentist Can Help
While the above prevention tactics can do wonders for protecting your teeth and gums, they can’t heal the damage that’s already transpired. Fortunately, your dentist can! Whether you’re struggling with chronic bad breath or have a severely decayed tooth, they can intervene by administering the appropriate treatment for your unique dental needs. That way, the symptoms of mask mouth aren’t left alone to wreak havoc on your general and oral health.
Since face masks continue to play an important role in the battle against COVID-19, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, make sure to implement the above prevention tactics to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape!
About the Author
Dr. Cooper Owens earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry over 15 years ago and has been helping patients achieve pristine oral health ever since! Today, he is known as the local expert on mask mouth and has even been interviewed by respected news channels on the subject. If you are overdue for your biannual appointment or have a question about mask mouth, visit his website or give him a call at 440-466-4884.
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