Many people are still wearing masks in public, at work, and at school. While there is no mask mandate in Georgia, some people feel better by wearing them, and many individual businesses are requiring them. Wearing a mask may have controversy surrounding it, but showing up in dental offices everywhere is a condition that has been termed “mask mouth.” At Buford Family Dental, we want you to remain healthy and make the most informed choices for yourself and your family. We also want to help you protect your smile so that it stays healthy during these uncertain times.
Mask mouth is associated with long-term mask-wearing. As the mouth is being covered up for hours every day, people are experiencing some very debilitating symptoms that can lead to severe dental problems. Dentists across the Nation are reporting that patients who are wearing a mask for a few hours a day are showing signs of tooth decay, severe bad breath, and receding gum tissues.
Understanding the correlation to how wearing a mask contributes to oral health issues can help you protect yourself. Mask mouth is being directly linked to:
- Mouth breathing. The majority of your air intake should come from inhaling through your nose. However, most people find that with masks, after about three minutes, they are breathing through their mouths continuously. That is because the air intake is limited while wearing a mask, therefore causing them to open their mouths to take in more air. Mouth breathing causes a decrease in saliva production, and your breath is also affected by air quality. When you are breathing in the same air over and over, your air quality lessens dramatically. Both a decrease in saliva production and lessened air quality create a breeding ground for oral bacteria.
- Dry mouth. When the mouth does not have adequate saliva production, dry mouth occurs. Dry mouth leads to a buildup of bacteria that is not washed away by saliva. A mouth with a buildup of bacteria will lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and severe bad breath.
- Dehydration. People are not drinking enough when their mouths are covered for hours at a time. An inadequate intake of water is a problem for most people without wearing a mask, so mask-wearing has exacerbated the problem. Dehydration is dangerous for the entire body, and it can contribute to many dental issues.
If you wear a mask for longer than 15 minutes at a time, it is critical that you take the necessary precautions to protect your oral health. Remove your mask frequently when you can, drink water throughout the day, brush your teeth more often, and chew sugar-free gum to keep your mouth moist.
Contact Buford Family Dental to learn more.