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Can You Really Get Mask Mouth?

Mask Mouth is a pertinent topic these days now that the majority of people are using masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Recently I’ve seen a spat of articles crop up, mostly blogs, warning of the dangers of “Mask Mouth.” To be very clear, any possible side effects or dental risks from mask wearing are minimal compared to catching Covid-19.  

So, what is the deal with Mask Mouth?  In essence, it all revolves around the tendency for people to breath through their mouths rather than their nose while wearing a mask.  Mouth breathing creates a dryer mouth compared to nose breathing.  That being said, there are entire professions, i.e. dentistry, that have been wearing masks consistently day in and day out for years and you haven’t heard the profession cry out that we’re suffering from mask mouth.  So, my personal opinion is we’re making a mountain out of a molehill.  I digress.

Here are the Top 4 side effects of Mask Mouth;

  1. Dry mouth

  2. Bad breath

  3. Increased risk for cavities

  4. Increased risk for gum disease  

Dry mouth and bad breath are the most common issues associated with wearing a mask and they go hand-in-hand.  The drier your mouth becomes, the worse your breath is going to smell.  The other factor here is that the general public isn’t accustomed to wearing a mask and smelling their own breath.  Ask any doctor who wears a mask about coffee breath and a surgical mask and they’ll agree, it’s not a good combo.  So, is that in and of itself a bad problem?  No, I’d say it's more of a general self-awareness which is developing in the public at large.  

To have an increased risk for cavities and out-right gum disease, your dry mouth would have to be very significant and for an extended period of time.  We’re talking months on end, not a couple of trips to the grocery store.  It comes down to frequency and duration.  While I’m not saying it’s impossible that masks could have a slight effect on cavity formation or inflammation in the gums, I don’t think we’re facing a national crisis from Mask Mouth.

Here are some simple things to do, if you’re still worried.  First, breathe through your nose.  This is the natural way you were designed to breathe.  If you can’t breathe through your nose go see an ENT, they’ll help you.  Second, stay hydrated.  Dehydration is the leading cause of dry mouth and bad breath.  Third, make sure you see your dentist.  All of these problems can be stopped in their tracks if caught early.    

Stay safe during these times.  It looks like we’ll be out of the Covid-19 woods here sooner rather than later.  If you have dental concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at 58 Dental for help