By now you've probably heard of "mask mouth" and at first I laughed at the term but the longer we are wearing masks it is a legitimate problem. Many patients complain that they are very aware of their bad breath while wearing a mask. An increase in bacterial plaque can cause smelly breath under the mask. We've found that with all the uncertainty and changes some people have neglected their oral hygiene habits.

While the symptoms vary for each person, the most common are dry mouth (xerostomia), halitosis (bad breath), bleeding gums, dehydration, mouth breathing, tooth decay, gum disease, and an increase of bacteria due to recycled air.

TIPS TO Stay Fresh Under your Mask

  • Waterpik at least once per day. Waterpik is like a car wash for your mouth and gets all the hard to reach spaces.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two full minutes with your electric toothbrush.
  • Floss between your teeth daily.
  • Don't forget to brush your tongue too. Start in the back and go back to front, back to front.
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Focus on breathing through your nose as much as possible - this helps prevent your mouth from drying out and helps you relax.
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, marijuana, and vaping because they can cause dry mouth, inflammation, enamel damage, teeth staining, and even oral cancer.
  • Avoid sugary foods, and acidic drinks. If you do, rinse with water and consume it all in one sitting rather than sip all day.
  • Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to increase saliva flow.
  • Regularly wash your reusable face mask.
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Visit your dental hygienist and dentist regularly for a preventative maintenance appointment.

Your dental health influences your overall health. A dental cleaning is like hitting the reset button as it rids the mouth of calculus, plaque and biofilm. Depending on the needs of the individual, many people need cleanings three or four times per year. Your dental hygienist will discuss your individual needs and provide coaching for your specific optimal oral care solutions.

References:

Colgate - Threats to Dental Health

CTV News - How to prevent Mask Mouth

CDA - Covid-19 Masks

CDA - Covid-19 Causes of Mask Mouth

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