While living in a pandemic, you have likely taken important steps to protect yourself and others. Beyond stocking up on hand sanitizer and keeping your distance, you may also be wearing a face mask when going out in public. It is true that face masks are an excellent way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 germs. However, regardless of the size, type and material of face mask you choose to wear, it can have some unwanted consequences on your oral health. Being aware of these dental issues associated with prolonged face mask wear can help you keep both your body and your smile healthy during the pandemic.
How Can Face Masks Compromise Oral Health?
One of the primary discomforts of wearing a face covering is breathing. To get more air, it is common for people to breathe through their mouth while wearing a face mask. Unfortunately, this is a leading contributor to dry mouth, which triggers a host of unwanted oral health concerns over time.
Dry mouth associated with mouth breathing can lower the amount of saliva that stays in the oral cavity. We need saliva to not only keep our tongue moist and comfortable but to also wash away bacteria and food debris as well as neutralize acids in our mouth. If a dry mouth persists, the following dental health complications can occur:
- Tooth Decay
- Gum Disease
While you may experience the immediate repercussion of bad breath while wearing a face mask, the consequences of gum disease can be more gradual but much more severe. Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease that causes your teeth to lose stability.
Preventing “Mask Mouth”
The good news is that you don’t have to take off your mask and let your guard down to COVID-19 in order to protect your smile health. Here are some helpful steps you can take if you wear a face covering for long periods of time:
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Instead of breathing though your mouth, inhale through your nose
- Continue brushing twice and flossing once daily
- Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups
Need to schedule your dental checkup? At Smile Design Studio, we promise a comfortable, efficient and safe environment. Call our Missouri City dental clinic today.