Face masks help to protect against the coronavirus, but wearing them can also lead to a stinky side effect.
Bad breath and tooth decay are possible when people have on face coverings for long periods of time, dentists told multiple news outlets.
That’s because wearers tend to breathe from their mouths, which can lead to dryness, according to experts.
“Now that a lot of us are mouth breathing while we have our masks on, we’re drying out all that saliva that usually protects us from getting cavities, and that’s increasing our risk of cavities,” Dr. Halina Montano
Dry mouth can also cause smelly breath, according to the American Dental Association.
If we use the mask correctly, it does not have to affect our dental health, but unfortunately, in these times of pandemic we are changing our oral hygiene habits, which has serious consequences for our mouth. From HSM Dental Office we advocate for the responsible use of the mask and for its mandatory nature as one of the most important barriers to combat COVID19. We focus on the type of mask, if they are disposable or made of fabrics, if they have filters or not, if they are washable or single-use, but we forget something very important
HOW CAN THE MASK AFFECT OUR TEETH, GUMS, LIPS OR TONGUE?
We are witnessing a worrying neglect by the general population of their oral health. This situation can have very serious consequences in the short, medium and long term. Halitos, cavities, staining of the teeth, delayed treatments and lack of diagnosis of oral pathologies are some of the inconveniences that the use of the mask presents. Dr. Halina Montano, as a specialist in comprehensive oral treatments, tells us that “the current use of the mask is causing a significant neglect in the dental hygiene of patients, since there is the false concept that as not you can see your mouth, it doesn’t matter that we don’t take care of it ”.
NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ORAL HEALTH
In the mouth we have bacteria that are part of our own body. Some of these bacteria, called saprophytes, are activated when we have low defenses and others when there is a lack of oxygen.
When we wear the mask, for a long time, more than 6 hours, we have less exposure to the air, we open our mouth less, we speak little and we have traces of saliva. As a consequence, some of these bacteria cause bad breath (halitosis), other dental pathologies and other staining of the teeth.
- Halitosis (bad breath) is the most important consequence of using the mask. To reduce this unpleasant effect, we must change the mask every 4 or 6 hours, drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol consumption, promote the production of saliva by eating hard and unsweetened foods and, of course, intensify proper oral hygiene.
Surgical masks, which are recommended for the general population, have a useful life of about 4 to 5 hours, if we exceed that time it loses its effectiveness, becomes saturated and stops filtering the air. In addition, traces of saliva are trapped in the mask which, when dry, produce a strong and unpleasant smell.
Demineralization of the tooth and caries, which in 90% of cases are not visible until they are in an advanced state, causing serious consequences such as loss of tooth tissue.
The best tool to combat these dental pathologies is prevention.
- Staining of the teeth, as another consequence of the use of the mask, is due to the fact that the saprophytic bacteria are chromatic, which favors the coloration of the teeth.
AN EXTRA OF ORAL HYGIENE
From our dental clinic in Boca Raton we always attach great importance to proper oral hygiene to keep our mouth in perfect condition and avoid pathologies that affect our health in general. In these times of the COVID19 pandemic, it is even more important, since this virus is concentrated in the mouth, nose, throat and larynx and hence its high level of contagion. Our specialists in periodontics make a special appeal to patients to make an extra effort in terms of daily dental hygiene routines, that we do not cover the problems with the mask because the consequences can be very serious. It is very important that patients are aware of the dangers generated by prolonged use of the mask and this should keep us alert regarding our oral health, which directly influences our general health.
ADVICE FOR OUR ORAL HEALTH AND HYGIENE IN TIMES OF COVID-19 (Mask Mouth)
Here we are we the best daily health and hygiene guidelines that will help you fight the coronavirus:
NEVER SHARE THE TOOTHBRUSH.
It is a very direct route of transmission of the virus. We must keep the brush heads separate if we share a bathroom with other people and if possible always with the brush cover on.
CHANGE THE TOOTHBRUSH.
The useful life of a toothbrush is three months, and sometimes we will have to change it before if we see that the bristles are worn. A worn-out brush does not fulfill its proper function and brushing our teeth will do us no good. In addition, regularly changing the brush will help us prevent the spread of bacteria. It is very important to know that if you have had coronavirus (or suspect that you may have it) we must change our toothbrush for a new one.
A correct daily dental hygiene routine will help us keep our mouth healthy. We must brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and the most important at night after dinner, when we are no longer going to ingest any food or drink (except water).
We must NOT forget to clean our teeth in the interdental areas, with brushes specially designed for this task, since food often accumulates between the teeth, especially when there is crowding or dystemas (separation of the teeth). It is advisable to use mouthwashes recommended by the dental professional, since those with white brands do not contain the appropriate products. They must be used pure, that is, undiluted.
From HSM Dental Group, we recommend the electric toothbrush for its easy use and because it is more effective than normal ones. If we have crowns, porcelain veneers and dental implants, it will be necessary to reinforce oral hygiene with an oral irrigator.
CLOSE THE TOILET LID BEFORE FILLING THE CISTERN
If we keep the toothbrush near the toilet, every time the flush is flushed the aerosols will fly out of the toilet and fall on the brush. Different studies have suggested that the virus is spread by fecal matter, hence the importance of keeping the toothbrush away from the toilet, protected from the environment and closing the lid before flushing the cistern.
DAILY CLEANING OF THE BATHROOM
It is essential that bathroom surfaces are cleaned regularly with a chlorine-based product (bleach), if possible.
VISIT TO THE DENTIST
Of vital importance is the periodic visit to your dentist with the peace of mind that all the necessary measures are taken to maintain a safe place. Remember that the hygiene and safety measures of a dental clinic are very strict.
The mask protects us and its use is essential to combat this volatile virus, do not stop using it, but remember that your oral health should be a priority in the face of any adversity.
If you still have doubts regarding the correct use of the mask and hygiene measures in times of COVID19, do not hesitate to contact our dental clinic in Boca Raton.