Mask Mouth: Dentists are seeing increased cases with face mask use! What is it?

Dentists and oral hygiene workers are seeing increasing cases of oral health issues following the widespread use of face masks. They call it Mask Mouth. It is a group of some nasty and stinky mouth symptoms. What exactly is a mask mouth?

Mask Mouth-the new oral hygiene issue on the block

The majority of the countries in the world have mandated the wearing of face masks at the workplace and outdoors due to the coronavirus pandemic. People are now donning face coverings of various types for avoiding infection in self and also to prevent spread to those around them. But this constant and prolonged use of face masks is giving rise to a nasty and stinky mouth condition.

Mask mouth risk [Source: Daily Record]
Mask Mouth is a bad breath emanating from the mouth of the face mask wearer. This is mainly due to dental problems such as dental decay, receding and unhealthiness of gums, and sour breath. It occurs because the face masks cause oral dehydration. The mouth rinsing and oral water intake are also lessened due to the face mask in place.

What do dentists say?

Dentists are reporting increasing cases of such bad breath and poor oral hygiene in their clinics following the coronavirus pandemic and compulsory face masks. Dr. Rob Ramondi, a qualified dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental stated:

“We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,”

He added:

“About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’ ”

Mask mouth [Source: KNTV]
Meth mouth was the term for the dental problems arising in people who used methamphetamines for drug addiction. This stimulant drug causes sugar cravings and increased appetite. Hence people used to consume large amounts of sugars which can damage teeth. The methamphetamines also caused teeth grinding and jaw clenching in the users and this added to the dental damage. The end result was cracked teeth which were also black or brown-stained.

Problems of this new mouth entity

Mask mouth is not as bad as meth mouth. But they are also harmful. Dr. Marc Sclafani is another co-founder of One Manhattan Dental and he said:

“Gum disease — or periodontal disease — will eventually lead to strokes and an increased risk of heart attacks,”

So there is an enhanced risk of strokes and heart attacks in people with bad oral hygiene and gum problems. The face masks in place cause mouth dehydration and buildup of bad bacteria behind the masks. Dr. Marc said:

“People tend to breathe through their mouth instead of through their nose while wearing a mask,”

“The mouth breathing is causing the dry mouth, which leads to a decrease in saliva — and saliva is what fights the bacteria and cleanses your teeth.”

Mask Mouth [Source: United Concordia]
Further, he added:

“Saliva is also what neutralizes acid in the mouth and helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.”

Besides, people tend to have more coffee and tea during this stressful phase and this adds to the dehydration. The solution is to continue wearing masks but drink more water, cut down on caffeine, use a room humidifier, try an alcohol-free mouthwash, scrape your tongue, and no smoking. Also, try to nose-breathe!

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