Mask wearing has become required throughout Philadelphia to help protect people from COVID-19. While wearing a mask may help prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus, there are side effects of covering your mouth for extended periods of time. Wearing a mask covers the lower portion of your face, and it can put your oral health at risk. While the entire staff at Broad Street Braces wants you to remain healthy, we also want to help protect the health of your smile that you are working so hard to correct.
A new condition has been given the name “mask mouth.” While it may seem like a term coined by anti-mask wearers, it has actually been dubbed by dentists nationwide. Orthodontic practices across the nation are reporting that even their healthiest patients are presenting with symptoms associated with very foul symptoms. Severe bad breath, tooth decay, and receding gum tissues are being found to be in direct correlation with long-term mask-wearing throughout the day.
“Mask mouth” is presenting the following issues:
- Mouth breathing – 80% of your oxygen intake should come from breathing in through your nose. However, people who wear a mask for longer than 3 minutes at a time find that they are breathing through their mouths. With oxygen being reduced due to a mask at your face, people are breathing in through their mouths in order to inhale more air at a time. Mouth breathing causes a huge drop in saliva production. Breathing in through the mouth dries out the mouth, and saliva production cannot keep up with the demand to keep the mouth moist.
- Dry mouth – As a result of mouth breathing and reduced saliva production, the condition known as “dry mouth” is affecting millions of Americans. Dry mouth leads to a buildup of bacteria that can quickly harm the teeth and gums. Dry mouth also leads to severe bad breath.
- Dehydration – While one solution to dry mouth is a high increase in drinking water, most people wearing a mask for hours a day are not maintaining a high water intake. With their mouths continuously covered, they are not thinking about drinking, or it is very inconvenient to raise and lower the mask hundreds of times a day to take sips of water. Dehydration poses a dangerous threat to the entire body, including serious oral health issues.
If you must wear a mask, please make sure you are taking extra precautions to protect your oral health. It will benefit you greatly for the success of your orthodontic treatment.