Have you noticed a type of unpleasant smell under the face mask that makes us feel sick? It is called “bad breath” or halitosis. Apart from this, people also are experiencing mouth dryness more than usual, sore throat, toothache, sometimes coughing and gum bleeding (causes stained teeth and bad breath) after wearing a mask for longer hours. This condition is called “mask mouth”. It is not only embarrassing but also makes it difficult to breathe as we must follow safety guidelines.
Mask mouth / Meth mouth:
Says Dr. Rob Ramondi, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental: “We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,” “About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’ ”
How do we know we have mask mouth problems and how to address it?
Symptoms of mask mouth:
- Bad breath
- Sore throat and pain
- Receding gums
- Dry mouth
- Tooth decay, toothache
- Feeling sick
- Sometimes coughing, unable to breathe properly
Dentists are seeing more patients than before, according to the reports. Gum problem has been increasing in many due to improper mask and oral hygiene. Gum disease or periodontal disease could eventually lead to increased heart attacks and strokes!
When we wear a face mask, we keep breathing inside the mask. The carbon dioxide starts concentrating inside the mouth causing an acidic environment. We have a good number of microbes situated in our oral cavity. The acidic environment disturbs the pH inside the mouth and causes an imbalance in the oral microbiome and buildup of bad bacteria. Disturbance in the oral cavity leads to health issues. As we know oral hygiene is critical to maintaining good health. What does it mean? If oral hygiene is not maintained, it causes inflammation leading to low immune resistance!
How to address Mask mouth condition?
Focus on good oral hygiene: As Ayurveda daily routine says, focus on oral health. Brush and floss twice daily – morning and night. Rinse mouth with water after consuming food. If you have a habit of taking nap then, once you get up from a nap clean the mouth. This will help to keep the mouth out of food particles as well as microbe build-up.
Cleaning gum: Some people suffer from gum disease because of a sulfurous chemical called methyl mercaptan produced by bacteria inside the mouth. This leads to a bad smell like rotten eggs. While wearing a mask one can have more bad breath problems. Contact the dentist and get a solution to the problem. A dentist might suggest what we should be doing to avoid such a problem.
Diet: Watch your diet because some drinks and foods can make breath sink. If you are stepping out, better avoid eating anything that is too fragrant or gives a strong odor like garlic, onion, radish. Some people end up with bad breath after drinking coffee and soda. If you eat or drink such food, then better rinse the mouth with water and mouth refresher. It is even better if you brush and floss the teeth before wearing a mask.
Clean masks: Some people attitude towards mask is very risky. Wearing the same cloth masks multiple times without washing or not replacing disposable masks can lead to a bigger problem. Respiratory particles from the breath will end up in the mask which we breathe and it causes bad odor, sore throat, throat pain, and coughing! Wearing properly fitted masks helps to get adequate airflow. Using such masks makes it impossible for carbon dioxide accumulation.
Don’t forget to drink water: While wearing a mask, people tend to breathe through the mouth instead of through their nose. This creates dryness in the mouth and dehydration problem. It means, there will be little, or no saliva produces inside the mouth. Saliva is what fights the bacteria and cleanses our teeth. People tend to drink less water after wearing the mask and it leads to less saliva causing issues of tooth decay or gum disease or both. To produce saliva and to reduce dehydration we must drink more water.
We cannot risk ours as well as other’s safety by not wearing a mask. Mask is a must for all till we have other alternative solutions or come out of covid-19 at the global level. The new norm is when we step out, we must carry and wear a mask while in public. Wearing masks helps us to be safe and prevents sharing the germs especially the Covid-19 and flu germs. We all are getting used to wearing masks and we also must practice good oral hygiene to avoid Mask mouth condition and to maintain a good immune system.
- Image credit: Image by Thomas G. from Pixabay (Dental hygiene: Free for commercial use) & https://www.pikist.com/free-photo-ifofi, https://www.pikist.com/free-photo-izalw (Masks images: Free for commercial uses)
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: November 2, 2020