You may have seen social media posts about masks causing bad breath or infection. But do they do that? We asked several experts for advice on getting you through the pandemic with an intact smile and an unharmed breath.
Are masks bad for your (dental) health?
According to Steven Barefoot, DDS at DentaQuest, there is little to worry about. “There is no evidence that wearing masks causes or worsens dental disease. If this were a real problem, dentists and other health care providers would have increased dental diseases and problems, and this has not been reported. “
Marianna Weiner, DDS at Envy Smile Dental Spa in New York City, also denied the idea that masks pose a risk to dental health. “I can confirm that inhaling the carbon monoxide we put into our lungs and mouth is not the best for our teeth, but your face mask doesn’t cause your bad breath, it just makes you more conscious.”
Jared Cox, DDS, of Today’s Family Dentistry in Searcy, Ark., Made an important point. “Perhaps it is better said that the masks expose the inadequacy of our typical oral hygiene habits and raise our awareness of what dentists already know – we need to pay more attention to our oral hygiene every day. Don’t blame the masks. Take responsibility for your health. “
Prevent bad breath
What if your mask doesn’t cause bad breath? Our experts suggested three main causes: leftover food, bacteria, and drought.
Dr. Barefoot said, “The mask mouth is really about the mask effectively capturing the odor of bad breath (more effective than inhaling into your palm to check your breath, for example), so you can think of it as a good heads-up for bad breath. “
The solution, he said, is proper cleaning. “Good oral hygiene removes sticky plaques that trap food particles and provide a home for bacteria. Daily brushing and flossing go a long way towards maintaining oral health and eliminating bad breath [bad breath]. And water. Drink plenty of water to combat the risk of dry mouth and wash away any food particles throughout the day. “
Dr. Weiner told us how to avoid dry mouth. “Mouth breathing is generally not helpful as it dries out everything and removes the saliva that protects us. However, this can be fixed by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid acidic beverages as much as possible, and I also recommend peppermints as they encourage salivation and further protect us from mask complications. “Peppermints also help hide bad breath.
Dr. Barefoot also warned, “Toxins given off by bacteria during oral infections are also odorous. Regardless of the mask, it is therefore important, whenever something is or appears to be different with your mouth or breath, to see your dentist and doctor to rule out possible health problems. “
The take away
Research shows that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. And it won’t hurt your dental health. You may notice your bad breath more, but you can fix this by keeping your mouth clean and groomed.
Sean Marsala is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based health journalist. He loves technology, usually reads, surfs the internet, and explores virtual worlds.