What is Mask Mouth, and How can it be avoided?
Posted by DR. HAHN on Feb 10 2021, 07:15 AM
The troubles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent times are hard to imagine. Our entire routine has been affected by it, among which some of our regular activities, such as socializing, going out on weekends, etc., have to be done with extra caution. The use of masks to cover our mouth and nose is given a lot of importance, as it keeps the pathogens from entering our bodies.
However, the use of masks has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of dental concerns involving dry mouth conditions, gum diseases, tooth decay, etc. Few studies conducted in this regard have linked these oral concerns to the wearing of face masks for longer durations. This phenomenon has been termed as ‘Mask Mouth.’
What are the causes of mask mouth?
When you wear a mask, a small amount of air you exhale will be trapped within the mask, which you would end up rebreathing. This can slightly reduce the oxygen levels in your blood and increase the levels of carbon dioxide. The increased blood CO2 levels can impact your physiology, resulting in fatigue, frequent headaches, mouth breathing, and even lead to brain fog. When you mouth-breathe frequently, it can hinder the production of saliva and result in dry mouth conditions, and increases your chances of developing dental conditions.
How can it be prevented?
- Wear a mask only when necessary: A simple solution to this concern is limiting the use of the face mask to only when it is absolutely necessary. For instance, you may take it off whenever you enter your car and have closed the doors and rolled up the windows. Whenever you are in a crowd or in public places, it would make sense to make the best use of the mask.
- Be aware of your breathing: When you wear a mask, your breathing pattern may change into heavy cycles that are repeated at short durations. Try to bring conscious awareness to your breathing by slowing down the pace. It would be quite impactful if you can take five slow and deep breaths once every 15 to 20 minutes while the mask is on.
- Avoid mouth breathing: Keeping the tongue in a relaxed position and breathing only through the nose helps to keep the mouth and other oral tissues moist. It gradually increases saliva production and keeps the growth of microbes in the mouth to a minimum.
- Maintain optimum oral hygiene: As always, we recommend maintaining ideal oral health by brushing and flossing at least twice every day to limit the growth of microbes in the mouth. It also helps to maintain a fresher breath, which would be better for yourself when you wear a mask, as you’ll be stuck smelling your own breath.
You may schedule a consultation with our Dentist in Federal Way by calling us at (253) 839-2800 or reaching us through an online query. We’re always happy to help.