young woman giving thumbs up and pointing to her face mask

Face masks have quickly become a normal part of our everyday lives. When you leave your house nowadays, you have to make sure you have your wallet, phone, and keys, as well as your mask. While the CDC has recommended that everyone wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19, they have been linked to an increase in certain oral health problems. Take some time to learn from a dentist how masks affect your teeth and how you can avoid these issues.

The Dangers of “Mask Mouth”

Dentists all across the country are seeing an uptick in dental problems, even among patients who normally have very healthy teeth and gums. This increase is attributed not to unhygienic practices, but wearing face masks.

With a mask on, it takes a bit more work to drink water. You’re also more likely to breathe out of your mouth, which quickly dries your mouth out. Dry mouth, or an inadequate supply of saliva, can lead to oral health problems.

In addition to having antimicrobial properties, saliva rinses leftover food debris out of your mouth. Without enough saliva, these particles linger. Bacteria in your mouth feed on them and produce acidic waste that destroys your tooth enamel, creating cavities. An overabundance of bacteria can also irritate your gums and eventually cause gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can attack the structures supporting your teeth. your jawbone could weaken, and your teeth could loosen or even fall out completely.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to reach that point if you take the proper precautions.

How You Can Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Face masks have been proven to keep your body healthy by greatly reducing your risk of infection. Here are some tips to maintain a healthy mouth as well:

  • Pay attention to your breathing. Mouth-breathing dehydrates your mouth, so try to breathe through your nose when you can.
  • Drink plenty of water. Pulling down your mask to sip water might feel like a chore, but it can keep your mouth hydrated and healthy.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing minimize the risk of bacteria wreaking havoc on your teeth and gums. Also, getting a dental cleaning twice a year can remove any plaque that has built up.

Face masks aren’t going away anytime soon, so we might as well get used to them. Follow the tips described above to keep your mouth and body healthy!

About the Practice

At LakeView Family Dental, our dentists’ top priority has always been the safety of our patients. Especially now, we want our patients to stay as healthy as possible by being diligent about their at-home hygiene and regular dental cleanings. To ensure your safety, we’ve implemented several additional protocols to minimize the risk of germ exposure in our office. To schedule your cleaning and keep your mouth healthy during the pandemic, contact us at 248-363-3304.