As we are living through a pandemic, you have been taking all sorts of precautions in order to reduce your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. This includes working from home, washing your hands more frequently, avoiding social gatherings, and wearing a face mask when you are in public. Wearing your face covering is a great step against contagion, but you should also be aware of how it is affecting your smile. Your dentist shares more about the dental effects of a face mask and what you can do to counteract them.
How Can Face Masks Affect Your Oral Health?
Many dentists have been noticing that after numerous areas in the country started encouraging and requiring people to wear face masks, there have been an increase in cases of dry mouth. This is mostly because people are breathing through their mouths more often. Here are some of the ways this affects your smile:
- Increased Tooth Decay: When there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth to flush away food particles, bacteria begin to thrive. They will breed and ultimately cause patients to develop more cavities.
- Gum Inflammation: When there is an abundance of bacteria attacking the mouth, the body’s natural response is inflammation. The antimicrobial components of saliva would normally counteract this.
- Periodontal Disease: Gum disease is more likely to develop if you have dry mouth because this creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Over time, they will slowly damage the gums and bone structure. This will lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and tooth loss.
- Halitosis (Bad Breath): Halitosis is a result of bacteria in the mouth. If you have been wearing your face mask for a long period of time, you may begin to notice that your breath suffers.
How Can You Prevent the Negative Effects of Face Masks?
You don’t need to stop wearing your mask in order to keep your smile healthy. Instead, make sure you are doing the following thinks to maintain excellent oral health as we’re getting through the pandemic:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Brush twice and floss once every day.
- Always breathe through your nose – not your mouth!
- See your dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings.
It’s great that you’re doing your part to fight back against COVID-19 in your community, but don’t forget about your dental health. By taking these steps, your smile will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Gary Goodman is a well experienced dentist who has been serving patients in the Annapolis area since 1981. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Maryland and is a member of the American Dental Association, Maryland Dental Association, and American Academy of Implant Dentistry. For more information on keeping your smile healthy or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (410) 263-1919.