Facial masks have long been disputed as to whether they are effictve towards stopping the spread of coronavirus, but now they could be causing new heath risks to the poeple who wear them. Coined as “mask mouth”, bad breath isn’t the problem. Gum disease, among other hazards, is.
“Gum disease — or periodontal disease — will eventually lead to strokes and an increased risk of heart attacks,” Marc Sclafani, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental, told the New York Post about “mask mouth,” which is increasingly causing inflammation and gum disease among patients.
Another dentist, Rob Ramondi, co-founder at One Manhattan Dental, told theNew York Post that that his office is starting to see an influx of previosuly healthy patients are suffering from negitive side effects of wearing masks long term.
“We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,” Ramondi said. “About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’”
The term "Meth mouth" has been used in the medicual feild as a term to descibe the usual bad oral hygiene usualy associated with chronic meth addicts.
Our friends at The Washington Examiner with the story:
The dentists said that the face coverings increase mouth dryness and contribute to a buildup of bad bacteria.
"People tend to breathe through their mouth instead of through their nose while wearing a mask,” Sclafani said. “The mouth breathing is causing the dry mouth, which leads to a decrease in saliva — and saliva is what fights the bacteria and cleanses your teeth.”
Sclafani suggested those who have no choice but to wear masks can drink more water, cut down on caffeine, snag a humidifier to moisten the air, use an alcohol-free mouthwash, scrape their tongue, and refrain from smoking.
Wearing face coverings to stem the spread of the coronavirus has become a contentious issue across the United States, with some states and cities imposing mandatory face mask requirements, while others have filed lawsuits to defy those precautions.
However, the silver lining to these cloudy skies maybe that dentist offices are filled with breath-conscious patients who might otherwise be neglecting their dental health and oral hygiene during the pandemic.
“Patients are coming into us like, ‘Wow, my breath smells, I need a cleaning.’ [But] when you smell the bad breath, you either already have periodontal disease or you have a lot of bacteria that’s sitting on your tongue because of dry mouth,” says Sclafani.
Given our current COVID-19 state of affairs and the current rise of COVID-19 due to lockdowns becoming more relaxed, masks are not are not negotiable, and there are things that can be done to cut down on smelly breath that leads to even worse side effects. The most important one is to drink more water, as Dr. Sclafani recommends. So grab a mask, water bottle and snag a humidifier to be ready to seize the day - it's what the doctor says!