Bad breath is not uncommon but mask-wearing has made it more prevalent. It also leads to cavities, tooth decay, and inflamed gum tissue. Even people with no history of any dental problem are facing the problem of inflammation and cavities.
Some dentists call it mask mouth. But other dentists say it occurs due to bad teeth and gums rather than the use of masks. One must take care of oral hygiene as masks are going to be with us for some time.
“The bad breath syndrome is due to prolonged use of face masks as it increases dryness of the mouth and a buildup of bad bacteria,” says Dr Viresh Chopra, senior lecturer at the Oman Dental College.
Mask mouth is triggered by covering the mouth for longer periods of time which increases the dryness of the mouth. Also, there is an increased incidence of mouth breathing when using a mask. Mouth breathing causes surface dehydration and reduced flow of saliva.
Dr Nupur Satija says once a mask is tightly worn, people tend to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. “When we wear the mask, our nose is partially blocked and we breathe partially through the mouth. It also results in Halitosis or bad breath and gum diseases,” she 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,” another dental expert adds.
However, a few precautionary steps taken while wearing the mask can keep these oral issues away, according to Dr Satija.
“Dirty masks lead to oral issues and sore throat. Reduce the intake of tea, coffee and processed foods. Drink lots of water. Also, maintain your oral hygiene, brush twice a day, use a good alcohol free mouthwash. Visit your dentist regularly,” she said.