With increasing support for mandatory masking laws in many cities and provinces across Canada, Saskatoon dentists are concerned about the oral health implications of prolonged mask use. When worn properly, a mask can reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but there are oral health implications we can’t ignore.
What is ‘mask mouth’?
Mask mouth is a new term dentists are using to describe what is happening to our mouths during and after wearing a face mask. Since opening our doors after the covid-19 closure period, we are seeing increasing numbers of patients with symptoms that are amplified by frequent mask use.
What happens to your oral health when you cover your face?
Face coverings can increase mouth dryness which contributes to a buildup of bad bacteria in the mouth. While wearing masks, we tend to breathe more through our mouths than through our noses, which leads to a decrease in saliva production and results in dry mouth. Dry mouth might sound harmless, but our saliva plays an essential role in the microbiome of our mouths—without it, our mouths become more vulnerable to a host of threats and potential problems.
5 ways saliva combats dry mouth
- cleans teeth.
- neutralizes acid.
- keeps bad bacteria at bay.
- prevents tooth decay.
- prevents gum disease.
Saliva is essential for the maintenance of a healthy mouth Without sufficient salivary flow, bad bacteria rests on the tongue and the surfaces of the teeth and gums, leading to oral health issues such as bad breath, plaque buildup, acid wear, cavities, tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. If left untreated these can lead to a combination of discomfort, permanent damage, and costly restorative dental work.
Mask mouth prevention: increased need for oral home care
When you understand the important role of your saliva in preventing problems caused by dry mouth, you can take steps to ensure that wearing a mask doesn’t interfere with your long term oral health. If you are wearing a mask regularly, there are a few preventive measures you can take to prevent the effects of mask mouth:
- Remember to drink water and stay hydrated with and without a mask on.
- Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
- Brush your teeth twice daily, and floss at least once daily.
Saskatoon dental care during covid-19
Masks are not currently mandatory in Saskatoon or Saskatchewan, though many major retailers require shoppers to mask up, and it has been recommended by the provincial and federal chief health officers that masks are worn in all public areas as much as possible. As mask wearing becomes an increasingly normal part of our lives, it’s important to take extra care of our teeth so that we can avoid overwhelming our dental clinics during this period of increased risk management.
Saskatoon dentists treating mask mouth and taking new patients
The emerging oral health phenomenon known as mask mouth is a preventable and treatable condition that everyone is susceptible to. If you haven’t seen a dentist yet this year, schedule an appointment for a checkup and cleaning before mask mouth takes a toll on your oral health. The team of dentists at Blok Dental Studio are pleased to provide Saskatoon with safe preventive dental care during covid-19 and we are taking new patients!