Dentists offer advice to prevent oral issues linked to prolonged face mask use
As wearing masks becomes part of normal daily life, dentists are offering tips to prevent oral health issues linked to prolonged mask use.
Most people won’t experience any side-effects of wearing masks because they only wear them to pop into a shop or visit a public place for a short period. However, it is possible that those who wear masks for prolonged periods of time could notice issues, such as bad breath and dry mouth.
‘Mask mouth,’ a new phrase that has been coined along with ‘maskne,’ a type of acne that has been linked to wearing face masks, has become a subject of interest since the lockdown began and ministers introduced mandatory mask use in certain settings. While dentists are keen to stress that the majority of people will not be impacted, there is a chance that some people who wear masks for a long period of time, for example, those who have to wear a mask at work, will develop oral signs and symptoms.
To combat dry mouth, dentists recommend sipping water throughout the day and rinsing the mouth after eating. It’s also beneficial to floss after eating and to keep the mask as clean as possible. Dentists also recommend sticking to a good daily oral hygiene regime, which includes twice-daily brushing and regular flossing and chewing sugar-free gum after eating. Taking short breaks from wearing a mask can help to prevent dry mouth and keep the mouth clean and fresh.
Individuals who do wear masks for long periods are also advised to keep an eye out for symptoms of oral issues, such as heightened sensitivity, tooth pain, receding gums, bleeding gums and bad breath. Routine check-ups are not widely available at the moment due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, but patients can access urgent dental treatment either through their regular dentist or an emergency care hub.