What is “mask mouth” and how can you avoid it?

What is “Mask Mouth” and how can you avoid it?

There’s some new lingo out now…”mask mouth!” 

Masks are super duper important to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but they don’t come without their own negative side effects.

🆘.  bleeding gums

🆘.  bad breath

🆘.  mouth breathing

🆘.  dry mouth

🆘.  chapped lips

🆘.  more cavities

🆘.  clenching and jaw problems

Why is this happening? 

Our nose is meant to be a natural air filter.  Half of us are already chronic mouth breathers (women and children suffering the most), and having even more open mouth posture than normal is only going to lead to even weaker muscles of the face.  We are seeing the gums having to do the work of filtering air, causing bleeding, especially around the front teeth.  We are breathing recirculated air, which dehydrates the mouth causing more decay (plus we are snacking more staying home!)  And posturing the jaw in a strange way due to the mask being present, trying not to fog your glasses, trying to keep the mask from slipping, etc, is causing big jaw problems (plus the clenching from COVID related stress!)

How can I prevent mask mouth?

Try to take regular breaks from your mask if you are in a safe space (outdoors, in your own home, not around other people, etc).  If you have to be in the mask for long periods, get plenty of water, chew xylitol based gum or mints, and keep up with your oral hygiene routine even more than normal (floss, brush, rinse, no exceptions!)  Choose nutrition that is good for the oral cavity as well as your body (limit processed sugars and carbohydrates, get plenty of protein and healthy fats, and limit snacking between meals!)  While wearing the mask, practice proper rest posture of the facial muscles to encourage healthy, nasal breathing (tongue pushed against the roof of the mouth, lips sealed, breath through your nose!)  And of course, see your Lakewood, Colorado dentist regularly for assessment! You can book a check up appointment here.


About the Author

Dr. Elizabeth Turner is a whole-health, family dentist in Lakewood, CO who provides general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. She focuses on the mouth-body connection and helps her patients smile confidently, breathe clearer, and live healthier lives. 

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