Mask Mouth is the term used to describe the side effects of using face masks for a long time. Individuals with mask mouths who previously had healthy teeth and gums are now experiencing new dental issues. And it's not because of poor hygiene, but because of facemasks.
We can't just throw away our masks and go back to our old ways, no matter how much we want to. Wearing a mask is obviously uncomfortable, and the oral problems it causes are inconvenient but breathing unfiltered air is still dangerous. Even if Covid 19 restrictions are relaxed, it remains unsafe to remove your mask in public places because the virus has not been completely eliminated.
Keep Covid 19 at bay while still protecting your mouth. Instead of rejecting face masks, we can try to learn everything we can about mask mouth in order to find relief and protection.
Hygiene and diet can also have an impact on mask mouth. However, using a face mask is still the main culprit. The following are the underlying causes of mask mouth caused by facemasks.
Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is caused by inadequate saliva production.1 Wearing a face mask for a long period of time causes us to breathe through our mouths rather than our noses. This action seems to have an effect on our saliva production. Saliva is crucial for maintaining oral balance. (Dry Mouth - Symptoms and Causes, 2018)
Although dry mouth is frequently overlooked, if left untreated, it can result in bad breath or halitosis, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and a weaker taste perception. In worst case scenarios, it can cause plaque build up that can then lead to teeth loss.
Keeping your mouth hydrated is essential for removing food particles and harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, wearing a mask makes it difficult to produce saliva.2 (Can Wearing a Face Mask Cause Dry Mouth?, 2021)
Besides that, wearing a facemask makes it more challenging to drink water. Bad bacteria have a better chance of multiplying in a dry mouth. This leads to imbalances.
Because the face mask limits your breathing area, it forces you to inhale the carbon dioxide you just exhaled. While inhaling small amounts of carbon dioxide is not harmful, this might increase the acid buildup within your body, putting you at a much higher risk of developing dental cavities and other health issues.3 (Taylor et al., 2021)
Mask mouth side effects vary from person to person, but the disorder most commonly develops into the following.
Additionally, your mask may prevent you from drinking liquids at times. Not drinking enough water can cause stinky breath. Dehydration makes it challenging to wash away harmful bacteria and food residue.5 Because of the dryness, they can multiply and end up causing your breath to smell. (COVID-19 Pandemic: Effect of Different Face Masks on Self-Perceived Dry Mouth and Halitosis, 2021)
Wearing masks for an extended period changes the pH or acidity level inside the oral cavity and reduces saliva production.4 Without moisture, good bacteria struggle to neutralize acids in the mouth and die. Acidity in the mouth causes tooth enamel to become brittle. As the enamel erodes, cavities and underlying tooth structure become visible. (Aubry, 2021)
Cavities form when there is an excess of acid and bacteria in the mouth. They are damaged areas of the tooth's surface that cause cracks, openings, or holes.
Why does it appear that despite your best efforts to brush your teeth thoroughly, those unpleasant odors persist? The mask that is protecting you from certain viruses is affecting your breath. Face masks collect saliva as well as moisture from your breathing. They accumulate in the fibers of the mask and remain there for a set period of time.
When you don't produce enough saliva, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. If bacteria on your teeth are not properly removed, they can harden and form a film known as tartar. Tartar affects not only the teeth but also the gums.
Gingivitis is a chronic condition in which your gums become red and inflamed.6 Gum pockets are formed when calcium deposits or tartar begin to accumulate on your gums causing openings and laceration. This causes your teeth to separate from the supporting bone. (How Masks Affect Your Oral Health, 2022)
The main cause of "mask mouth," which can seriously affect your oral health care, is having to wear masks in public. Maintain your oral health while protecting yourself from Covid 19. Here are some actions you can take.
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, make sure you're addressing the underlying causes of mask mouth: dry mouth and bacteria. Bacteria can be found on the mouth's surfaces and the back of the tongue. Swish® Aseptic can help you get rid of the bacteria causing these oral problems.
For daily extra mouth protection while on-the-go, Swish® Aseptic is an oral antiseptic spray that helps eliminate various unwanted and harmful organisms in the mouth.
Swish® Aseptic has antiplaque and antigingivitis properties that help get rid of “mask mouth” and unwanted odor caused by oral bacteria. This antiseptic oral solution contains 0.2% Cetylpyridinium Chloride that has multi-killing action against various unwanted and harmful microorganisms.
Stop the spread of bacteria right away. Swish® Aseptic works against infection-causing germs in as fast as 10 seconds.
Swish® Aseptic does not contain sugar which can promote bacteria growth, and alcohol which causes dryness in the mouth.
To use Swish Aseptic, spray 2-3 pumps into your mouth daily. Ideally, use this product in its undiluted form. Once done, store the product in a cool and dry place below 30ºC, away from direct light and out of reach and sight of children.
For more features on oral health care and about Swish® products, browse here. Swish® Aseptic is available in all leading drugstores nationwide, and online via Lazada and Shopee.
If symptoms persist, call a doctor.
1Dry mouth - Symptoms and causes. (2018, February 1). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/symptoms-causes/syc-20356048
2Can wearing a face mask cause dry mouth? (2021, October 17). Saliwell. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://saliwell.com/can-wearing-a-face-mask-cause-dry-mouth/
3Taylor, C., Nunez, K., Johnson, T., & Cafasso, J. (2021, February 1). Nose Breathing: Benefits, How To, Exercises to Try. Healthline. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/nose-breathing#during-exercise
4Aubry, L. (2021, September 22). Experiencing tender gums, bad breath? How to fight 'mask mouth' | News. News. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://news.llu.edu/health-wellness/experiencing-tender-gums-bad-breath-how-fight-mask-mouth
5COVID-19 Pandemic: Effect of Different Face Masks on Self-Perceived Dry Mouth and Halitosis. (2021, August 31). PubMed. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34501768/
6How Masks Affect Your Oral Health. (2022, July 20). Modern Smiles. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://modernsmileschicago.com/how-masks-affect-your-oral-health/