While wearing a mask has become an important way to help to slow the spread of COVID-19, unfortunately, it has contributed to “mask mouth”; as persons have become aware of their mouths becoming smelly when wearing masks. Here are some tips to keep your mouth clean and your breath smelling fresh under your mask.
Good dental hygiene and getting regular dental check-ups are the main ways to prevent bad fumes from developing under your masks which can make wearing masks uncomfortable.
Brush: Brushing your teeth at least twice a day will help keep your mouth clean and free of bacteria that leads to cavities and gum disease. However, ensure you wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing to there is no damage to teeth enamel. (Foods that contain citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits and lemons, can soften tooth enamel for a time, and brushing too soon after eating them may damage the enamel while it’s in its weakened state. We recommend eating nutritious foods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates after eating something acidic.)
Floss: Floss is #Boss! Many persons have been snacking more since being confined at home or indoors due to COVID lock down restrictions. More eating, especially snacks, can leave bothersome particles in the teeth. We recommend regular flossing paired with brushing, as flossing gets to places in your mouth where your toothbrush cannot reach and removes bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Tongue: Depending on what you eat, your tongue can hold a lot of food residue, so be sure to give it a good brush or scrape to help keep your breath fresh.
Mouthwash: Rinsing/swishing with a mouthwash before you put your mask on can help keep odours at bay. We recommend you use alcohol-free mouthwash as mouthwash with alcohol tend to dry out the mouth.
Water: Staying hydrated with flat water is the best way to keep your mouth moisturized and will neutralize any left-over acid in the mouth and wash away any debris from food and beverages. Some medications can cause dry mouth, which allows bacteria to multiply even faster. You can ask your dentist about this during your next visit. who will be happy to provide more details, specific to whatever medication you might be taking.
Alcohol, smoking, marijuana and vaping: Over-indulging in these habits can lead to dry mouth, inflammation, enamel damage, staining and even oral cancer. Try to cut back or quit, if you can.
As dental health is a huge part of overall health and well-being, it’s worth taking the time and effort to brush and floss every day, which will not only improve your overall health, but will ensure your breath will smell fresher under the mask!