The Coronavirus pandemic has helped coin a litany of new words and phrases; from social distancing to putting on the COVID-19 mask, there’s a new expression for almost everything related to the virus.
One expression that we started using in our office is ‘mask mouth.’ The phrase refers to a range of symptoms associated with wearing a face mask around your mouth for long periods. It’s not an official diagnosis, but it’s become a common phrase used to describe the rise in dental problems that have resulted from increased mask-wearing.
In the States of New Jersey and New York, it is mandated that children wear masks indoors while in school. That can be up to 6 hours of mask wear for our children.
We are seeing more children with gingivitis and cavities. This is due to the effects of continual mask-wearing which is keeping germs and bacteria in the mouth.
When we breathe, (bacteria) leaves the system and dies, but with a mask, it’s staying in. It’s especially a problem for kids who aren’t brushing well each day. The bacteria is just kind of hanging around the mouth. We are also experiencing some patients are experiencing the growth of that bacteria on the outside of their mouth and lips, caused by masks that keep “moistness and germs next to the face.”
Here are some solutions:
1. Wear disposable masks
2. If wearing cloth masks, wash them daily with soap and water.
3. Brush your teeth before going to school, if possible after lunch and before going to bed. Also brush your tongue.
4. Rinse with Perioguard every morning before putting on the mask.
5. Rinse with prescription strength flouride after brushing your teeth at night.
6. Avoid sugary drinks and drinks with low PH.
7. Don’t skip your 6 month cleaning and exam with our office.
It is important to know that with increase mask wear, bacteria and decay can spread quickly. We are starting to see more children as young as 3 and 4 with severe decay.
Even though they’re technically baby teeth, it’s still going to cause ongoing issues.
*********Some of our patients who have been cavity free have been getting cavities. No one is immune to the consequences of wearing masks and not maintaining proper oral hygiene.
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