Personal Protective Equipment or PPE has become a way of life for many Americans and people around the world. From rubber gloves to face masks, many businesses require employees and guests to gear up in PPE while on the premises for their own safety and the safety of those around them. But while PPE has helped slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it is causing some oral health problems – especially in those in the medical community.
Wearing a mask that covers both your nose and mouth simultaneously can reveal a lot about your breath- and it’s not always good news. That’s because bad breath can get trapped in your mask, forcing you to breathe it back in, directly through your nose. To combat mask breath, before you are brushing and flossing before you put your mask on. This will help mitigate bad breath and cavities, allowing you to breathe easier in your mask.
How can wearing a mask cause cavities, you ask? The culprit here is a condition called dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth dries out, which can happen frequently when wearing a mask because when your mouth is covered you are less likely to stay hydrated. Dry mouth may not seem like a big deal, but it can cause more problems than you might realize.
For starters, dry mouth can contribute to that nasty mask breath we mentioned before. It can also cause cavities because of the lack of saliva in your mouth means you aren’t washing away harmful cavity-causing bacteria.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ dysfunction is a condition that occurs when the TMJ joint becomes misaligned from the jaw, whether by genetics or injury. If you are wearing an improperly fitted mask, you can upset your temporomandibular joint by clenching it or trying to hold it in a position that makes it stiff or tense.
To remedy this problem, make sure you find a mask that fits your face properly. If you have a small face, try a child-sized mask. If your face or chin is larger, consider a custom-made mask on sites like Etsy. Finding a mask that fits will make you feel better and help protect you and those around you, too.