Face Masks and Your Oral Health

Face Masks and Your Oral Health

Aug 01, 2020

Let’s start with this. Never has there been a more important time to get your regular dental cleaning! If you haven’t yet, please request your appointment now – we are already booked out 10 weeks at some locations, and with restrictions to how many patients we can see at a time there are fewer open appointments than normal.

Cavities, Cavities, Cavities

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises in dentistry, is the increase in cavities dentists are starting to see due to mask wearing. Now that Governor Polis has enacted his executive order to wear masks in public, this is going to become more and more prevalent the longer the pandemic continues.

This increase in cavities is directly tied to your saliva, or lack thereof. Wearing masks so frequently is actually causing us to dry out, mainly through breathing more through our mouths to get more oxygen. Saliva is our bodies main defense for keeping our teeth healthy, and with less saliva comes more bacteria, and in turn, more cavities.

So what can we do? Here are some tips to keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape during this pandemic:

  • First of all, keep your regular appointments. We can keep the bacteria in check, and keep your mouth in check too – stopping anything concerning before it becomes a major problem
  • Fluoride is a great help right now. We keep our fluoride treatments very affordable (And free if you check in on Yelp! or leave us a good review at your visit.) But you can also increase fluoride by drinking fluorinated water and using toothpaste with fluoride twice a day. Flossing to keep those spaces your brush can’t reach is also very important. *If you’re worried about staining your teeth, try and stay away from Stannous Fluoride, and instead look for Sodium Fluoride
  • We may sound like a broken record here, but brush twice a day and floss once a day. It really is that important!
  • Drink lots of water. Keep your body hydrated and you will naturally have more saliva. If you are prone to dry mouth, we also have some solutions we can provide you. Give us a call and see if there’s something that may help

Bad Breath

You may notice as you’re wearing your mask that you might not like what you’re smelling. Hey, at least the person you’re talking to isn’t making faces (not that you could tell anyway). What you’re smelling is what’s left after your breath, which carries a lot more than air, evaporates from your mask and leaves the rest of it hanging on. This builds up and smells worse and worse. If you only notice a minor smell, don’t worry too much, and simply keep your dental appointments and brush and floss – you should be fine. And you should probably switch out or wash your mask on a regular basis.

But then what if you are having trouble with your own breath attempting to knock you out? Well, that could be a sign of periodontitis. We don’t need to get into the details here (we’ll let your hygienist go over all of that), but it is a condition that can become very serious. If you haven’t already been diagnosed with this, it’s incredibly important that you come see us before it gets worse. Perhaps wearing a mask is the thing that saves your beautiful smile!

Refresh That Mask

Ok, so your mask is stinking – and maybe even before a whole day of wear. No worries, if you can’t switch out or wash there are some things you can do. The most obvious is suck on some breath mints so at least you’re smelling the “cover-up”. But that isn’t a great solution and is pretty temporary. What we like is a little spritz of some essential oils. There are so many blends of oil you can pick exactly what you want to smell each day. A couple drops in a small spray bottle and you have instant relief. Plus, many essential oils have great health benefits, and some are even known virus killers!

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