These are not the best of times in human history due to the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. As of the last quarter of 2019, different events were happening across the globe, from security issues in the middle east, the impeachment proceedings against the former president, Donald Trump, and the wildfire burning in Australia. While all these topics dominated the media landscape, no one paid close attention to the incoming covid-19 danger until it became a full-blown pandemic in 2020.
What started as an epidemic that seems to be under control began to take a new dimension in the first quarter of 2020 as the rate of infection and death rate skyrocketed in the first and second quarter of the new year.
To combat the crises, new policies were rolled out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other reputable health institutions to curb the spread. Part of the policies put in place was that each country needed to enforce social distancing among their citizens, human movement restriction, and the compulsory use of face masks in public areas.
Soon enough, most countries across the globe adopted these new policies in their territories, and they became the new global norm. This article will look at policy of wearing masks and the seeming crisis it has stirred in the dental world.
Mask-wearing and the oral health
According to two top dentists from New York City, mask-wearing causes people to breathe only through their nose and subsequently leads to dryness of saliva in the mouth. Of course, the primary purpose of saliva, amongst other functions, is to neutralize acid, prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. Many dentists believe that there is a correlation between oral infections and heart-related diseases.
Many people today are trying to avoid contracting the covid-19 virus through mask-wearing. But then, this may increase the rate of people with heart-related disease due to poor oral hygiene. The number of people visiting dental clinics to complain about gum and cavity pain has made dentists create a name to address the situation tagged “mask-mouth.” This is targeted at creating more awareness about the phenomenon before it blows out of proportion.
What is the primary cause of mask-mouth?
Dentists claim that the primary cause of mask-mouth can be attributed to the dryness of saliva caused by breathing through the mouth. When an individual wears a face mask consistently for a day, the mask prevents breathing through the nose efficiently, making the mouth the best alternative for air exchange. The ripple effect of breathing through the mouth leads to dryness of saliva in the mouth. To fight germs, bacteria and maintain oral hygiene, the mouth needs saliva for teeth cleaning.
However, it has been reported that rising cases of oral-related health issues have created more awareness on oral hygiene. Without mask-wearing, many people won’t know they have bad breath, gum, and cavity disease. Bad breath is usually caused by bacteria on the tongue, which the mouth’s dryness can cause.
Since the virus is still around, you can’t afford to loosen your guard by not putting on a nose mask, especially in public places. However, to reduce your exposure to oral diseases, you should drink more liquid contents, brush and flush your teeth regularly and ensure you breathe through your nose even when you are wearing a mask.