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Given that it’s back-to-work, back-to-school time for many people, aren’t you finding yourself wearing a mask – your guard against Covid-19 – a whole lot more? Ever wondered about what even that teeny-weeny bit of air getting trapped within, or a disrupted breathing pattern may be doing to your oral health? Turns out that wearing a mask for too long can lead to a condition called mask mouth!
When the concept of wearing masks became a daily reality with the onset of Covid-19, several questions were raised about whether they would restrict breathing activity, retain carbon dioxide, circulate bad breath in the body, and make a person feel suffocated. Over time, people have become used to the masks, and experts have spoken about how the cloth and surgical variety are not as restrictive as the N95 masks. Still, dental experts caution against mask mouth.
It is time for you to also think about what may be hidden behind the mask!
According to Dr. Gunita Singh, Director at Dentem, and Associate Consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, mask mouth describes the variety of oral side effects from wearing a mask for an extended time. Mask mouth might include dry mouth, bad breath, tooth decay, and even gum disease.
These side effects, as per dental professionals, can be attributed to a few factors:
As with most things health-related, preventive care can work best to keep you away from facing the mask mouth scenario, and maintaining oral hygiene among adults and the young alike. Dr Singh tells us all about it.
Don’t forget to brush twice a day: Whether it’s morning or night, brushing is must. Due to busy schedules, people usually forget to brush at night or take it for granted, but this is the biggest mistake that they make. For maintaining oral hygiene, brushing twice is the key essential thing to follow.
Gum massages: We all are quarantined at our places and this is the best time to take care of yourself. Spend some time with your gums as they are the foundation of our teeth. Healthy gums are equal to healthy teeth. Massaging in a circular motion for 5 minutes in the morning and evening with the oil of your choice ( olive oil, vitamin E oil, almond oil) can do wonders for your gums.
Tongue cleaning should be a priority: Once a day, tongue cleaning with glycerine and cotton pad can prove to be magical not only for you to have a lovely, healthy pink tongue but also bacteria-free oral cavity.
Mouth wash: Rinse your mouth after every meal for 2-3 times with a mouth wash of your choice. Swirl it for at least 30 second each for best results
As we avoid removing a mask in the offices and public places for long hours, it becomes a challenge to hydrate ourselves adequately and drink water after frequent intervals. This can lead to dry mouth, followed by other conditions associated with it. So, make way for water irrespective of the challenge.
Breathing is really affected in a big way when people wear a mask all the time. So, if we start working on our breath work by doing Pranayama in the form of Kapalbhati, Anulom vilom and Brahmari, we can keep our health in place.
Use the moisturiser generously. Applying a lip balm is a good idea. Using a humidifier in a room where you are working with a mask on can also help. Just a little additional humidity in the room can solve the problem.
Sugar free lozenges and chewing will help keep the oral cavity moist and also increase salivation, apart from controlling cavity situations. Add probiotics to your diet to curb acidity.
Remember to mask up, but also remember to avoid a mask mouth, ladies!