4 Ways To Reduce Oral Health Problems During A Pandemic – NBC4 Washington
As part of our new normal, face masks help protect us from the capture and spread of COVID-19. But dentists say the coatings can damage our teeth as well.
Dentists have called the situation a “mouth mask” as more and more cases of poor oral hygiene appear, especially among young people who wear face masks to school for long periods of time.
“Imagine an oven that is basically framed by the mask, and the germs that are inside the mouth cannot come out, so they stay inside,” said Dr. Jonelle Anamelechi, pediatric dentist at Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in DC and New Carrollton, Maryland.
Face masks can trap bad bacteria, causing cavities and tooth decay, especially in young children who tend to breathe out through their mouths.
“And so, by doing that, it increases the amount of bacteria, dries up the mouth, and creates even more environment that could produce poor oral hygiene or poor oral health,” she said.
The mask mouth can also cause bad breath and gum disease.
And it’s not just children who are affected. Dentists say they also see the same thing in adults.
Dr Anamelechi says there are four simple things you can do to avoid “mask mouth”.
First, she tells patients to brush their teeth twice a day and to drink plenty of water throughout the day while they are in school.
“Now it’s important to have that bottle of water and be full because then they can take short sips, rehydrate the mouth, get some of these bacteria around and out of the mouth as much as possible.” , she said.
Second, Dr Anamelechi tells parents to pack apples in their children’s breakfasts.
“Because [an] the apple is nature’s toothbrush, “she said.” And so if we need to freshen our mouths during the day, what better way to put a snack in the lunchbox or in the bag of books? And they can have that during the day to keep cleaning their mouths when they can’t get in and brush physically. “
Third, change your masks frequently, and if they are reusable, remember to wash them often. Depending on the severity, the “mouth mask” can also cause visible symptoms.
“You may even see lumps or lesions coming around the mouth … It’s a great reminder of [the need for] frequent mask changes, have some of those back-up or extra masks, ”she said. “If you’re using a disposable mask, it really shouldn’t be used more than once or twice. And then, of course, wash the ones that are the reusable masks. “
Finally, don’t miss your regular dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar that build up over time.
“You can’t erase this,” Dr Anamelechi said. “You have to come to the dentist and have this removed, which then makes it very important to keep those six-month appointments for cleanings.”