Mississauga dentist explains how to tame mask mouth
While the coronavirus pandemic introduced mask-wearing to many more people, some people, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and those with compromised immune systems, have long been wearing them to protect themselves and others. Dr. Rina Kotecha, a trusted Mississauga dentist, has fielded many questions from patients who are new to wearing masks and noticing “mask mouth” – a displeasing breath smell. She explains how patients can tame mask mouth and improve their overall oral health.
Oral health habits are critical
Dentists have long been advising their patients to brush, floss, and eat a healthy diet to improve overall oral health. These habits are the same ones that will freshen your breath and help make your mask-wearing days more pleasant.
- Brush your teeth: Displeasing smells are often caused by tiny food particles that get stuck on the teeth or other areas of the mouth. Many dentists advise brushing after each meal. While that may not always be possible, it is important to brush thoroughly at least twice each day. Choose a soft toothbrush, use a light, circular motion, and do not brush before eating to avoid damaging the teeth’ enamel. Not only will better brushing improve your breath, but it will also help prevent cavities and gum disease as well.
- Floss, too: Just as important as it is to brush the teeth, it is also important to floss. There are simply areas of the mouth, like between the teeth, that the brush cannot reach. Flossing removes those particles and the bacteria and smell that comes with them.
- Remember your tongue: Oftentimes, patients will brush and floss the teeth but forget about their tongue and other soft tissue in the mouth. In fact, your tongue can hold onto food particles as well. Many stores sell tongue scrapers, like dental floss, or you can brush the tongue with your toothbrush.
- Consider using mouthwash: When patients notice their breath smelling bad, many will reach for food or gum. While this might mask the smell, it does not address the underlying problem and can cause further issues by introducing more sugar and food particles to the mouth. Instead, Dr. Kotecha suggests finding an alcohol-free mouthwash to help freshen your mouth.
- Stay hydrated: Water has several health benefits, but it can also help keep bacteria in your mouth at bay, wash out food particles, and keep your mouth moist.
- Kick bad habits to the curb: Habits such as smoking, using chewing tobacco, or vaping can cause dryness of the mouth, inflammation, damage to the enamel, and oral cancer. With more time on our hands and a focus on healthy living, now may be the perfect time to work on kicking the habit.
Your oral health is always important, not just during a pandemic. For more information about how to keep your mouth healthy or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kotecha, call Dentistry on 10 at (905) 455-9262. Dr. Kotecha offers a full suite of dental services and an experienced and trusted team that will help make sure your mouth stays healthy and happy.
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