The Mystery Around Mask Mouth
“Hello Dentist, I can’t understand why I suddenly have bad breath!” Many individuals are now noticing a malodor (halitosis) since wearing a mask daily and looking to dental professionals for an explanation. It’s not the mask causing the odor; more than likely, the problem has been present for a while and the individual is just now noticing the odor. Consulting with a dental provider for a proper diagnosis is key in treating the problem and reducing the risk of developing a worsening problem. The question is, how can you treat and prevent “mask mouth”?
The most common cause of malodor is an abundance of bacteria in the oral cavity. The bacterial growth can be caused by a variety of reasons and can be a simple or more extensive problem. Often the cause of bad breath is from excess bacteria, especially on the tongue. Look at your tongue: does it have a white or brown coating to it? Cleaning the tongue is an important element of any daily oral hygiene routine and can be done with either a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria.
Brushing alone may not be enough to reduce the odor present, but combining it with an alcohol-free and bacterial-neutralizing mouthwash can be the key to fresh breath. As a hygienist I often see patients who are concerned about bad breath and unaware of the underlying cause. Many of the rinses on the market are loaded with alcohol to kill the bacteria and freshen breath; in reality, a strong alcohol content is not ideal for most people and just masks the odor. Many individuals experience dry mouth that is caused by a systemic disease or medication, and the drying effect of an alcohol-based rinse can complicate the problem.
Oxyfresh Fresh Breath rinse is an SLS-, alcohol- and dye-free rinse that utilizes essential oils to help stimulate saliva flow. The fresh lemon-mint flavor combined with zinc, aloe and Oxygene® neutralizes the bacteria that cause bad breath rather than masking the problem.
Other common causes of malodor include periodontal (gum) disease. When left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and infections. When the periodontal disease is treated and controlled, it can be maintained and patients often notice the difference in feeling and lack of odor.
Tooth decay can lead to odor and eventually pain if the tooth is not treated in a timely manner. Dry mouth and medications can make an individual more vulnerable to both periodontal disease and tooth decay. Preventative care, both at home and professionally, can monitor and treat areas of concern early. Using a toothpaste with the bacteria- and cavity-fighting benefits of xylitol can complete a well-rounded dental routine. The Ultimate Fresh Breath System from Oxyfresh is a convenient kit that includes the tongue scraper, rinse and toothpaste to freshen breath and neutralize harmful bacteria, while protecting with xylitol.
The term “mask mouth” is a side effect of the pandemic that has made people take notice of changes in their oral health. During the pandemic many people have delayed dental visits to reduce exposure risks, and while working from home, have let their oral care slide. Maintaining an optimal home care routine with products that help neutralize the damaging bacteria can help prevent bad breath. While nothing replaces a professional dental visit, what a person does in between professional care makes the biggest difference. Take the Fresh Breath challenge and wear a mask with confidence and say goodbye to mask mouth!