Warning about ‘mask mouth’ and how to prevent it

A dentist has warned about a condition called "mask mouth" caused by wearing a face-covering, or mask, for long periods of time.

Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer, the chief clinical officer of SmileDirectClub says wearing face masks and coverings can have an impact on oral health and hygiene.

He says the term "mask mouth" has even been coined to describe the condition.

This is due to mask wearer breathing less through their nose than they would without – although experts recommend people try to breathe through their nose just like they normally would.

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Dr Sulitzer said: “Covering your mouth and nose for long periods of time impacts your breathing and forces you to breath more through your mouth.

“As a result, this restricts the flow of moisture which can cause dryness in your mouth.

“A dry mouth has the increased tendency for cavities, gum disease and bad breath.”

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Dr Sulitzer offers some advice for anyone who is wearing a face covering to avoid "mask mouth".

He added: “If you’re wearing a mask for long periods of time, you should enhance your normal oral hygiene program, hydrate between wearing masks, and try using sugar-free lozenges or gum to promote salivary flow.”

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Respiratory specialist Joanne Clayton, from Broadgreen Hospital, recently shared tips for wearing masks.

She said: "You might want to start practising wearing it for 30 seconds or a minute to begin with and gradually increase the tolerance that you can bear it at home before you then start to go out and about.

"It is also important to remember to breathe in and out through the nose.

"A lot of people when they put the mask on start to mouth breathe quite heavily and this actually only increases the likelihood that the levels of anxiety can raise.

"So breathe through the nose, try to breathe slowly and silently but again not too deeply because this can make you get dizzy.

"Ideally you should always make sure that your outward breath is slightly longer than the inward breath.

"And you might need to practise walking to find a comfortable pace that you can breathe easily at."

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