Since the coronavirus pandemic was declared back in March, the benefit of wearing a face mask has been one of the most highly debated topics. In England, face masks are currently compulsory on public transport as well as in several indoor settings, including shops, supermarkets and museums. While most of us are now pretty comfortable wearing a mask, one dentist has warned about the effects the coverings could be having on your oral health and hygiene.
Dr Jeffrey Sulitzer, Chief Clinical Officer of SmileDirectClub, explained: “Covering your mouth and nose for long periods of time impacts your breathing and forces you to breathe 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.”
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to keep your mouth healthy while wearing a mouth. Dr Sulitzer advised: “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.”
Wearing a mask can also cause problems for your skin, including acne, rashes and itchiness.
Dr Girish Mohan of the Hartford HealthCare Center for Dermatology said: “The masks are a great way to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, but they can cause repetitive friction and redirect your own airflow against the face. Each time we inhale and exhale, moisture accumulates and the mask traps it against the skin of the face.”
To protect your skin, Dr Mohan advises that you should use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser followed by a fragrance-free moisturiser. Meanwhile, you should consider avoiding makeup in areas covered by the mask, as this can serve as an additional irritant and cause further flare-ups.