5 Ways to Combat “Mask Breath”

In the COVID-19 era, mask-wearing has become imperative, especially when we are not able to maintain social distance. We wear masks in order to protect ourselves, as well as those around us, from possibly transmitting the coronavirus. As dental professionals here at Fountainhead Dentistry, we are used to wearing masks as part of our daily routine. However, many people are still adjusting to the occasional discomfort of wearing a mask, including troublesome ‘mask-breath’. Wearing masks doesn’t cause bad breath, but it can definitely alert you to it. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, affects over 80 million people in the United States. If you’re concerned you may be one of those people, here are 5 ways to fight bad breath.

  1. Brush your teeth – and tongue!
    • Bad breath is often the smell of bacterial waste. The bacteria that resides naturally in your mouth breaks down food particles, eventually resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. These processes can be stopped by good oral hygiene, including brushing two times a day. It is important to remember to also brush your tongue – it’s a great hiding place for a lot of bacteria that causes bad breath! 
  2. Floss
    • While brushing is a great start, flossing cleans your mouth even more thoroughly. The smelly bacteria are often living between your teeth and just underneath the surface of your gums. Flossing will ensure you remove as much as possible, and is also helpful in preventing gum disease
  3. Mouthwash
    • Rinsing with mouthwash can help get rid of some of the bacteria hanging around, as well as refresh your breath with a super minty flavor. However, it can’t get to a lot of the bacteria that may have stuck to the surfaces of your teeth and tongue. We recommend using mouthwash in addition to brushing and flossing, or whenever you’re not able to do your full oral hygiene routine.
  4. Gum/Mint
    • We typically don’t recommend chewing gum or mints to help with bad breath. They can definitely give you a boost with their menthol flavor, but they don’t actually remove any oral bacteria or debris around your teeth. Use these if you’re on the go, but never instead of your everyday routine of brushing and flossing.
  5. See your doctor
    • Sometimes bad breath can be caused by underlying medical conditions. For example, people with uncontrolled diabetes may experience a fruity-like bad breath. This is a sign of poor insulin regulation, and their body may be breaking down fats as fuel instead of sugars. In these situations, excellent oral hygiene still will not help, and we recommend you schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.
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