According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than eighty million people worldwide suffer from chronic bad breath – also known as halitosis. The most troubling fact about halitosis is that a patient having this condition may not be able to sniff out the smell on his own.
Many people with bad breath now resort to mask that cover the mouth and the nose to shield their condition. However, studies have shown that this practice is most likely to complicate halitosis, and may even make it severe. This leaves us wondering exactly what causes mask bad breath and how to get rid of it fast.
What is Bad Mask Breath?
Mask bad breath is a common oral dysfunction suffered by a lot of people worldwide. Most people with bad breath (and a good number of people without this condition) experience mask bad breath. This article discusses what causes mask bad breath and how to get rid of it.
According to Gregory Levitin, MD, an otolaryngologist at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City – “Masks that cover the mouth and nose create a closed or contained air pocket, which collects our breath and reintroduces any odors back into the nose,” Speaking further, Dr. Gregory further remarked that, if you’ve previously only had mild bad breath, chronic mask wearing can make it worse.
Another expert Paul Koshgerian, DMD, MD, an oral surgeon and dentist at Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Specialists of San Diego says “When you wear a mask, you tend to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, that can lead to a decrease in saliva production, and saliva helps to maintain a healthy balance in our mouths, cleaning our teeth and helping fight bad bacteria. When that balance is disrupted, it can result in bad breath.”
What causes bad mask breath?
The answer is not far-fetched. The following are the common causes of bad mask breath –
- Poor oral hygiene
- Unhealthy dieting
- Use of ineffective mouth wash
- Incessant dehydration
- Wearing dirty mask
- Failure to visit the dentist when necessary
How Do I Get Rid of Bad Mask Breath?
You can get rid of bad breath while wearing a mask through the following means:
Step #1. Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene
Due to the policy on social and physical distancing and the virtual work era, many of us now relegate the need to take proper care of our oral health. When you do not adapt a good oral hygiene, your pearly whites will become a growth hub for bacteria, thereby causing bad bread.
It is encouraged that you brush twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste and clean between your teeth daily with floss. Do not forget to brush your tongue too. This will ensure that all bacteria that contribute to stinky odors are eliminated.
In washing your tongue, ensure you also wash the back of the tongue because that is exactly where most of the bacteria that causes halitosis are found.
When you take care of your teeth, you’re most unlikely to have bad mask breath.
Step #2. Take Healthy Foods
Foods containing garlic and onions can contribute to halitosis or foul breath. This is because, even after they’re digested, the properties that leads to bad breath are absorbed into your bloodstream and from that point, they move to your lungs which is one of your respiratory machines. Consequently, they are exhaled as bad breath.
Also, high-protein diets also cause halitosis or bad breath. This is because they initiate ketosis, a condition where your body starts to shred fat cells for muscles and strength. Ketosis leads to the production of waste products called ketones which is disposed-off your body when you breathe or urinate.
A bad diet is in our list of what causes bad mask breath.
Step #3. Stay Hydrated
Using a good mouth wash is one way to arrest dry mouth and bad breath.
Staying hydrated keeps your mouth moist and prevent bacteria from populating your mouth, says Dr. Levitin.
According to the American Dental Association avoid taking excess caffeine as this can lead to dry mouth. Always have a glass or bottle of water handy so you can sip frequently.
You may also take sugar-free gum or sugar-free candies. Doing this will encourage the movement or flow of saliva.
Dr. Koshgerian advised that “It’s also a good idea to chew sugar-free gum or suck sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva”
Step #4. Always Wear a Clean Mask
When we breathe, we exhale respiratory particles. So much so, when we breath wearing a mask. The respiratory particles we breathe out land on the mask and can cause stinky odor.
Just as you wash your other article of clothing, also wash your cotton mask and keep them clean at all times. According to Dr. Levitin, the mask should be washed every day and regularly with water and bleach.
What causes bad mask breath is often not far from poor hygiene in mask usage.
Step#5. Visit Your Dentist When Necessary
Regular teeth cleanings can combat gum disease, which may contribute to bad breath.
Over 80 percent of people battling with gum disease also have halitosis, according to an October 2015 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry.
According to Dr. Koshgerian, “The same bacteria on your teeth and gums that is causing bad breath also causes gum disease and tooth decay,”
If you leave your gum untreated, it will pull away your teeth, and the deep pockets left may be filled up and habited by odor-causing bacteria. You need to clean your teeth frequently, say every 3 to 4 months as against the popularly believed “every six months cleaning”) to eliminate these stinky bacteria.
Taking note of this point will enable you avoid bad mask breath.