If you’ve read my blogs and newsletters for long, you know I am very big on oral health for personal reasons. Digestion begins in the mouth and your oral health can impact your overall health in ways you may not be aware of. I talked about that in this newsletter.
Studies have been done previously which found that pregnant healthcare workers who wore masks had substantial impact to their health. Yet another study found those impacts increase for those who exercise while wearing a mask, which is required in gyms where I live right now.
Here in upstate New York, you are required to wear a mask when entering places of business. While I work from home and don’t wear masks for long periods of time, thankfully, many people do. You may have seen posts and articles about “mask mouth” and wondered if it really is a thing. Let me assure you, it is.
Dentists are noticing a dramatic increase in the prevalence of dry mouth, gum disease, and tooth decay, which is being attributed to habitually wearing masks for long periods of time. Regardless of your feelings about whether people should or shouldn’t be required to wear masks, I think it’s important to understand the effects this can have on your oral health.
In a nutshell here is how it impacts your mouth: as you wear a mask and breathe in and out, you rebreath a little of your exhaled breath that got trapped inside the mask. Over time, this rebreathing results in a slight decrease in oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood. These increased CO2 levels cause fatigue, headaches, flushing, brain fog and other physical effects, as well as a feeling a warmth.
Your brain and body register this slight increase in blood CO2 levels as a low-oxygen event, and your body unconsciously seeks to increase oxygen intake. The natural way your body responds is by prompting you to breathe through your mouth, rather than your nose. This alters your oral microbiome by decreasing saliva levels, resulting in dry mouth, which is the #1 cause of tooth decay. This is especially concerning to me as it relates to young children being required to wear masks all day at school..
There are some ways to offset these negative effects. Being intentionally aware of your breathing so that you breathe through your nose as much as possible is one way. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene habits becomes even more important. I have used these Orawellness products for several years now and have found them to be extremely effective. I like them so much I am an affiliate so if you purchase the products from this link, I will receive a small commission. I sincerely and highly recommend them. I strongly urge you to pay attention to your oral health.
Do you notice any change in your oral health if you wear masks regularly?
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