Face Mask Breath? Perhaps a fitting new term borne from the now mandatory use of face masks in many public places when lockdown ended. Wearing a mask or face covering which covers your mouth and nose has led to a surge of enquiries and concerns from patients about bad breath. Has wearing a face covering made you realise that you have bad breath? If so, don’t worry! Here’s what to do.
Why do I have bad breath?
Bad breath or halitosis, can be caused by poor cleaning, smoking, certain medications and having a dry mouth. Bear in mind that it’s normal to have bad breath to some extent when waking. Your saliva flow reduces significantly when sleeping causing dryness which results in “morning breath”.
Face Mask Breath. How can I stop it?
Ensure your cleaning routine is up to scratch! If food isn’t cleaned away properly then it will sit in your mouth and cause a smell. Every morning and night, brush your teeth for at least two minutes and the top of your tongue afterwards. Electric toothbrushes can be a great way to encourage brushing for longer and help you clean more effectively. A lot of food gets stuck in between teeth where even the best toothbrushes can’t reach. This is why inter-dental cleaning is so important! Inter-dental brushes (or floss if they don’t fit) used at least once per day after brushing and preferrably before sleeping, will remove those stubborn bits of food.
Will chewing gum help?
Yes! Chewing a sugar free gum can help physically remove food that is stuck to teeth. It increases your saliva production which helps rinse your mouth clean and can cover up the smell of foods such as garlic or onions.
What about mouthwash?
Similar to chewing gum, rinsing with mouthwash can be useful immediately after eating when brushing isn’t recommeneded. It can also cover up the smell of foods and kill bad breath causing bacteria. However you MUST still brush and use interdental brushes as above too.
What if I am cleaning properly?
If you do all of the things above, but you still suffer from bad breath, consider some of these options;
- Possible mouth infection or gum disease – best to contact your dentist for further advice
- Smoking – if you smoke we’d be happy to help you to stop
- Medication – your dentist can let you know if one of your medications might be the cause. Always consult your doctor before making any changes though.
- Dry mouth – certain medications or medical conditions can cause dry mouth. Saliva substitutes, regular sips of water and sugar free gum can all be useful to counteract this.