“Mask Mouth” – does wearing a mask cause bad breath?

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a host of challenges and changes to our way of life this year, and these look set to continue for some time. One of these changes in the UK is the requirement for anyone over the age of 12 to wear a face covering, in many indoor and public transport environments (different rules exist in different parts of the UK).

What is “Mask Mouth”?

In recent weeks we have seen articles published about a new condition – termed “mask mouth” by dentists in the US – which have highlighted the possible side effects of wearing a mask on people’s oral health. While there are differing opinions as to whether this may be a serious issue, they appear to agree on one aspect – that wearing a mask can cause bad breath. In a recent survey by UltraDEX, over half of dental professionals agreed they had recently seen patients suffering from bad breath, which they believed to be a side effect of patients wearing face coverings. 49% said they had seen patients with dry mouth, which can also lead to bad breath.

We asked Dr Ash Parmar for his thoughts on this latest phenomenon.

“While those of us working in healthcare are used to wearing masks for a period of time, I can understand that for some people it’s a new and uncomfortable experience. Those new to them may have concerns about how well they can breathe whilst wearing a face covering, and this may result in them breathing through the mouth more than they usually might, contributing to a dry mouth. In addition people may find they drink less while wearing a mask, meaning that food debris in the mouth is not washed away as often as it should be. Both these factors can bring about bad breath.”

How do I know if I have bad breath?

There are a couple of simple tests you can do to check if you have bad breath. The easiest is to lick the inside of your wrist, wait a few seconds and then smell it. Alternatively, you could get some dental floss and clean between your back teeth. Take out the floss, leave it for a few seconds and then smell it.  There are also instances where the taste in your mouth could be an indication. If your mouth has a stale and generally unpleasant taste, the chances are that this is reflected in your breath.  If you are worried about bad breath and the possible cause, please do speak to your dentist or hygienist at your next appointment.

Treating and preventing bad breath

One of the more common solutions people adopt to get rid of bad breath is to use a mint-flavoured mouthwash. However, many popular mouthwash products contain alcohol, which can dry the mouth and exacerbate the problem, while the mint flavour merely masks the odour and doesn’t help eliminate the root cause.

A more effective solution is to use a mouthwash specifically formulated to eliminate bad breath, alcohol-free so it won’t dry the mouth.

The advanced iQ+ ActiveOxi Technology within UltraDEX is clinically proven to eliminate bad breath compounds instantly, and is proven effective for 12 hours. Rinsing with UltraDEX provides instant fresh breath confidence, protects teeth & gums by removing harmful bacteria and restores natural teeth whiteness by gently lifting everyday stains. UltraDEX is free from alcohol and chlorhexidine and is safe for long term daily use by all the family (suitable for children aged 6+). It is also suitable for vegans, and is registered with the Vegan Society.

Dr Parmar continues “I have recommended UltraDEX to my patients, family and friends for 20 years – it’s the mouthwash I use personally myself. UltraDEX doesn’t just mask the odour of bad breath, it instantly eliminates the root cause of it. UltraDEX was developed by dental professionals specifically for this purpose, and is backed by extensive scientific research.”

For additional fresh breath confidence throughout the day, UltraDEX offers an alcohol-free fresh breath spray. This pocket-sized spray is ideal for on-the-go use, perfect for that quick freshen up whilst out and about, especially after wearing a mask.

UltraDEX is available from leading supermarkets, high street stores and online.

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Dr Ash Parmar owns a state-of-the-art unique private referral dental practice in Chigwell, Essex called Smile Design By Ash , and is passionate about all aspects of dentistry.  Ash has been one of the most featured dentists on TV, including three series’ of Extreme Makeover UK, This Morning, Body Shockers, The Only Way is Essex and Channel 5 News.