As dentists reopen their offices to welcome back patients after many months away they've noticed a rather pungent trend.
Patients are coming in with all kinds of dental issues like decaying teeth, receding gum lines and terrible breath.
Dr. Rob Ramondi, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental, says this is happening in part due to wearing masks.
“We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before. About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’ ”
Another co-founder of One Manhattan Dental, Dr. Marc Sclafani says if left untreated, mask mouth can lead to other major health issues like strokes and an increased of heart attacks.
He says masks increase the dryness of the mouth leading to a buildup of bacteria.
“People tend to breathe through their mouth instead of through their nose while wearing a mask. The mouth breathing is causing the dry mouth, which leads to a decrease in saliva — and saliva is what fights the bacteria and cleanses your teeth.”
While we can't avoid wearing masks, Sclafani says there are things wearers can do to help.
He says drink more water, cut down on caffeine, use an alcohol-free mouthwash, scrape your tongue when you brush and try to breathe through your nose while wearing a mask.