Maybe It’s Not the Mask’s Fault: What Could Be Behind “Mask-Breath”


Along with all the other challenges we face during this pandemic, the sudden awareness of the unpleasant smell of our own breath while wearing a mask is one of the most common— and most preventable. If you’re being attentive and washing your masks regularly or using disposable ones, it might not be the mask’s fault. It could be the buildup of certain bacteria in your mouth that can cause unpleasant breath. Here’s some tips worth following even after the pandemic is over for a cleaner, healthier mouth.

Electric toothbrushes are more effective and can remove more plaque than a regular one. The advantages of electric toothbrushes include their rotation and vibration patterns are designed to brush your teeth the “right” way – up and down, round and round – rather than side to side. Some even time how long you brush in each area, ensuring a thorough cleaning.

Toothpaste – Ask your dentist if a specific formula of toothpaste might be best for your dental problems. For example, your dentist might recommend one that targets tooth sensitivity,  gum health, tartar control, gingivitis, or even whitening.

Floss is now available in a range of flavors and innovations, potentially making it more enjoyable and effective. Along with more traditional flavors like mint, there are now even variations including summer watermelon, orange, and dark chocolate. Some brands of floss even now have a weave of hundreds or tiny filaments that expand like a loofah to clear away the most stubborn of plaque.

Electric Flosser – For a cleaning as thorough as what you’d get at a dental office, either an air flosser or water flosser in tandem with a sonic toothbrush can yield results that you’ll not only notice immediately, but will also continue to show improvement.

Mouthwashes – look for a kind without ethyl alcohol, which tends to be drying and exacerbate bad breath. Look for a mouthwash that contains xylitol (a naturally occurring sweetener that increases saliva production) and aloe (which can help soothe the entire mouth).

Tongue Scraping – For all the significant benefits of the above measures, the highest concentration of bacteria (and the most difficult to reach) still accumulates on the back of the tongue.

You can attempt to scrub with a toothbrush but investing in and using a tongue scraper will have the best results. Stainless steel tongue scrapers are good, but even better is if you can find one made with antimicrobial copper, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.

It’s also important to have regular checkups with your dentist. Sometimes, the bad breath can be the result of a cavity or a broken filling. Your dentist will help keep your mouth healthy and make wearing your mask much more pleasant. Get a Dental Plan through your association and AMBA at www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 877-556-4578.

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