Now that we’re all wearing masks in public, our oral health is more apparent than ever before! “Mask breath” is a real thing.
When our mouth and nose are in a confined space, we’re inevitably going to smell our breath. Whether it’s a ‘regular’ breath smell, or you can’t wait to take off your mask to relieve your nose of your overwhelmingly bad breath will depend on your oral health.
If you think about it, masks are a blessing more than anything! Not only are they protecting ourselves and other people from the virus, but they’re making us aware of our oral health. Let’s use this as an opportunity to make improvements for the New Year.
What causes “mask breath”?
There’s actually a scientific term for this—“halitosis”. Halitosis means chronic bad breath, and an estimated 1 in 4 people have this condition. This condition is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which generally stems from poor oral hygiene.
Some unhealthy habits, especially smoking cigarettes or eating an imbalanced diet, can also bring about this condition. “Mask breath” may indicate gum disease, tooth decay (cavities), poor oral hygiene habits, or unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Can my braces be the reason for my “mask breath”?
No, your braces alone won’t cause bad breath or any related conditions! Bad breath has everything to do with your oral hygiene and how thoroughly you clean your teeth.
It’s true that you need to be more careful with your oral care routine when you have braces, though. Food particles can get stuck in between brackets and wires, which can lead to a buildup of bacteria pretty quickly if you don’t brush and floss those particles away frequently.
It’s absolutely essential that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. With a form of traditional braces, brushing your teeth more than twice a day is best. Consider carrying around a braces care kit or a braces cleaning kit with a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth after each meal.
Effective braces care will keep your smile clean and your mask breath bearable!
This still stands for people undergoing treatment with Invisalign®, too. You still need to brush and floss as regularly as possible. Although with Invisalign, you get to remove your clear aligners to eat, brush your teeth and floss your teeth. You won’t have to work around any brackets or wires in your daily routine.
Either way, whether you choose braces or Invisalign, you can still experience mask breath if your hygiene isn’t up to par.
How to Fix “Mask Breath” with Braces
First of all, let’s put ‘improving our health’ at the top of our 2021 New Year resolutions. Our habits, our diet, our oral care routine—they all contribute to our oral health and the breath smell that comes with it.
Here are a few habits you can take on to fix that mask breath:
- Don’t go to sleep without brushing and flossing your teeth. Don’t let bacteria fester in between your teeth and between your brackets and wires overnight!
- Add more nutrients to your diet. Eat more veggies. Eat more fruits. Drink more water. When the body has a lack of nutrients, it can’t fight off bacteria and infections as well as it should be able to. This can increase our chances of developing gum disease and tooth decay—and those won’t smell very nice.
- Kick the cigarette smoking habits. Consuming tobacco, whether it’s chewing or smoking, can have a major impact on your oral health and your breath. Why would you want to breathe cigarette smoke under your mask anyway!?
- Gargle with antibacterial mouthwash. Use mouthwash as the final phase of your oral care routine. This will take care of any leftover bacteria lingering in your mouth after brushing and flossing.
Improve your health to improve that mask breath! Wearing masks is a part of our daily life now—and for good reason. If you have bad mask breath, you can’t wear your mask less to fix it; instead, you have to ramp up your hygiene routine.
If you’re already dedicated to great oral hygiene habits, you live a healthy lifestyle, and you still have bad mask breath, we encourage you to let us know. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist too. Persistent bad breath may indicate underlying cavities (tooth decay). Your regular dental cleanings are still as important as ever when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, so don’t skip your dentist appointments!
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! The Fish Ortho team is here for you.
If you’re ready to maximize your confidence in 2021 and achieve the smile of your dreams, request a complimentary exam with us today.