What is Mask Mouth?
Sep 12, 2020
Dr. Ryan Jones weighs in on this new medical phenomenon
Is your jaw hurting more than normal? Breath worse than you remember? Gums bleeding more than they used to when you brush or floss? These issues could all potentially be related to one unexpected culprit: all the mask-wearing we’ve been doing lately.
Particularly if you are wearing a respirator type mask like the temporarily coveted and hard-to-find N95, it may be much harder to easily breathe through your nose. This can cause you to start breathing through your mouth and subconsciously force you to alter your jaw positioning in an effort to move the mask around and more comfortably breathe through your mouth.
Other consequences of chronic mouth breathing (beyond muscle, joint, and posture issues) can be an increased dryness of the mouth because salivary flow can’t keep up with all that new airflow coming through the mouth. This dryness can lead to bad breath (halitosis) as well as dry and inflamed gum tissue, which is more prone to bleeding (gingivitis).
Healthy, normal at-rest breathing should always be done through the nose while the tongue rests at the roof of the mouth. Think of the mouth as more of an escape hatch — especially since there are lots of negative consequences to constant mouth breathing.
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