A Tulsa dentist said she is noticing a new trend among patients related to wearing masks.
Wearing a mask is an important part of the fight against COVID-19, but Dr. Mariam Hanna at Tulsa Modern Dental said she has noticed people who wear a mask for long periods of time might experience some dental issues.
Dr. Hanna and other dentists are calling it “mask mouth,” an issue that's become more prevalent now that more people are wearing masks and for longer periods of time.
"We have noticed since COVID started and everyone has masked up, that mask mouth has become a thing and that's almost like a state of dry mouth,” Dr. Hanna said.
She said the dryness is most likely caused by people breathing through their mouths more to get a better breath while wearing a mask. She said the lack of saliva in your mouth can cause issues.
"We have a lot of people who are getting more cavities, we have a lot of people who have old restorations that are breaking down," she said.
Dr. Hanna said the best thing you can do to combat mask mouth is drink plenty of water.
"One of the biggest things people can do when they're at home and they're not wearing a mask is to just hydrate. Cut out anything with sugar, and just drink water," said Dr. Hanna.
She said chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol can also help.
Dr. Hanna said it’s important to be aware of your dental health and if you notice any changes like dry mouth, make an appointment with your dentist.