Is Wearing A Mask Causing Bad Breath? We Asked An Expert


mask mouth

Wearing masks in public has become the new normal, thanks to the fact it’s proven to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. And while we’re more than happy to wear them whenever we leave the house, we have to say, we’re not over-enthusiastic about the slew of beauty problems that come with wearing one. Yes, we’re referring to maskne, AKA the gnarly acne breakouts localized on the lower half of your face.

However, there’s a new issue at play, as many are associating masks with bad breath and claiming it’s causing poor oral hygiene, whether that’s in the form of bad breath or decaying gums. Some dentists have even labeled the condition mask mouth. We decided to consult our go-to celebrity dentist, Dr. Apa, to see if there was any truth in it.

Can a Mask Effect Your Oral Hygiene?

Dr. Apa begins by explaining, “It can go one of two ways; it can greatly increase your oral hygiene because when you’re wearing a mask, you can’t help but smell your own breath, so it may make people hyper-conscious of keeping their mouth clean.” However, he also says “Or, it can go the other way where people can wear a mask to cover up their problems and not worry about their teeth. It just depends on the type of person.”

Can A Mask Lead to Bad Breath?

Dr. Apa says, “No, a mask will not cause bad breath, however, it is recommended that if you’re wearing a cloth mask you wash it regularly.”

If you are currently experiencing bad breath, it could be down to a myriad of reasons and some factors could be associated (not to blame) with mask-wearing. For instance, as your mouth is constantly covered, you could be drinking less water and therefore you’re more likely to be dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated, you produce less saliva, which is what cleanses your mouth from any lingering bacteria that cause those unwanted odors. So, try and drink as much water as you can when you’re in a safe environment to do so.

Here are some quick solutions to bad breath:

Brush up: Make sure you clean your teeth twice a day (you can even gently brush your tongue), and don’t forget to floss – even if it’s just once a week, but preferably every day! You should also replace your toothbrush every three months.

Breathe through your nose when wearing a mask: Breathing through your mouth can lead to dry mouth, which leads to a decrease in saliva, and saliva is what helps to fight bacteria and cleanse your teeth.

Gargle salt water: Salt is an antibacterial so it can help to fight bacteria loitering in your mouth, plus it will also help to heal any cuts or ulcers in your mouth.

Chew sugarless gum: This will increase the amount of saliva in your mouth and gradually reduce plaque buildup, which will also reduce your chances of getting tooth decay.

Can Wearing a Face Mask Lead to Decaying Teeth?

Thankfully, Dr. Apa replied, “No, the mask has no effect on the amount of bacteria that’s in your mouth, however, it can have more effects on your skin in and around your mouth, so it’s something you want to be sure you’re keeping clean.”

To keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh, Dr. Apa simply advises “Stick to good oral hygiene protocols, like brushing with an electric toothbrush, flossing, and using a mouth rinse two times a day.”

Ultimately, if you’re someone who doesn’t typically have any oral health problems, you’re likely not to notice anything. However, if bad breath or any oral conditions are already a problem for you, wearing a mask might heighten your awareness of these issues.

For more inside tips from Dr. Apa, check out everything you need to know before whitening your teeth.