As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we wear a mask, keep our distance and wash our hands. It is also important to remain at home as much as possible. However, we do understand that you need to venture out from time to time and that is okay as long as you continue to follow proper precautions. 

While the importance of wearing a mask is indisputable, we do need to acknowledge some of the side effects that we have been seeing in dentistry. Let’s take a look at some of the side effects and what you can do. 

Bad breath

A common complaint from wearing a mask has been bad breath. This is because when you are wearing a mask, you often breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. Because of this, you may experience dry mouth, which increases your bad breath by allowing bacteria to populate in your mouth. 

To prevent dry mouth, drink more water throughout the day. You can also use an alcohol-free mouth rinse and tongue scraper. But most importantly, continue to maintain your professional dental cleanings and ask for help if you are noticing your bad breath worsens and does not go away.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)

TMD, facial pain and headaches are another unexpected side effect of chronic mask use. These painful conditions can pose a problem for many people. We continue to see an increased number of patients presenting with these painful symptoms, which is why it is important to identify the culprit and find ways to minimize discomfort. 

When you are uncomfortable wearing a mask, it can result in increased small jaw movements as you attempt to move your mask away from your face and mouth. You may even find yourself moving your jaw to reposition your make so that it remains in place. These added movements of the jaw cause muscle tension and leads to fatigue and pain. 

The ear loops from the mask can also cause headaches because they apply pressure to the auriculotemporal nerve. Using ear savers or mask extenders can help eliminate the compression caused by the ear loops. 

Mask wearing is vital to protecting each other from COVID-19, but it is important to pay attention to potential side effects. Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Georgia if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. We can help ease your pain.