Winter Watch.net by Robert Jonathan Tues., Aug.11, 2020
As if the debate over face mask-wearing amid COVID-19 isn’t contentious enough in some quarters, a dental practice is warning that keeping your mouth covered all or most of the time could allegedly lead to harmful hygiene issues such as gum recession (i.e., periodontal disease) and bad breath.
A Manhattan dentist calls this potential side effect “mask mouth” as a play on “meth mouth” that colloquially refers to the decay of teeth and gums among drug addicts.
Explaining the phenomenon, the dentist, Dr. Rob Ramondi told the New York Post that “We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before. About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’”
Ramondi’s colleague Dr. Marc Sclafani, explained that “People tend to breathe through their mouth instead of through their nose while wearing a mask. The mouth breathing is causing the dry mouth, which leads to a decrease in saliva — and saliva is what fights the bacteria and cleanses your teeth…saliva is also what neutralizes acid in the mouth and helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.”
Being forced to wear one out in the fresh air is another matter.
If it turns out that gum recession is a potentially dangerous health outcome from prolonged face mask usage, that could escalate the allegations about an infringement on personal freedom to a whole new level.