Ask the dentist: 'Mask breath' has become a thing – but here's how to combat it

Face masks mean that if you have bad breath, there's no getting away from it
Lucy Stock

Love or hate the masks they have brought some curious unintended consequences. On the upside, they are turning out to be the dental patient’s bessie mate by being able to hide all kinds of woes. However, they have also brought fetid mouth smells front and centre.

Mask breath, as it is being dubbed, is caused by the smells not being able to percolate out into the open air; instead, they are being wafted back up the owner’s nostrils making them difficult to ignore.

Bad breath is embarrassing for the 35 to 45 per cent of people in the world who regularly suffer from the whiff of halitosis. The perpetrators of bad breath come in many different guises. The most common cause of daily bad breath are the sulphurous compounds that are released from bacteria which live on our gums and tongue.

The toxins that our bacteria spew out have an eggy-type smell but it’s not just the smell that we need to be concerned about as these volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) are actually damaging our gums, leading to a breakdown of the soft tissues that support teeth which are keeping them anchored in our jawbone.

If you feel that this is you, arm yourself with an electric toothbrush and anything to clean between teeth and get to work. Try not to be put off if your gums bleed, keep going – the more gums are cleaned the less they bleed and smell.

You can add a tongue scraper to your bad breath arsenal to scrape away the malodourous bacteria. Choose a mouthwash that contains activated chlorine dioxide, like UltraDEX, as this has been proven to be the best way of banishing the lurking VSCs.

Of course, your home cleaning must be backed up with teeth that have absolutely no hard tartar on them whatsoever and this is best done by your hygienist or dentist.

If your bad breath is due to a dry mouth, this can be addressed by drinking more water or addressing the underlying cause. Odours can also be coming from tonsil stones or stomach problems so consult your GP if better oral hygiene doesn't improve things.

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