Bothered by the unpleasant smell of your breath under your mask? If you can smell it in there, the mask isn’t the culprit. It is most likely an existing oral health problem you’ve just become aware of.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, over 80 million people in the world suffer from bad breath or halitosis and most of them don’t know that they have it. Now that we have to constantly wear a mask for protection, it is impossible not to notice the smell of our own breath.
Why does my breath stink?
"Bad breath normally is caused by different factors. You have external factors like tea, coffee, garlic (food with strong odors) and smoking. And then you have internal factors like poor oral hygiene and plaque”, said Katie Taylor, dental hygienist at Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic.
She further emphasized that dehydration or excessive loss of water in the body can also cause your breath to stink. Problems in the sinuses or the tonsils can be contributing factors, too.
In certain cases, however, bad breath could be more than just an oral cavity problem. Hygienist Katie explains: "Your mouth is a like a barometer, like a gauge to the rest of your body. There are so many things connected to the mouth, (and bad breath can be a symptom of) other diseases like heart disease and diabetes."
Since the cause could be anything from eating pungent food to serious diseases, the best way to determine the reason behind your bad breath is through elimination of factors.
“You want to eliminate your oral hygiene issues first. Because if your oral hygiene is good but you're still having problems (make sure you have a dental check-up first), that’s when you can check further with the doctor”, said Hygienist Katie.
Prioritize oral health
Dental professionals constantly encourage everyone to make oral health a priority. Cavities and bacteria in your mouth produce bad breath and could worsen if not given immediate and proper attention.
Here’s Hygienist Katie’s advice: “Floss and brush twice daily using fluoride toothpaste. Make sure that you also do tongue brushing as your tongue also has the same plaque as your teeth have.”
She further recommended to stay hydrated especially during summer, drinking more water instead of diuretic beverages such as coffee or tea. Lastly, it is imperative to go for regular check-ups with your dentist and hygienist to stay dentally fit and keep that fresh breath, with or without a mask.