(AscendHealthy.com) – Wearing face masks regularly has become part of the new normal for many of us. But there’s one aspect of wearing face masks that we shouldn’t accept as normal: Bad breath.
Has your face mask given you an “ugh, what’s that smell, oh no, it’s me” wake-up call? Learn the causes and how to banish bad breath below.
Discover 8 Ways to Nix Face Mask Bad Breath.
8 Causes and Fixes for Face Mask Bad Breath
We might assume that we can hide bad breath, known as halitosis, with extra-strong mouthwash or chewing gum. But because some causes may impact our overall health, it’s important to figure out the source. And with face masks making bad breath even more obvious, we now have a new incentive to nix halitosis.
Knowing the cause of bad breath can help determine how to fix it:
- Toothbrush neglect: The pandemic has caused many of us to stop socializing. But if that change has led us to slack off on teeth brushing and flossing, a rotten egg odor may result from trapped food. Fix: Brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, and floss regularly.
- Smelly foods: Onions, garlic, and coffee rank high among popular foods. They all contain allyl methyl sulfide, resulting in a rotten egg odor. Fix: Chew a sprig of parsley, eat an apple, or munch on a carrot to promote saliva production. Drink plenty of water as well.
- Travel: A condition known as traveler’s breath may occur if we change our diet and our dental routine while traveling. We might eat more fast food, then not have time to brush our teeth when we’re on the go. Alternatively, we may not have time to eat, which may cause a smell known as “morning mouth.” Fix: Pack a toothbrush, roll of floss, and travel-sized toothpaste in your purse or carry-on luggage. Chew xylitol-sweetened gum to help get the saliva flowing.
- Dirty mask: Wearing the same face mask every day? Even with the best oral hygiene, bacteria can build up in our mask. Fix: Wash your reusable mask after each use. If it’s a disposable mask, toss it.
- Dry mouth: Known as xerostomia, dry mouth results in a lack of saliva. That lack allows dead cells to build up in our cheeks and gums, where they may decompose and result in bad breath. Fix: Causes of xerostomia include medications, mouth-breathing, and salivary gland issues. Talk with a healthcare provider about ways to manage this condition.
- Sugar: Sugary foods and drinks are like Thanksgiving dinner for bacteria, resulting in halitosis. Fix: Skip the sugary drinks and, in particular, sticky candies like caramels. Craving something sweet? Try plain chocolate, which has less sugar and doesn’t stick to our teeth.
- Ketosis: Those popular low-carb and keto diets may cause our bodies to burn fat for energy, known as ketosis. We then get rid of the waste products through our breath, which may smell like rotten fruit. Fix: Drink additional water throughout the day. Sugar-free breath mints or gum may help as well. A longer-term solution is to add more carbs back into the diet.
- Health issues: Some stomach problems like acid reflux may cause tummy gas to travel to the mouth. That gas may cause bad breath. Certain types of cancer, such as throat or tongue cancer, and renal failure may also result in halitosis. Fix: Check with a healthcare provider if bad breath continues.
Discovering we have bad breath when we wear our face masks may have a silver lining. It may motivate us to improve our dental habits, encourage us to cut down on sugary foods, or offer a reminder that we need to wash our masks more often. Be sure to consult your medical team if bad breath continues.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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