Pandemic causing more dental issues, including 'mask mouth': U of A study

Broken and fractured teeth issues are on the rise, according to a recent release from the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry Oral Health Clinic.

“It’s a very stressful time, and we are grinding and clenching our teeth in our sleep from anxiety,” said Liran Levin, Professor and Head, Division of Periodontology in a release issued Monday.It’s important to emphasize that oral disease, like other ailments, doesn’t stop progressing through a pandemic. We will see higher rates of oral disease, and patients need to remember that postponement will affect your overall health.”

The clinic is warning patients that putting off treatment will only escalate the problem, one that Levin terms “mask mouth."

“Some people tend to breathe through their mouth when wearing a mask, and this dries out the oral cavity,” said Levin, “this leads to more cavities, inflammation and gum disease.”

Levin suggests focusing on breathing through the nose and hydrating often while avoiding carbonated or sugary drinks.

“If you are working from home and only wearing a mask when you are going grocery shopping, nothing is going to happen,” he said. “But if you aren’t working from home, this can really cause some issues,” said Levin.

“Dental problems don’t go to sleep during COVID. We still need to take care of our bodies.”