Do You Think Your Mask Is Causing Your Bad Breath?

  • Oct 8 2020

How come I didn’t realize I had bad breath until I started having to wear a mask when I go out in public?

The unpleasantness of having bad breath is certainly not on the same scale as war and famine, but when it comes to our daily lives and social interactions, there is certainly nothing good about it. What’s even worse is realizing that we didn’t even know that we had it. Who knows how long we could have been walking around with everyone aware of it but us? 

First, if you have recently become aware of bad breath, or halitosis, which is the medical term for ongoing or chronic bad breath, it is not being caused by the mask you are now having to wear to the grocery store. Your mask is simply trapping the odor and, literally, hitting you in the face with it so that you may be smelling it for the first time. 

Believe it or not, your mask is doing you a favor. Bad breath is bad enough but having it more than on an infrequent garlic-induced occasion and not knowing it is far worse. 

Why We May Be Unaware of Our Own Bad Breath

We rarely miss someone else’s bad breath. It usually turns out to be someone we are trapped with, in a slow-moving line or small space. Not wanting to be rude or unkind, it’s often a difficult situation, even more so if it is someone we know but do not feel comfortable enough with to let them know that they have an issue. 

This is a big part of the problem because people are often totally unaware of their own bad breath. At least, not until they are forced to wear an odor-catching mask across their face. 

Why we aren’t aware of our own breath issues is not known for sure. Some believe it is because we have become so used to it that we just don’t notice it anymore. Because the nose and the oral cavities are connected at the back of the mouth, some researchers think there may be a possibility that the brain’s process of sensory adaptation filters the odor out. 

Causes of Bad Breath

Whatever the reason, why we don’t notice our own bad breath is far less of an issue than learning what is causing it and making the changes necessary to correct it. We may believe that the social embarrassment of having bad breath is the problem, but, in fact, more than occasional issues with bad breath, caused by certain foods or things like sleeping with your mouth open, can be a sign of a serious health issue. Uncontrolled diabetes and advanced liver or kidney disease are just some of the possibilities. 

Some of the other common causes of chronic bad breath include:

  • Periodontal disease — one more reason why good dental hygiene is so important. Trapped food particles resulting from improper or infrequent brushing and flossing can lead to periodontal infections, as well as the accompanying unpleasant odor.
  • Smoking — all forms of oral tobacco use are associated with unpleasant odors in the mouth.
  • Dry mouth — when caused by disease or glandular issues.
  • Dentures — particularly those that are ill-fitting or not consistently and adequately cleaned.
  • Other medical conditions — besides those previously mentioned, acid reflux, sinus conditions, metabolic disorders, and even some types of cancers can result in chronic bad breath.
  • Drugs and medications 

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Categories: General Dentistry