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Oral health and mask use at risk?

 Continued use of masks threatens to change oral hygiene habits

Oral health and mask use at risk?

For more than a year now, masks have become part of our daily lives. This raises some questions regarding oral health and warns about the possibility of negatively modifying some oral hygiene habits.

The use of the mask is one of the most effective measures in the prevention of Covid-19; but the fact of having more than the lower half of our face covered, about 8 hours a day, can make us forget about it, taking away the importance it deserves. Oral hygiene should not be neglected; on the contrary, this is the time to intensify and be more rigorous with oral cavity care measures. 
The truth is that since the arrival of this "new normal", many of our habits have been modified. It has become difficult to brush our teeth outside the home, either for fear of contagion or because in some establishments it is not allowed to use the bathroom for this purpose, due to the risk of spreading the virus by aerosol dispersion.
Also, the oral health specialist says that prolonged use of the mask can cause us to drink fewer fluids, for fear of removing the mask and being left unprotected. In this sense, the lack of water can produce alterations in the oral cavity, favoring the development of oral pathologies. Water helps in the self-cleaning process of the mouth, provides fluoride in the case of fluoridated water, and favors the production of saliva.
With the current knowledge, it is concluded that masks are not responsible for the appearance of oral pathologies. However, it is important to insist on the need to choose the most appropriate mask and use it correctly, as well as to take care of our oral health. We should maintain a diet of healthy food and drink, not neglect our oral hygiene and follow a proper protocol of check-ups at the dentist.
We should also remember that from the age of 65 onwards several changes in the oral cavity can lead to oral pathologies, such as xerostomia, tooth loss, caries, periodontal disease, and oral cancer, of which thousands of cases are detected every year.

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