Dentist explains how to prevent risk for increased cavities while wearing face masks

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020
How you can lower your risk of cavities while wearing masks
Watch the video above to see how one dentist says you can prevent cavities while wearing your face mask.

A pediatric dentist in Houston is seeing an increase in patients with cavities and believes it could be linked to wearing face masks.

Dr. Piya Ghandi, a board certified pediatric dentist and owner of two dental practices, says it's not the face masks causing cavities directly, but the way people breathe when they wear them.

"If you're not used to (masks), it really can impede on our comfort of breathing. So what we tend to do is start breathing through our mouth rather than breathing through our nose, and what happens when you're a chronic mouth breather -- you know, particularly which people are becoming with masks on -- is that we tend to dry out the mouth," Ghandi said. "So saliva that usually protects our teeth from cavities is now getting dried out and making us more prone to cavities."

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Ghandi strongly recommends people still wear masks, especially in public, but urges people take steps to prevent dry mouth syndrome with the following suggestions:

  • Take breaks to drink water
  • Eat hard sugar-free candy to help produce saliva
  • Brush your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups

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As educators around the country hatch plans to bring kids back to school amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the debate around how to do that safely is becoming more complex and confusing by the day. Should students wear masks? When and for how long?