8 January 2021

3 mins read

What Is ‘Mask Breath’, And How To Beat It?

Do you have mask breath? Here’s how to combat it and when it signals underlying health concerns.

Face masks – they are absolutely essential, but often pack a funky smell known as ‘mask breath’ beneath that three-ply layer. If the term sounds familiar to you, then bad news: the culprit behind your ‘mask breath’ is not the mask itself – but your own bad breath.

There’s no such thing as ‘mask breath’ – just bad breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, is not uncommon. 

More than 80 million people worldwide are victims of it, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. A recent Cosmopolitan article explained that people are only noticing their halitosis now as their masks trap and keep their breaths close to their noses. This forces them to smell and contend with it – much like when you cup your hands over your mouth and breathe out.

Bacteria and dry mouths lead to bad breath

Your mouth is also home to numerous bacteria (over six billion, to be exact). When we exhale orally, the noxious and wet air that is created by these bacteria comes in contact with your mask’s fabric – leaving behind that familiar ‘mask breath’ odour. Meanwhile, essential things like breathing and talking take up saliva and water. As our mouths become parched, retained food particles cannot be washed away – resulting in halitosis that can be exacerbated by strong-scented foods.

For instance, the smell of coffee can linger in one’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion, while onions are broken down in the stomach before their odour is released through the lungs.

Good oral hygiene is key

Surprise, surprise! Guess what – good oral hygiene clears up the bacteria behind halitosis. What most people do not know is that most of these bacteria reside on the tongue – one of the more neglected areas in our oral health. While you can scrub it with a toothbrush, dental experts recommend a tongue cleanser and mouth rinse for the best results.

The halitosis-causing bacteria also builds up on your teeth in the form of plaque, a colourless sticky film. 

 

dance tooth GIF by Chris Timmons

 

So, you may want to consider investing in an high-performance sonic toothbrush that polishes off plaque efficiently. The Zenyum Sonic, for example, has 33,000 vibrations a minute, which is ten times faster than electric toothbrushes and a hundred times faster than manual ones. Its fine bristles are also able to access hard-to-reach crevices between teeth, allowing you to beat that ‘mask breath’ by preventing the build-up of pesky plaque.

When should you be concerned about your bad breath?

In brief, you are probably already suffering from halitosis before the pandemic if you have ‘mask breath’ now – and the best way around this is to simply have proper dental hygiene. Do note that if your bad breath stubbornly persists, you ought to seek medical help immediately as chronic halitosis may be indicative of more serious health conditions.

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What Is ‘Mask Breath’, And How To Beat It?