Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street. Children wearing face masks for protection against COVD-19 walk on a city street.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

No, mask wearing won't ruin your teeth.

Recently, there has been a lot of online chatter about "mask mouth" – an alleged condition that results from wearing a mask all day and causes tooth decay or gum disease, especially among children.

But the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has "taken a position that current evidence does not support the notion of mask mouth," said Col. Thomas Stark, consultant to the Army Surgeon General for pediatric dentistry and an orofacial pain specialist at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

"To date, there have not been any studies demonstrating a connection between mask use and tooth decay," Stark said.

The truth is that people's dental routine and check-up schedules have been thrown off by the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why dentists may be seeing more cavities or other dental problems.

Missing dental appointments can result in a host of infections requiring root canals, or inflammatory conditions such as gingivitis (bleeding gums). But any uptick in dental problems among children cannot be attributed to wearing masks at school, explained Army Maj. Matthew Eusterman, a pediatric dentist at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Any increase in cavities that dentists may be seeing, Eusterman said, is more likely attributed to other factors, such as:

  • The 2020 mandatory military dental clinic closures that delayed treatment for many kids
  • Families foregoing routine dental care for their kids during the recommended quarantines of the past 18 months
  • Kids spending more time at home may be snacking more often, meaning their exposure to cavity-causing foods may have increased
  • While spending more time at home, some families also may be brushing their teeth less often than the suggested American Dental Association guideline of at least twice a day after meals

"Even if there is an increase in tooth decay since the pandemic started, we do not have the data to support a causal relationship with mask use," Stark said.

Stark noted that wearing a mask all day is a long-standing practice in his field of medicine.

"If a link between masks and cavities were to exist, dental personnel would certainly have an increased risk since we wear masks all day," he said.

According to a March 2021 survey by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, there has not been a meaningful increase in oral conditions such as bad breath and dry mouth compared to pre-pandemic.

You also may be interested in...

A full night’s sleep could be the best defense against COVID-19

Article
3/23/2020
Sleep is critical for maintaining physical, cognitive and immunological dominance on and off the battlefield. Leaders must prioritize sleep as a valuable asset in maintaining readiness and resilience, especially in the context of multi-domain operations and increased health risks worldwide – including those risks associated with exposure to infectious diseases (U.S. Army photo by Robert Timmons)

Getting more sleep could dramatically improve your odds of avoiding infection

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness

Air Force takes steps to assure ‘unblinking’ operations, readiness and capabilities amid pandemic

Article
3/23/2020
Air Force medics and health personnel around the globe are resolutely following and ensuring compliance with guidelines issued by the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg.

Within the Air Force, our medics are executing all available measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Addressing emotional responses to threat of Coronavirus

Article
3/20/2020
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kathleen A. Myhre, 446th Airman and Family Readiness Center noncommissioned officer in charge, meditates outside the 446th Airlift Wing Headquarters building on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Feb. 12, 2020. Myhre traveled to India in 2016 to study to become an internationally-certified yoga instructor. She now shares her holistic training with Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mary A. Andom)

Even if you’re feeling healthy, medical professionals recommend staying home and limiting social contact as much as possible

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Physical Fitness | Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Place addresses DHA COVID-19 response

Article
3/19/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, and Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, surgeon general of the Navy, discuss plans for additional COVID-19 response efforts with the Pentagon Press Corps.

Crisis Action Team part of broad-based effort

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Life Support Training Extension

Publication
3/19/2020

The purpose of this memorandum is to set policy guidance within the Military Health System for American Red Cross life support training (First Aid/cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/automated external defibrillator (AED), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD ready to help with Coronavirus, but capability limited

Article
3/17/2020
Misook Choe, a laboratory manager with the Emerging Infectious Disease branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., runs a test during research into a solution for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, March 3, 2020. The Emerging Infectious Diseases branch, established in 2018, has the explicit mission to survey, anticipate and counter the mounting threat of emerging infectious diseases of key importance to U.S. forces in the homeland and abroad. (U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Walters)

The DoD has only about 2% to 3% of the number of hospital beds that the private sector has

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

How DHA monitors the spread of health outbreaks

Article
3/13/2020
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) is the central epidemiologic resource for the U.S. Armed Forces, conducting medical surveillance to protect those who serve our nation in uniform and allies who are critical to our national security interests. AFHSB provides timely, relevant, actionable and comprehensive health surveillance information to promote, maintain, and enhance the health of military and military-associated populations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)

The Defense Health Agency works as a combat support agency to the military services and Military Health System

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD issues flexible instructions on response to Coronavirus

Article
3/13/2020
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (CDC Illustration)

The memo covers aspects from before the outbreak through all levels of infection

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Terry M. Rauch, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Force Health Protection and Readiness Regarding U.S. Biodefense and Response to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak [Testified] Before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Congressional Testimony
3/11/2020

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19: Know what the terms mean

Article
3/10/2020
Image of a soldier taking the temperature of another soldier. Click to open a larger version of the image.

Learning the language can help you stay safe

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Article
3/6/2020
A Guardsmen with the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion conducts translation work on a safety message regarding the best practices for avoiding the novel coronavirus for the Washington Department of Health on Feb. 9, 2020 at the Information Operations Readiness Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Courtesy Photo)

Although news stories and images contain many reports of people wearing surgical masks to ward off the virus, that's not recommended

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD makes plans to combat Coronavirus

Article
3/4/2020
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak to reporters at the Pentagon, March 2, 2020. (DoD photo Lisa Ferdinando)

The number one priority remains to protect our forces and their families

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus

MHS Prepared to Support Interagency Coronavirus Response

Article
2/6/2020
Airmen assist one another in donning their personal protective equipment, while on-board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during transportation isolation system training at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Department of Defense can use to safely transport patients with diseases like novel coronavirus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

From R&D to force health protection, MHS protects DoD personnel and families

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DOD Releases Guidance to Protect Forces from Novel Coronavirus

Article
1/31/2020
The novel coronavirus is a variant of other coronaviruses, such as this colorized transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus particles (blue) found near the periphery of an infected VERO E6 cell (yellow). Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Photo by NIAID)

Basic infection controls offer best defense against illness

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What Providers, Patients Should Know

Article
1/24/2020
Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain’s has caused alarm. (CDC graphic)

Believed to have originated at an animal market in Wuhan City, China, the first case of novel coronavirus in the U.S. was reported January 22 in Washington State. What to do now that the virus has appeared in U.S.?

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus
<< < ... 41 42 43 44 > >> 
Showing results 631 - 645 Page 43 of 44

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.