NEW STUDY: Mask Usage a Disaster for Dental Health

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Thursday 26 May 2059 66869 Shares

NEW STUDY: Mask Usage a Disaster for Dental Health

By Glenn T. Jacobs

BOSTON - A newly released Harvard study is causing waves in the dental community, and forcing many experts to re-evaluate the risks and rewards of wearing masks as America emerges from the COVID 19 pandemic.

The study, published in the American Journal of Dentistry, links extended face mask usage to an increase in gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. The study also shows some evidence that wearing masks could lead to an increase in impacted teeth, and cause people to develop unhealthy oral health habits, such as jaw clenching and heavy breathing.

"What we have found is that face masks, while effective in preventing the transmission of COVID 19, are a nightmare for your teeth," said Dr. Isaac Yankem, a professor at Harvard Dental School, and the principal investigator on the study.

"I would say that the mask mandates ending could not have come at a better time," Yankem continued. "If you must continue to wear a mask, remember to floss, and be less aggressive while brushing, especially near your gum line."

The study, which included some 40,000 Bostonians, is now being debated by public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Neither has released as statement as of yet, but the CDC has altered its mask requirements to permit fully vaccinated adults to socialize outside without masks.

It remains to be seen how these new findings will impact public health policy for the duration of the pandemic.

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