Getting Headaches or Feeling Fatigued After Wearing a Mask? By Sheryl Nieds, RDH

Smile Solutions Has Some Tips

As a dental hygienist for over 25+ years, I've been wearing masks for my entire career and am used to them. But wearing them is new to everyone else.  Although I have to admit, I wasn't used to wearing them 8 hours straight and it did take some getting used to it.  After those long days I did find myself ready for a nap or fitting a headache.  You too?

Well there is some science behind it and it comes down to oxygen and water, the two main components we need to survive.

Last year I got trained in Oral Myofunctional Disorders (OMD). What is OMD?  Basically, if we aren't breathing right it leads to growth and development issues in kids. It also has list of other symptoms it can cans such as speech, attention problems, picky eating, bed wetting, etc. For us adults, it leads to snoring, sleep apnea and obesity and we know the other symptoms that goes along with those!

Breathing the correct way is the place I start when treating patients. We are suppose to breathe through our nose and many breath through their mouth instead. Why is nose breathing so important you ask?  Well, first it filters the air like our masks do.  Then it moistens the air going into our lungs.  Most importantly, it adds nitric oxide (no not the laughing gas kind) into our lungs.  Nitric oxide causes those little air sacs on our lungs to expand, thus taking in more oxygen into our bodies and taking more carbon dioxide out of our bodies.  So, tip #1-Remind yourself while wearing mask to nose breath.  Sometimes wearing a mask we feel like we are not getting enough oxygen so we gulp air through our mouth without even noticing it. This actually can cause hyperventilation = not good. Simple science here=breath through your nose and your body functions better, thus reducing fatigue and headaches!

But what about the headaches? No water=brain dries up just like hangover headaches. So, tip #2-Chug water whenever you can!!  Step out of the office periodically or jump into the break room and chug some good ole H20 down!

In conclusion, close your lips unless your chugging water! If you or your child is struggling being able to breath through your nose (with or without a mask), I can help! I am able to evaluate and come up a series of exercises that help make a world of difference. Think of it as physical therapy for the tongue and muscles of the face/mouth.

Email me with questions or call the office to request an evaluation. 608-227-700

Keep Smiling,

Sheryl, Dental Hygienist