Dear Editor:

I’m worried that Dr. Moon’s speculations on a link between mask wearing and cracked teeth could be used as an argument against wearing masks that prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Review, Dec. 9). I wish he had based his “theory” on scientific study and not anecdotal evidence from a very small sample.

On the face of it, the idea seems far-fetched. How long does the average person wear a mask on a given day? How effective

is the average mask in blocking normal respiration?

I assume Dr. Moon and his staff wear masks most of the day as most dentists do. Have they experienced an increase in cracked teeth? As a retired registered nurse, I can’t recall any similar problems among operating room nurses who wear surgical masks for hours every day. During the HIV pandemic, we wore masks daily for the greater part of a 12-hour shift and again I recall no dental problems. Given the extensive use of highly effective masks in medical centers and especially over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic and given the intensive investigation of all the consequences of the pandemic, I think any dental-related issues would have surfaced.

Since I’m retired, I wear a mask (typically a PM 2.5 or N95) about an hour a week during errands. I think I’m getting a crack in one of my molars, but I think it is more related to age and use and to me not going to the dentist for a year while I’ve been hunkered down at home. And I’m not going to the dentist until it breaks because I don’t want to take the risk. Sounds like this type of reasoning could explain a lot of Dr. Moon’s recent experience.

A.J. Vollmer


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