Your eyes don’t lie, and your mask can’t hide your smile —Dr. Donald Dexter.

Whether we like it or not, the need to wear masks is here for a while, and we need to remain vigilant and comply with the rules.

We are all in this together, and the issue of wearing a mask should not have to be divisive. The caring and compassionate thing is to accept our responsibility to wear a mask to protect others. I wear my mask to protect you; will you do the same for me?


A variety of masks


Here are four tips for wearing a mask.


  • Wear an appropriate mask. The N95 respirator is the most effective protection, followed by paper surgical masks and cloth masks. Not everyone has access to N95 masks, and not all situations require that degree of protection. Double up when you can; wearing a paper surgical mask underneath your cloth mask provides extra protection.

  • Wear your mask safely. For full benefit, completely cover your nose and mouth, and do not wear your mask if it has become wet or soiled.

  • Always wear your mask when and where you are required. Comply with regulations and do not challenge the people tasked with regulating mask compliance. That person may not have made the rules, but they are responsible for enforcing them. Have empathy for the position they are in and be kind and considerate.

  • Improve your oral health while also improving your breathing. Pop a xylitol mint in your mouth before putting on your mask. People are likely to breathe more rapidly and through their mouths while wearing a mask. It is less efficient for oxygen uptake than breathing through your nose, so sucking on a menthol mint while wearing your mask can help condition you to breathe through your nose. Make sure that it’s a xylitol mint because of the dental protective benefits from xylitol.


Mask up for yourself, mask up for our community

Donald R. Dexter, Jr., DMD