A medical face mask, sometimes referred to as an oral guard, is meant for nurses to wear while performing medical procedures. It is designed in such a way to protect the health of staff and patients by capturing bacteria in droplets and liquids expelled by the patient’s mouth and nose and thereby preventing infections. While a mouth guard provides a temporary solution for preventing infection during medical procedures, it is not an effective remedy to long term protection.
The mouth guard can be made up of rubber or silicone and it works in a similar fashion to a mouth guard used for sports. A rubber mouth guard is more comfortable for nurses because they are not required to wear gloves when cleaning instruments. The silicone guard has a different advantage in that it allows air to circulate around the mouth and thus prevents infections from spreading. Unfortunately, the silicone material wears down after prolonged use.
Guards are not only used for prevention but also for reducing the risk of an infection occurring. In a study performed at the University of California Los Angeles, researchers concluded that in the workplace, there is a risk of developing a cold or flu virus and this is increased with the use of contaminated gloves.
A mouth guard not only prevents contamination but it also acts to absorb any bacteria that does escape. Because bacteria are unable to enter the guard, it remains in the mouth cavity rather than the throat or lungs which allows for thorough cleansing and proper disinfection.
Health care workers often have multiple patients to deal with and a single infection can easily lead to the death of a patient. By wearing a guard, these nurses can protect themselves and their patients from this kind of tragedy. There are numerous types of mouth guards available on the market but most offer no benefit other than providing comfort.
Patients need to feel confident that they are protected and therefore should always consider wearing a guard. While there are benefits of wearing a guard for medical reasons, it is still important to research a product before using it for any medical condition. It can be useful to wear a guard for protection but if they are not worn properly they may not provide complete protection and therefore should never be used for anything other than the recommended use. They must fit correctly and it is also advisable to remove them immediately following a patient’s last meal to avoid infection.