Mask-wearing has been one of the biggest changes impacting our daily lives over the past year or so due to the ongoing pandemic. As dental professionals, we have always had to wear masks as a part of our jobs, but now, in many situations, we are required to wear them when we go out. In addition, our friends and family members who have never worn masks before are adjusting to covering their faces before they leave home. As mask-wearing is so commonplace, a prevalent concern is finding a mask that is both comfortable and effective. This goal has been challenging, but I am here to tell you, it’s definitely attainable!
Problems associated with wearing a mask
The top complaint hygienists have about masks is that they are uncomfortable. Finding the proper fit can be quite challenging—often masks are too loose or too tight. An article in the Washington Post mentions how masks often cause glasses to fog up, noses to become itchy, and ears to get pulled along with voices being muffled.1 It can be difficult to breathe, especially when wearing multiple masks. Another concern related to wearability is that some masks tend to slide up too high on the face and obscure the field of vision. All of these issues are valid concerns that leave people wanting to avoid wearing a mask at all.
When I went back to work after the dental shutdown, mask shortages were prevalent. I was often required to use whatever type of mask that was available. I was subbing at quite a few offices at that time, and that experience afforded me the opportunity to try out a vast array of masks. Unfortunately, most of the time I was left feeling frustrated. I was really beginning to wonder if there was a mask in existence that could provide adequate protection and a comfortable fit.Enter: the Cosmo face mask by Cranberry
Recently I was introduced to the Cosmo mask which is manufactured by Cranberry USA. This mask has a unique quad-fold design that provides 15% more breathing volume.2 It also has an ASTM level-three bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of over 99.8%, which exceeds the standard level of 98%. The mask has a particulate filtration efficiency of .1 micron. I have always been a big fan of Cranberry’s products, and I was curious to see how this mask would perform for me.When I first put this mask on, I immediately noticed that it had
The Cosmo mask comes in a selection of three colors: comet blue, galactic green, and stellar purple. The overall esthetic is something my coworkers found most appealing. When I first tried out the masks, the assistant at my job immediately noticed the beautiful colors and asked if she could try one for herself. The next day she asked me for more and was searching to see where she could purchase them. I’ve found other masks to be quite drab, but I daresay these masks make a fashion statement. I even found myself color-coordinating my scrubs and mask on a daily basis.
What do other hygienists think?
For the survey mentioned earlier in this article, Cranberry sent out large sample packs of the Cosmo mask to 25 hygienists across the country to try out for several weeks. Nineteen survey responses were received; let’s review some details about what these clinicians thought (figures 1-3).
Hygienists were asked what they considered to be the top three features in a mask. Comfort came out on top, with features such as price and fluid resistance being a close second. More than two-thirds of the respondents stated that the Cosmo mask was an improvement over their current mask for comfort and breathability. As far as the color selection, stellar purple came out as the favorite by far.
The hygienists were questioned about the fit and the protection offered by the Cosmo mask featuring the dual-pinch adjustable band on both the top and bottom. There were a plethora of positive comments with one hygienist remarking that she “was able to cup the mask around the contour of [her] face shape better than others.” Another hygienist further elaborated by stating that this mask “fits tighter on [her] face and doesn’t move up and down when talking with patients.”
One hygienist raved, “I love everything about them. They feel sturdy and thick but allow you to breathe. The iridescent color resulted in many compliments from my coworkers.” Another reviewer even went as far as to say that it “almost makes you forget you have a mask on.”
When it comes to the masks I’ve used in the past, I had just kind of accepted that I was never going to get everything I wanted. Masks were just an inconvenience associated with my job that I had to put up with. Thankfully, I can unequivocally say that the Cosmo mask by Cranberry has all the qualities I’ve been searching for in a mask for close to 20 years. Cranberry’s dedication to producing high-caliber products has always impressed me, and this time around they exceeded my every expectation. Cheers to a mask that I look forward to wearing!
1. Pearl S. The reason that we are so uncomfortable wearing masks. Washington Post. May 7, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/05/07/reason-were-so-uncomfortable-wearing-masks-may-surprise-you/
2. Cranberry USA website. https://www.cranberryglobal.com/facemasks
AMBER METRO-SANCHEZ, BA, RDH, practices dental hygiene with Chris Bible, DDS, at Comfort Dental in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She also works as a professional educator on behalf of Waterpik. She is a contributing author for the Colgate Professional and Colgate Oral Care Center webpages. You may contact her at [email protected].