The cycle of life and death is measured by decay – when dentists are faced with cavities and tooth decay, our jobs involve removing that decay and preserving your tooth’s life as much as possible. But besides the usual causes, such as poor oral hygiene habits and genetic health risks, tooth decay can be caused by environmental factors like black mold. Why black mold? Well, black mold is one of the leading causes of respiratory problems within the United States. For families living in homes that contain heavy amounts of moisture, that mold can affect your teeth without you realizing it.
How Black Mold Cause Cavities and Tooth Decay
Among the 300,000 species of fungi, black mold is one of the main culprits of many respiratory and nasal problems for people within the U.S. Black mold comes from the bacteria Stachybotrys, and develops indoors due to retained moisture from wet wood frames, insufficient wall insulation, leaky roofs, and installed A/C units. For families living in these conditions, government websites such as FEMA can provide more information about how molds and fungi spread throughout the house and how they affect families and their health. According to FEMA, black mold and other types of fungi often thrive under moist, humid conditions, meaning if areas of the home aren’t able to dry off, it can allow the mold to spread. These mold species often spread through spores, also called mycotoxins, which can affect the respiratory and nasal passageways.
For us dentists, this means that many of the spores that get caught in the nasal passageways will inadvertently affect the mouth. Due to the constant exposure to these spores, coughing, irritation, aches and pain, and dry mouth coincide, which leaves the mouth vulnerable to other bacteria. Mouth breathing and the lack of saliva caused by dry mouth often leave people more vulnerable to cavities. When saliva isn’t able to produce fast enough, it creates a breeding area for bacteria to form plaque and build over the enamel and cause tooth decay.
What Can You Do To Prevent Black Mold
Because we’re dentists, we value your health – we recommend following FEMA’s guidelines on removing and cleaning out mold from your home. If you or your loved ones recognize any signs of black mold infestations in your home and begin to experience symptoms related to black mold, then we highly suggest the following:
- Seek Medical Attention: For emergencies, such as difficulties breathing, severe headaches, and heavy coughing, contact your emergency department.
- Visit Your ENT: Your ears, nose, and throat doctor can help diagnose and treat your symptoms and help provide antibiotic medication to remove any infection caused by the black mold.
- Visit Your Dentist: If you began to notice any signs of toothaches or cavities, schedule an appointment with your dentist to address these issues, and receive treatment.
Black mold can be drastic to your health, and because of the connections between black mold and cavities, we suggest seeing your dentist protect you and your family’s health from mycotoxins and potential tooth decay.