Tooth decay is a rampant issue among Americans. More than half of adolescents have at least one cavity. Cavities are the most common chronic disease for children 6-19. 9 out of 10 adults have tooth decay. Most of the attention to this issue focuses on diet as the main culprit. While diet is important, new research is showing that Americans are much more sugar-conscious than the previous decades. Sugar is not the smoking gun of tooth decay as it was previously. If you are careful with sugar in your diet and still struggle with chronic tooth decay, you might consider other causes. One surprising link has been made between black mold and tooth decay.
What is Black Mold?
Black mold is any mold that grows easily in moist areas and is black. There is actually not one specific mold that is called “black mold” but it is rather a description of molds that are black in color. One of the mold types that is most commonly linked with health concerns, allergies, and asthma is Stachybotrys chartarum. Stachybotrys chartarum is black in color and commonly grows in damp, dark areas.
How Might I Be Exposed to Black Mold?
Black molds are often found in homes, especially homes that are older, have chronic dampness, or have been left vacant. Once mold is present in the home it can be very difficult to completely eliminate it as mold frequently shoots spores into the air which travel to new places and seed new growth. Additionally, mold often begins growing because of moisture, so if the source of the moisture is not resolved, it could grow back easily. Another source for mold is inside drinking cups and water bottles, especially if they have sections where water could become trapped and are not easy to clean.
How Does Black Mold Impact my Oral Health?
Black mold can cause several health complications, but the most common are respiratory. Many people are allergic to mold spores. This leads to irritation of the mucus membranes and causes stuffy or runny noses, inflamed or irritated gums, difficulty breathing, and coughing. The main theory for why this could lead to an increase in dental cavities is because nasal congestion forces you to breathe through your mouth. Mouth breathing is very damaging to your oral health. It commonly leads to dry mouth, which plays an important role in protecting your teeth from decay. Additionally, the irritation and inflammation of gums can harbor harmful bacteria that cause decay.
What Should I Do?
If you think you may have a mold issue in your home, it’s important to get professional consultation to remove it. Mold can decrease your quality of life and overall health. It’s especially dangerous when it’s in your home since you spend at least 8-10 hours there everyday while you sleep. If you have tooth sensitivity or bleeding gums, you can also contact your dentist for their opinion. If you notice your mouth is often dry, try to increase your daily intake of water as well.