Did you know exposure to mold can cause dental issues? Most people know that mold can cause health problems like coughing, sneezing and even pneumonia, but it can also cause dental problems like bleeding gums, which people don’t often associate with mold. People may mistakenly think they just aren’t caring for their teeth properly.
While more and more physicians are becoming aware of the impact mold can have on a patients’ health and may ask patients displaying symptoms of mold-related illness about possible mold exposure, dentists may not consider the fact that mold in the home could be contributing to their patients’ oral health issues. And while physicians may be aware of the more common symptoms of mold exposure, like respiratory problems and allergic reactions, they may not realize mold can also cause dental problems. It’s important to be aware of all the potential health problems mold exposure can cause, including those related to oral health, in order to make sure you receive the treatment you need.
Mold reproduces by means of microscopic spores, too small to see with the naked eye. Inhalation of these spores causes the respiratory problems commonly associated with mold. Mold spores are also responsible for some of the dental issues related to mold exposure.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, mold spores can become lodged in mucus membranes, the delicate linings of the nose, mouth, throat and sinuses. Mold spores irritate the mucus membranes and can cause a burning sensation. Bleeding may also result.
Some types of mold produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Exposure to mycotoxins causes additional health problems beyond those triggered by inhalation of mold spores. It’s the mycotoxins produced by stachybotrys chartarum, also referred to as black mold, that makes this strain of mold so hazardous. Some mycotoxins can cause the mucus membranes to bleed, triggering nose bleeds are well as gums that bleed easily.
And remember those respiratory problems commonly associated with mold? If your nose is stuffed up, causing you to breathe through your mouth, that can be bad for your teeth. That’s because breathing through your mouth dries out your mouth and decreases the production of saliva. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralizes acid in the mouth, so without adequate saliva, tooth decay and cavities may result. A dry mouth can also lead to gum disease and cause bad breath.
Of course, good oral hygiene can help. Brush and floss your teeth daily and limit your sugar intake. Basic oral hygiene won’t be enough to prevent mold-related dental issues, however.
You should see a dentist every six months for an examination and dental cleaning. If you notice any problems between routine visits, such as bleeding gums, increased sensitivity or pain, make an appointment. If you’re suffering from gum disease, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, a dentist that specializes in the gums. Let your dentist know about any other symptoms you may be experiencing and if you’ve been exposed to mold at home.
If you are experiencing other symptoms of mold-related illness, such as coughing, sneezing, headaches, a sore throat, or a rash or hives, see your internist or primary care physician. You can read more about other symptoms of mold-related health problems here. Make sure you tell your doctor about any dental issues you are experiencing along with your other symptoms.
If you are being treated by both a medical doctor and a dentist or periodontist for mold-related health problems, you can sign a release of information form allowing your health care providers to communicate regarding your diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to getting the medical and dental treatment you need, you must arrange to have the mold removed from your home in order to prevent further harmful exposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends consulting your physician before attempting to remove mold yourself if you are experiencing mold-related health problems, since the process of removing mold stirs up the mold spores and exposes you to the mycotoxins that are making you sick. Whether you want to hire someone to do the work for you or plan to do it yourself, you can schedule a free consultation with a mold removal professional to get more information about the clean up process. Just follow this link to find experienced professionals offering free consultations in your area.