For children, sugary food is often the main culprits for cavities, and thanks to many parents and their proactive choices, the average percentage of children’s cavities has been decreasing overtime! According to the CDC, only 16% of children between ages 5 to 19 years old have untreated cavities. But even while that percentage continues to decrease, many families still affected by cavities can find themselves in situations less than ideal. For some families, even proper diet and oral hygiene may not fight against this cavity-causing factor. If your family appears to have more cavities than you would like, then we suggest looking around your home for an unusual but dangerous culprit – black mold.
How Black Mold Causes Tooth Decay in Children
Black mold, as we currently know of it, doesn’t cause tooth decay directly. Rather, it occurs as a side effect of certain symptoms often associated with black mold. As we all know, cavities develop from plaque buildup left untreated, containing bacteria harmful to the tooth’s enamel or the tooth’s outer surface. Bacteria love moist warm environments, and when added sugars are mixed into the scenario, a person’s mouth can become a haven for bacteria to grow and fester over time. But if your children have been relatively good about keeping up with their brushing and flossing, then black mold may cause it. Here’s what we know about black mold, according to sources from FEMA:
- Black mold is just one out of 300,000 species of fungi that often develop in homes. These fungi cause respiratory and nasal problems, often due to the release of mycotoxins or spores, which land and spread everywhere.
- These spores then travel through the nasal passages and into the lungs, where heavy amounts of irritation occur. Some common symptoms of black mold infestations include coughing, sneezing fits, skin rashes, headaches, and wheezing.
- All that coughing and wheezing can lead to dry mouth. When dry mouth happens, there’s a significant decrease in saliva production. Because saliva production is crucial towards ridding bacteria’s mouth, harmful bacteria can grow and fester, leading to cavities and dry sockets.
While there is an association between black mold and cavity development, more research is needed to understand whether black mold causes cavities in people’s teeth.
How to Prevent Black Mold From Developing in Your Home
As pediatric dentists, we highly recommend following FEMA’s guidelines on ridding your home of black mold. If you’re experiencing any severe respiratory or nasal symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for a proper diagnosis, and if you find black mold in your home, contact a professional mold remover to clean and disinfect your home from black mold and its spores. We also recommend visiting your dentist if you notice that your child has begun to develop more cavities than usual.