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Dental Tips to Prevent Black Fungus

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Dental Tips to Prevent Black Fungus

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COVID patients are more prone to the black fungus disease. Read the article to learn about dental tips to follow for preventing this black fungus disease.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Anuthanyaa. R

Published At June 8, 2021
Reviewed AtOctober 5, 2023

Introduction:

Black fungus infection has emerged as a threat to patients who have recently defeated COVID-19 infection. Apart from these patients, many uncontrolled diabetics and others with compromised immunity are also getting infected. Many states in India have already declared black fungus infection as an epidemic. The seriousness is due to the speed at which the infection can spread and become fatal even before anyone can realize it. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to identify the disease as early as possible so that it can be treated.

Which Fungi Causes Black Fungus Disease?

Mucormycetes fungi cause black fungus, which belongs to the class of Zygomycetes. It is commonly found in soil, filthy tanks, organic matter, and animal feces, and it cannot spread from man to man or from an animal to man.

How Does the Fungus Enter the Body?

The fungus enters the body most commonly through inhalation of spores present in the air. Other ways it enters the body are through ingestion and through direct contact via cuts in the skin.

Who Can All Get This Fungal Infection?

  1. Patients undergoing COVID-19 treatment.

  2. Patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection.

  3. Patients with high levels of blood sugar.

  4. Patients undergoing steroid therapy.

  5. Those who are hospitalized for a long period of time.

  6. Organ transplant patients.

  7. Other diseases like HIV and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Can It Occur in Any Other Parts of the Body?

It can spread to other parts of the body like,

  • Lungs.

  • GI tract.

  • Skin.

  • Rarely in other organs too.

How Does This Fungal Infection Spread?

The fungal infection most commonly follows a particular path of infection from beginning to end. The infection frequently starts from the mouth, spreads through the sinus to the nose and throat. Then it takes the path towards the eye and then finally perforates the skull bone to enter the brain. The total time taken for the spread from the mouth to the brain may be less than a week. Therefore, the early identification of the infection becomes extremely important.

How to Identify the Disease?

The below-mentioned are the symptoms to identify with the disease.

In the Mouth:

  1. Black-colored gums or palate or any other part of the mouth.

  2. Large ulcer in the palate or the gums.

  3. Moderate to severely painful gums.

  4. Bad odor from the mouth.

  5. Sudden loosening of the teeth.

  6. Discharge from the gums with a foul taste.

In the Nose:

  1. Stuffiness of the nose.

  2. Nasal or sinus congestion.

  3. Black lesions on the bridge of the nose.

In the Eye:

  1. One-sided facial swelling.

  2. Redness of one eye.

  3. Popping out of one eye.

  4. Double vision or sudden loss of vision.

  5. Facial numbness.

In the Brain:

  1. Moderate to high fever.

  2. Confusion.

  3. Paralysis.

  4. Coma.

What Happens to the Body Parts Which Are Affected?

Black fungus is extremely invasive and has the tendency to cause necrosis to the affected areas.

  • In the Mouth - A portion or the whole of the upper jaw will be lost.

  • At the Level of the Nose - The person may lose the inner portions of the nose and throat along with the already lost upper jaw.

  • At the Level of the Eye - The person may lose the eye and the associated structures along with the parts mentioned above.

  • At the Level of the Brain - The patient usually slips to coma, and the fatality rate is very high when this stage is reached.

What Are the Dental Tips to Be Followed to Prevent Black Fungus?

Since the disease starts in the mouth, it is obvious that taking utmost care of the mouth becomes a thing of paramount importance.

1. Maintain Oral Hygiene:

The importance of maintaining perfect oral hygiene cannot be overemphasized. Brushing twice daily and use of an antiseptic mouthwash is also a must. Flossing and the use of interdental brushes can also help prevent the accumulation of dental plaque. Limiting sugary or starchy foods will also prevent the fall of pH in the oral cavity. Drink a lot of water instead of sugar-containing juices. Frequent rinsing after every meal also helps to prevent plaque formation.

2. Avoid Dental Treatments Immediately After COVID 19 Recovery:

Any invasive dental treatment like extractions, surgeries have to be avoided immediately after recovering from COVID-19. Since the immunity has been compromised, any small insult to the oral cavity can become a starting point of infection. The healing capacity of the individual is also compromised, and hence it may take longer than usual to heal, predisposing the wound to infection. It is safe to wait at least 25 to 30 days after recovery before undergoing invasive dental procedures.

3. Changing the Toothbrush and Tongue Cleaners:

After recovering from COVID-19, it is mandatory to change the used toothbrush and tongue cleaners as they may contain germs from the previous infection. Keeping them separate from that of the other family members will also help.

4. Frequent Mouth Rinsing:

It is advised to rinse the mouth after every meal and use an antiseptic mouthwash as prescribed by the dentist. Chlorhexidine and Betadine mouthwashes are effective in containing oral infections.

5. Drink Filtered Water:

Since the fungus can be present in dirty water tanks and pipelines, it is advisable to drink filtered water. Drinking unclean water can cause the fungus to enter the body through any cuts or ulcers in the mouth.

6. Change Masks Frequently:

It is advisable to wash the cloth mask and air dry it in direct sunlight after every use. In the case of a disposable mask, it should be discarded after every use.

Is There a Vaccine for This Disease?

Still, there is no vaccine available to prevent the spread of the disease, and this particular black fungus disease cannot be diagnosed in any of the blood tests, unlike any fungal infection.

How to Prevent Getting the Infection?

The disease can be prevented by following the below instructions, they are,

a) Avoid contact with filthy areas.

b) Do not stay in a water-damaged building.

c) Avoid close contact with,

  • Soil.
  • Dust.
  • Compost.

d) Wear shoes, gloves while doing gardening and agricultural activities.

e) Cover any cuts in the skin with bandages.

Conclusion:

Black fungus disease is a serious threat in the current situation to the entire health care system. But the good news is that black fungus can be prevented by taking meticulous precautions. The key is identifying the problem early and reporting it as soon as the symptoms appear. This gives the physician a chance to control the disease and prevent a fatality. As the mouth is the primary area of infection, keeping up thorough care for the same becomes supremely important.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How To Prevent Black Fungus Infections?

Black fungus infections can be prevented by controlling blood sugar levels and avoiding the unnecessary use of steroids. However, both can weaken immunity and make an individual more prone to black fungus infection. Other preventive measures include maintaining good hygiene, avoiding going to dirty or muddy areas, and staying in water-damaged houses. Additionally, an individual should avoid close contact with soil, dust, and compost, go barefoot and hand in gardening or farming activities, and avoid keeping wounds open to prevent this infection.

2.

What Is the Treatment of Black Fungus Occurring In the Mouth?

Black fungus is treated with antifungal medicines. The drug of choice is Amphotericin B. Surgical debridement of the necrotic area is performed with thorough irrigation with saline solution.

3.

Can Black Fungus Occur In Mouth?

Yes, the black fungus can occur in the mouth with the following symptoms:
- The appearance of black areas in the gums, palate, or other mouth portions.
- Large ulcer on the tongue or gums.
- Gums that are moderate to severely painful.
- Bad breath.
- Teeth loosening occurs suddenly.
- A foul-tasting discharge from the gums.

4.

What Is the Cause of Black Fungus In the Mouth?

Black fungus is caused by Mucormycetes fungi which belong to the Zygomycetes class. It is usually found in soil, unclean tanks, organic materials, and animal excrement, and it cannot be passed from person to person or animal to person. Instead, the fungus enters the body, usually through inhalation of airborne spores. It can also enter the body through eating and direct contact through skin incisions.

5.

Who Is More Likely to Get Black Fungus Infection?

The individuals who are more prone to these infections are listed below.
- Individuals are receiving therapy for COVID-19.
- Individuals who have just recovered from COVID-19 infection.
- Patients with elevated blood sugar levels.
- Patients who are receiving steroid therapy.
- Those who have been hospitalized for an extended period.
- Patients with organ transplants.
- Patients with other disorders, such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

6.

What Are the Symptoms of Mucormycosis?

Mucormycosis causes necrosis (tissue death), resulting in blackish discoloration of the affected area. It can affect the mouth, nose, eyes, and brain. Symptoms in the nose include nasal congestion, crusting, and blackish discoloration on the nasal bridge.
 
When it involves the eyes, it causes vision impairment like blurry or double vision, popping out of eyeballs, redness of eyes, one-sided facial swelling, and numbness.
 
The brain shows symptoms like convulsions, headaches, confusion, and sometimes seizures. In the mouth, it may cause loosening of teeth, pain, and blackish discoloration of gums, palate, and oral tissues. The patient may also have a fever, cough, chest pain, and swelling.

7.

How Is Black Fungus Detected?

Black Fungus is diagnosed by obtaining a sample of nasal fluid and sending it to a lab for testing. The doctor may conduct a tissue biopsy, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and a CT (computed tomography) scan to diagnose Mucormycosis.

8.

Does Black Fungus Have an Effect on the Tongue?

The black fungus can affect the tongue in some cases. When it involves the tongue, it can result in blackish discoloration of the tongue.

9.

What Is the Mode of Transmission of Black Fungus?

People can become affected by inhaling or touching mold spores. After the fungus enters the skin through a cut, burn, or skin break, it can cause a skin infection. Mucormycosis does not spread from person to person. Therefore, it cannot be contracted from an infected individual.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Ashwin Kumar. S
Dr. Ashwin Kumar. S

Dentistry

Tags:

bad breathloose teethblack funguscovid-19
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