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Mucormycosis is a relatively rare fungal infection that occurs in people with compromised and weak immune systems. The disease is caused by several types of fungi from order Mucorales, most commonly Rhizopus and Mucor types of fungi. These fungi and their spores can be found in soil, on plants and fruits, carried in the air and even in the nasal passages of healthy people.
In India (and a few other countries) the rate of Mucormycosis infection has seen a sudden increase, and it is related to Covid-19 treatment. Many Covid-19 patients require life-saving medication that lowers the body’s immune response while also boosting blood sugar. This makes it possible for the fungal infection to progress into Mucormycosis after the patient has recovered from Covid-19.
There’s no need to get alarmed as this disease is very much linked with a weak immune system and high blood sugar. But this doesn’t mean there’s nothing you should avoid. So what are some dental care measures you can take to lower your risk of contracting Mucormycosis?
The Importance Of Dental Care
Most fungal and viral infections (including the coronavirus and mucormycosis fungi) enter the body through the mouth or nose. Hence it is of utmost importance not only to maintain optimum hygiene but also to take care of your mouth. For example, if you have minor cuts or wounds inside your mouth, this increases your risk of contracting diseases via fungi, bacteria and viruses. In such cases, it is very important to visit a dentist and seek treatment.
Keeping Your Mouth and Teeth Clean
Since the fungi spores for Mucormycosis could be anywhere, after you recover from Covid-19 (or if you have diabetes/ lower immunity) is it vital to maintain proper dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day should be enough to kill off most infections in your mouth. Additionally, you should also perform regular oral rinsing (with mouthwash or water) to lower your risk. A dentist can give you a detailed idea of how to best perform your dental hygiene routine which may include flossing and mouthwash.
Disinfect Your Toothbrush
The simplest and easiest way to keep your toothbrush clean is to use hot water over the bristles and air drying it somewhere clean. This should get rid of most bacteria or fungus (if there are any present) on your toothbrush. Additionally, you may use a toothbrush sanitiser if you prefer the convenience. Keeping your toothbrush clean ensures that you’re not contributing to your own health risk when you brush your teeth every day. Remember to sanitize any other tools you use for cleaning your teeth/mouth such as a tongue cleaner.
Watch Your Diet
For diabetic patients who have been treated for Covid-19 or for others who have been taking steroids or similar medications which lower immune response, a proper diet is vital. Additionally, sugary foods may cause a large number of medical issues even in healthy people. Bacteria on the teeth love sugary foods and multiply when you eat these types of foods regularly. This can lead to deterioration of teeth, an increase in microorganisms inside your mouth and in some cases it may even lead to a lower immune response.
It is therefore very important to eat a healthy and balanced diet whether you are diabetic, immune-compromised, have dental issues or you’re healthy. In this way you are not only keeping your blood sugar in check, but you’re also improving your dental hygiene and overall health.
The main takeaway here is that if you have been through Covid-19 (at home or in a hospital) you need to do your best to lower your chances of contracting any kind of infections, whether fungal, viral or bacterial. Taking care of your mouth, and being alert about what you put inside it is one way to keep your body protected. Most healthy people will not have any reaction or negative effects from the Mucormycosis fungus, the problems only start to crop up when your immune system is weakened. Do your best to stay protected from external infections and give your body the time it needs to bring your immune system back to full strength.
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