General and Preventive Dentistry

Mucormycosis or Black Fungus: Easy Oral Practices to prevent Fungal Infection

COVID-19 outbreak has left the entire world in a disarray, and specially now, when India is combating the second wave. As time has lapsed since the first outbreak of COVID, there have been many versions of symptoms as the SARS-CoV-2 virus has mutated and evolved. One such lethal complication being observed in patients in India in recent times, who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are gradually recovering, is a fungal disease called Mucormycosis or black fungus. With increasing number of cases across India, it has triggered panic among the public.

According to research and data, the Mucormycosis has a common occurrence amongst a certain category of COVID infected patients, such as patients who were prescribed steroids for prolonged periods, those who were hospitalized for extended timelines, patients who were on external oxygen support or ventilators or who have been on medication for illnesses such as diabetes.*

The black fungus can turn fatal, if not diagnosed and treated at the right time.~

Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients. Steroids reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19 and appear to help stop some of the damage which occurs when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight off coronavirus. But they also reduce immunity and push up blood sugar levels in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients. It’s thought that this drop in immunity could be triggering these cases of mucormycosis.

Let’s understand the causes and symptoms of Mucormycosis

Causes and Symptoms of Mucormycosis

According to Ministry of Health (MoH)**, people who are recovering from COVID-19 or recovered from COVID-19, are more likely to be affected by the infection. Symptoms of some fungal diseases can be similar to those of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Laboratory testing is necessary to determine if a person has a fungal infection or COVID-19. Some patients can have COVID-19 and a fungal infection at the same time. People with severe COVID-19, such as those in an intensive care unit (ICU), are particularly vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections. Those patients who are under Oxygen therapy in the ICU, are exposed to moisture because of the use of a humidifier. Thus most hospitals use sterile water when the patient undergoes Oxygen Therapy.

These fungal co-infections are reported with increasing frequency and can be associated with severe illness and death. Awareness of the possibility of fungal co-infection is essential to reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment in order to help prevent severe illness and death from these infections. The easily recognizable symptom of the black fungus includes discoloration of the oral tissues, tongue, gums, stuffy nose, swelling of face, heaviness below the eyes, discomfort, fever and headache.

If you’ve recently recovered or recovering from COVID-19 or are caring for a COVID patient on the path to recovery, follow these simple oral practices followed to reduce the chances of contracting the Black Fungus:

  1. Maintain Pristine Oral Hygiene

While being treated for Coronavirus infection, the entire respiratory system, starting from the mouth houses millions of bacteria and fungus. Added to this steroids and medication are enablers for bacteria and fungus to thrive. This could cause problems in the sinus cavity, lungs and in severe cases, the brain also. By taking care of your mouth, just by brushing at least twice a day and maintaining this schedule would ensure flushing out, of these bacteria and fungus. Brushing thrice or even after every big meal is good.

  1. Oral Rinsing

We understand that it might not be practically possible to brush every often. A simple work around would be to use a mouth wash to rinse the oral cavity. This would rid your mouth of remnants of large food pieces and in addition oral rinsing would also leave you with a refreshing breath.

  1. Disinfect Tongue Cleaner and Tooth Brush

It’s a good practice to disinfect the tongue cleaner and tooth brush after every use with an antiseptic mouth wash. If you are infected with COVID-19, keep your tooth brush in a different holder from the others. If you’ve recovered from COVID, then discard your old tooth brush and tongue cleaner.

  1. Drink Warm Water Frequently

Warm water is a good medium to clean and rinse the mouth frequently. It would clean the digestive canal and push the bacteria or fungus out of the system.

These are simple oral tips that you can practice while staying at home and reduce the risk of being affected with black fungus or Mucormycosis. In case you have any queries, call your dentist right away.

Our team is available for Online Dental Consultation and we would be happy to answer any questions or discuss any issues you may have.

Call us or Whatsapp us at +91-9141160212 to book an appointment today!





Hoenigl M. Invasive fungal disease complicating COVID-19: when it rains it poursexternal icon. Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Sep 5

Lansbury L, Lim B, Baskaran V, Lim WS. Co-infections in people with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysisexternal icon. J Infect. 2020 May 27

Gangneux JP, Bougnoux ME, Dannaoui E, Cornet M, Zahar JR. Invasive fungal diseases during COVID-19: We should be preparedexternal icon. J Mycol Med 2020 Jun

Song G, Liang G, Liu W. Fungal co-infections associated with global COVID-19 pandemic: A clinical and diagnostic perspective from Chinaexternal icon. Mycopathologia. 2020 Jul 31

Koehler P, Cornely OA, Böttiger BW, Dusse F, Eichenauer DA, Fuchs F, et al. COVID‐19 associated pulmonary aspergillosisexternal icon. Mycoses. 2020 May 15

Open chat
Hello 👋
Can we help you?