A tooth infection can be a real pain. It makes it difficult to chew, and it may even make it difficult to sleep. Most people take care of tooth infections right away, but what if you don’t? What happens if you let your tooth infection go on? As it turns out, a bad tooth can make you sick, and not just in your mouth.
Endicott Dental has seen many tooth infections, including some that have gotten out of control and caused far more problems than the patient realized could happen. That’s why we provide not only general and emergency dental services to take care of the tooth but also restorative dental services to make sure you don’t have more problems later. You may be surprised at all the problems an untreated, infected tooth can cause beyond your mouth.
How Does a Tooth Get Infected?
You’re probably wondering how a hard thing like a tooth can get infected. It’s because the only hard part of the tooth is the outer shell, called the enamel. That hard shell protects the softer interior of the tooth, which contains the dentin and the pulp.
The dentin is a softer layer of protection for the pulp, which is the soft, living interior of the tooth. The pulp contains the blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. So while the enamel can’t get infected, the interior of the tooth can.
So how does a tooth get infected? Tooth decay weakens the enamel and causes a hole in the protective barrier called a cavity. If the cavity is left untreated, the bacteria that caused the cavity will continue to eat its way through the tooth.
If the bacteria makes it to the pulp, it can get into the bloodstream through the vessels located there. The pulp provides the bacteria with a good food and oxygen supply, allowing it to spread. Your body’s immune system will try to fight the bacteria with white blood cells. If it doesn’t win, the tooth becomes infected. Most of the time, the tooth does become infected.
Can a Tooth Infection Affect Your Whole Body?
An infected tooth can be incredibly painful, but you may think you can still wait to get it fixed. You can just chew on the other side of your mouth, right? While you may think that’s a good solution, the truth is that it isn’t. Tooth infections can cause a lot more problems than just a sore tooth. It can spread to other parts of the body, and if left untreated, it could lead to dangerous conditions that, in extreme cases, could cause death.
Tooth Infections Can Cause Headaches/Toothaches
A tooth infection doesn’t just cause pain the tooth. That pain could radiate to other teeth. Tooth decay could also affect your other teeth, which is why good hygiene and regular dental visits are so vital. Trying to bite or chew with bad teeth can also cause headaches and neck aches, causing excess stress on your body. Severe stress from pain can tax other areas of the body, including the heart.
Infected Tooth Can Affect Nutrition and Digestion
Can a tooth infection make you sick to your stomach? Obviously, it is painful and difficult to try to chew with an infected tooth. Because it’s harder to chew, you probably won’t be able to chew your food properly. Digestion starts in your mouth as you chew when your saliva and teeth start to break down the food. When this isn’t done correctly, it can cause nausea, indigestion, and acid reflux.
Can a tooth infection cause you to feel tired? Can a tooth infection cause a sore throat? The answer is yes. Without proper digestion, your body can’t absorb the nutrients it needs correctly. A lack of nutrition can lead to a host of problems throughout the body, from weakened bones to a weakened immune system. Proper nutrition is vital, which means fixing that bad tooth is essential.
Infected Teeth Can Affect Your Heart
An infected tooth can cause issues with your heart in several ways. Tooth infections cause pain, and pain causes stress on the body, including and especially the heart. Excess stress on the heart can take its toll and cause heart problem eventually.
The main way an infected tooth can affect the heart is by the bacterial infection of the blood. The bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to the heart and cause an infection there called endocarditis. This infection of the heart can be deadly, because it can damage the heart to the point of causing heart failure.
Infected Teeth Can Affect Your Brain
Can an infected tooth affect your brain? Some studies have shown that it can. Tooth infection and tooth loss cause nutritional issues, which can affect the cognitive functions of the brain. Infection and bacteria can also make their way to the brain and cause infection there, which can be life-threatening.
Can You Get Sepsis from Teeth?
Can you die from a bad tooth? It’s rare, but it is possible if the infection spreads. We’ve talked about how a tooth infection can spread to other organs and cause severe illness and death. When the infection stays in the blood and infects not only the organs but the blood itself, that causes a severe reaction that becomes sepsis.
This is a serious, life-threatening condition where inflammation occurs throughout the body. It’s rare that a tooth infection gets to this point, but it can happen. The sooner you treat your bad tooth, the less chance you have of facing a life-threatening infection.
How Long Can a Tooth Infection Go Untreated?
A tooth infection needs to be treated as soon as possible before the infection can get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. How fast that happens depends on the patient.
Some patients may just lose the tooth. Others may lose much more. It could be a matter of weeks or months, depending on the strength of their immune system, among other factors. Once it does spread, you can become very ill very fast. That’s why it’s so important to treat your infected tooth right away.
Repairing a Tooth Infection in Broken Arrow, OK
Infected teeth are a big deal. Not only are they painful and can make it hard to eat, but they can lead to life-threatening infections in other parts of the body if not treated soon. If you feel you may have an infected tooth, you can contact Endicott Dental if you’re in the Broken Arrow, OK, area.
We offer several services that can take care of your infected tooth. If the tooth must be pulled, we offer restorative dental services to replace the tooth and give you back your smile.
Schedule an appointment if you need to check your teeth, and be sure to brush your teeth and floss regularly! Preventing a tooth infection with proper oral hygiene is easy. Come see us, and we can show you all the ways to keep your teeth healthy so you can avoid infection!