How Can an Infected Tooth Affect Your Body?


A tooth infection might appear to be harmless, but it is a matter that should always be taken seriously. If left untreated, a toothache can result in dangerous health complications. For this reason, you must visit our dental clinic in NE Calgary. Today, we will look at some of the life-threatening effects of a toothache.

What is a Tooth Infection?

An untreated dental cavity, a tooth injury, and prior dental work can result in an infection inside or under your tooth. The pulp is the most affected area of the tooth and comprises nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues.

When a tooth infection occurs, bacteria have the potential to travel from the tooth to the surrounding tissues and bones. The bacterial infection causes a pocket of pus to form in the tooth’s center, called a tooth abscess.

Symptoms of an Infected Tooth

If you have a toothache, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms

  • A severe, persistent, or throbbing toothache
  • Tooth pain when biting, chewing, or eating
  • Tooth sensitivity to temperature change (hot and cold)
  • Tooth sensitivity to pressure
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen neck glands or face
  • Swelling of the gums
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Breathing or swallowing difficulties
  • Fever
  • A tooth infection can spread to other parts of your body, including your jaw, neck, sinuses, and brain.

Surprising Effects of an Infected Tooth

1. Sepsis:

If the bacterial infection from an infected tooth spreads to the blood, it can cause a medical condition known as sepsis. Sepsis is a blood infection that can occur when the immune system is weak; for example, hospital patients are susceptible to sepsis. In addition, young children and seniors are also prone to sepsis.

Common symptoms of sepsis

  • Extremely high fever (101. 3 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Rapid heart rate (more than 90 beats per minute)
  • Respiratory difficulties (20 beats per minute)
  • Mottled skin
  • Mental confusion

If your blood pressure becomes too low, you may experience septic shock. Each year, millions of people die or become disabled from sepsis. The key to survival is early diagnosis and treatment. If you have sepsis, your treatment may include antibiotics, vasopressors, and surgery.

2. Meningitis

If you have a tooth abscess, you could develop meningitis. This life-threatening condition occurs when the membranes near the spinal cord and the brain become inflamed. This bacterial infection could spread to the bloodstream and surround your brain and spinal cord. Meningitis could require extensive hospitalization. Adults with a compromised immune system and young children are at risk for meningitis. Meningitis is severe and can be fatal without immediate treatment.

Common symptoms of meningitis

Some of the early symptoms of meningitis can seem flu-like; these include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Cold hands and feet

3. Ludwig’s Angina

This bacterial infection occurs on the floor of your mouth and underneath your tongue after a tooth abscess. Ludwig’s Angina is more common in adults with a compromised immune system than in children. Poor oral hygiene, tooth trauma, lacerations in your mouth, and tooth extractions can also contribute to developing Ludwig’s Angina. To prevent Ludwig’s Angina, you should practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental checkups at our dental clinic in NE Calgary every 6 months. You must visit our dental doctor near you for prompt treatment if you have a tooth or mouth infection.

Common symptoms of Ludwig’s’ Angina

  • Pain or tenderness in the floor of your mouth (underneath your tongue)
  • Pain or tenderness in the floor of your mouth (underneath your tongue)
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Drooling
  • Swelling of the neck
  • Redness of the neck
  • Neck pain
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

Treatment for Ludwig’s Angina includes antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. In more severe cases, you will require a breathing tube which will be inserted down your throat.

Practicing good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings and exams can prevent tooth infections. If you experience any symptoms of an infected tooth, contact our dental clinic in NE Calgary as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the bacteria to spread to your blood or other body areas.