How one bad apple can damage the rest. We don't typically think of problems in the mouth affecting other parts of the body. But if certain conditions are left untreated, they can have a severely negative impact on your overall health – conditions like an abscessed tooth. Even if you are not suffering from this condition currently, you need to be aware of the potential consequences so that you can keep yourself safe and healthy if the problem ever does appear.
What is an Abscessed Tooth?
An abscessed tooth is an oral infection that appears at the base or root of the tooth. The infection is usually the result of severe tooth decay and will manifest itself as a very bad toothache. These are some of the most common symptoms:
- Pain when chewing
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Extremely bad breath
- Swollen neck glands
- Red, swollen gums
- Open, draining sores on the gums
- Swollen jaw
How Does an Abscessed Tooth Affect Your Overall Health?
Any infection in the body is cause for alarm. An abscessed tooth represents a severe infection that is located in a part of your body that is uniquely located to spread its damage elsewhere. These are some of the potential consequences:
- Infected gums can damage the jaw bone and cause teeth to fall out.
The infection can spread to the brain through blood vessels and lead to a brain abscess. In extreme cases, this can cause the patient to go into a coma.
The infection can spread upwards and lead to a sinus infection.
Bacteria from the infection can spread to the heart and lead to a condition called bacterial endocarditis.
Abscessed teeth can cause an infection in the face and jaw called Ludwig's angina which can severely restrict the airways.
How to Prevent and Treat an Abscessed Tooth
Prevention is always the best medicine. You can generally avoid abscessed teeth entirely if you brush and floss daily, and visit a dentist regularly. It can also help to regularly use an antiseptic mouthwash. The goal is to ward off tooth decay, the primary cause of abscessed teeth. If the condition does appear, there are steps the patient can take to relieve the pain, but in order to remove the infection, it will always be necessary to visit a medical professional. The longer the condition is left untreated, the more difficult, protracted, and painful the treatment becomes.
Oral Health is Important for the Whole Body
Taking care of your teeth is about more than just maintaining a great-looking smile. It's also vital for your overall well-being, and if you neglect it, there can be serious medical consequences. Make your oral health a priority by regularly seeing a dentist at The Happy Tooth.