Can a bad tooth make you sick?

Answer

A bad tooth can make you sick. Decayed teeth can lead to infections or dental abscesses. When left untreated, an infection can spread to gums and other areas, leading to possible health problems.

A bad tooth usually begins as a cavity. Bacteria in the cavity can lead to infections. Some symptoms of a tooth infection can be pain, face or mouth inflammation and pus formation at the tooth site. It also can cause nausea, fevers, vomiting and chills due to high fevers.

If the cavity or infection is not treated promptly, it can lead to gum disease or periodontitis. Because periodontal disease progresses slowly and painlessly, it's only in the later stages that a person may experience symptoms, such as bleeding and swollen gums, halitosis, receding gums and loose teeth.

Periodontal disease possibly may be linked to health conditions, such as heart disease, dementia and diabetes. Although scientists are not completely sure of the direct link between periodontal disease and these other health problems, it is believed that it may be associated with the inflammatory nature of gum disease. This might elevate inflammation throughout the entire body, and occur when bacteria associated with periodontal disease enter the bloodstream and travel to different organs, such as the heart.

Because a bad tooth can lead to an infection and other complications, it's wise to see a dentist for treatment.

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