Do you have a toothache? Have you gotten it checked yet? The hidden dangers of tooth infection can cause terrible complications if spread to the brain. Read tooth infection spread to brain symptoms and take action to save your life!
A toothache can be one of the most excruciating pains one can experience. While a cavity or a dental injury causes most toothaches, they can also result from a tooth infection.
Poor dental health can lead to various dental problems, including cavities, gum disease, and tooth infections. While these issues may seem little, they can have severe consequences if left untreated. One such consequence is spreading infection beyond the tooth and into other body parts.
Did you know that a tooth infection can spread to your brain? Bacteria can spread from the tooth and into the surrounding tissues when a tooth becomes infected. If you do not treat the infection, it can spread to other body parts.
Table of Contents
What is a tooth infection?
Have you ever experienced a toothache that felt like it was taking over your head? Well, that’s not just a figment of your imagination. You might have a tooth infection! Tooth infections are no joke- they can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable.
When harmful bacteria enter enamel due to fissures, cavities, or fractures of the dental piece, it can result in infection. This infection can spread to surrounding gum tissue, jawbone, and even to other body parts such as the brain.
You may wonder how a minor toothache can reach your brain. Well, it’s about those pesky bacteria.
NHS defines tooth infection as
“A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, in the gums, or in the bone that holds the teeth in place. A bacterial infection causes it.”
How does a tooth become infected?
A tooth can become infected when bacteria penetrate the tooth’s hard outer layer (enamel) and reach the soft inner layer (dentine), where the nerves and blood vessels are located. This occurs due to a variety of factors.
- Tooth decay
- Trauma to tooth
- Faulty dental work
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
- Compromised immune system
- A diet high in sugar and carbs
Tooth decay- the culprit behind most tooth infections
Tooth decay is a common reason of tooth infections. When a bacteria enters the mouth, it produces acid, which can erode the outermost layer of the teeth. Over time, these cavities create tiny holes in the tooth.
Gradually, these cavities can grow larger and deeper, reaching the soft inner layer of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. This can cause pain, sensitivity, and, eventually, an infection.
Trauma to the tooth- the unexpected cause
Another common cause of infection is tooth trauma, which can occur due to a fall, sports injury, or other types of impact. When a tooth is damaged, it can create an opening for bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
Faulty dental work: the hidden danger
If the tooth has been treated with a filling or a crown, and the filling or crown becomes damaged or loose, it can create an opening for bacteria to invade the inner layer of the teeth leading to severe infections. Therefore, seeing your dentist if you experience discomfort or sensitivity in a tooth treated with dental work is essential.
Poor oral hygiene- the sneaky culprit
Poor oral hygiene is one of the major causes of tooth infection. When bacteria and plaque build-up on the teeth and gums, it can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, creating openings for bacteria to invade. To avoid this, flossing and brushing regularly, in addition to visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, are recommended.
Saliva is essential for oral health, as it helps to wash away food particles and bacteria from your teeth and gums. If you have a dry mouth due to medication or a medical condition, you may be more susceptible to developing tooth decay and gum disease leading to infections.
Compromised immune system
Certain medical conditions or medications can make your immune system weak, making it harder for your body to fight infections. If your immune system is compromised, you may be more prone to developing infection.
Smoking is terrible for your lungs and every part of your internal system that comes with that smoke. It can also cause adverse effects on your oral health, like causing mouth or throat cancer and tooth decay leading to infections. Smoking can reduce blood flow to the gums, making it harder for your body to fight infections.
Additionally, smoking can also weaken your immune system resulting in compromised health.
A diet high in sugar and carbs- the nightmare for teeth
Has your mom ever told you to eat fewer sweets and candies as a kid? Well, that’s because she knows the effects of excess sugar and carbs on your overall health, including oral health.
Sugary and starchy foods, such as candy, soda, and chips, can create an acidic environment in your mouth that can cause damage to your tooth enamel leading to cavities. If these cavities are not treated on time, they can eventually become infected.
Can tooth infection spread to the brain?
Have you ever wondered if a tooth infection could go up to your brain? It might sound far-fetched, but unfortunately, it is true.
In some rare cases, a tooth infection can spread to the brain and cause serious health complications. So how does this happen?
Well, when a tooth becomes infected, it means that there are bacteria present in and around the tooth. If the infection is untreated, the bacteria can spread from the tooth and surrounding tissue into your bloodstream. And once the bacteria are in your bloodstream, they can travel to other parts, including the brain.
Once the bacteria have reached your brain, they can cause a condition called brain abscess which is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition. Tooth infection spreads to brain symptoms, including fever, headaches, confusion, and seizures.
Looking at the mechanism anatomically, it happens through the “maxillary sinus.” This cavity is located above the upper teeth and connected to the nasal passages. When a tooth spreads to the maxillary sinus, it can then spread to the brain through arteries and veins that supply blood to the brain.
Now, it’s important to note that not all tooth infections will spread to the brain. Most tooth infections are localized to the tooth and can be treated effectively with antibiotics and some dental procedures.
However, in rare cases, the bacteria from a tooth infection can migrate to the brain causing brain abscess.
Tooth infection spread to brain symptoms
So what happens if a tooth infection spreads to the brain? When a tooth infection spreads to the brain, it causes a wide range of symptoms that can be pretty serious. While some symptoms may be subtle at first, it’s essential to be aware of them so you can seek medical attention if necessary.
Think of it this way: your body is like a well-oiled machine, with all its parts working harmoniously. When one part of the machine is not functioning correctly, it can throw off the whole system. A tooth infection spreads to the brain like a malfunctioning part of the machine, causing a chain reaction of symptoms throughout your body.
As for tooth infection spread to brain symptoms, the situation is alarming. So without wasting a minute, let’s have a look at some of the significant symptoms:
- Neck stiffness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
- Weakness or numbness
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of balance
- Severe tooth pain
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Change in mood or behavior
A fever is a common sign of many infections, and tooth infection is no exception. If you have a tooth infection that has spread to the brain, you may experience a high fever that does not respond to over-the-counter medications. This is a symptom that your body is working hard to fight the infection, but it’s also a warning that it has become severe.
It is important to note that a fever can be a symptom of many different illnesses, so seeking medical attention is essential if other symptoms accompany your fever.
A headache is usually experienced by individuals and is one of the common tooth infections spread to brain symptoms. These headaches can be severe and may feel like a pressure or throbbing sensation in the head. This is because the infection causes inflammation in the tissues surrounding the brain, which can pressure the brain and cause pain.
If a tooth infection has spread to the tissues surrounding the brain, you may experience stiffness in your neck. This can make it difficult to move your head and can be pretty uncomfortable. Neck stiffness is a sign that the infection is causing inflammation in the tissues, which can affect the nerves that control movement in the neck.
As the infection progresses, you may begin to feel confused or disoriented. This can be a sign that the infection is invading your brain, confusion can range from mild to severe, and it can be accompanied by other symptoms like dizziness or difficulty concentrating.
A tooth infection can put your life at risk if it spreads to the brain. In severe cases, a tooth infection that has spread to the brain can cause seizures. Seizures are serious medical emergencies and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. They can cause loss of consciousness, convulsions, and even respiratory arrest.
Nausea and vomiting
If you feel nauseous after a toothache or start vomiting, it’s a major red flag that the bacteria has heavily infected your stomach and the rest of the digestive tract. In addition to that, it can also be a sign of increased pressure in the brain.
Nausea and vomiting can be uncomfortable and make it challenging to stay hydrated, so it is vital to turn your head toward a health professional for treatment.
Sensitivity to light
In some cases, a tooth infection can cause sensitivity to light making it difficult for you to go about your daily activities. This can be a warning that the infection is causing much more severe problems.
Weakness or numbness
Have you been asking yourself, “Can tooth infection cause neurological problems?” so the answer is, Yes!
You may experience weakness in your extremities as the tooth infection spreads. This can be a sign that the infection is affecting your nerves and can cause further damage to your brain. Weakening and numbness can be alarming as they can cause difficulty performing everyday tasks.
When a tooth infection takes root in your brain, you may face speaking difficulties, which can be frustrating. You’ll need help communicating with others.
Loss of balance
An infection can cause loss of balance or difficulty walking. This can be a sign that infection is affecting your coordination, and it can also be a sign of increased pressure in the brain. Loss of balance can be dangerous and increase your risk of falling, so it’s essential to seek medical attention if you are experiencing this symptom. So, this is another answer to your question, “Can tooth infection cause neurological problems?”
Severe tooth pain
While tooth pain is a common symptom of a tooth infection, it can become more severe as it spreads to the brain. You may experience pain in your jaw and face that is more intense than usual, and other symptoms like fever and headache may accompany it. Severe tooth pain can be debilitating and make it challenging to go about your daily activities, so it’s
Sleepiness or fatigue
A tooth infection spread in other parts might make you feel more tired than usual, which indicates the effect on your energy levels and increased pressure on the brain. Sleepiness or fatigue can make it challenging to stay awake during the day and can also make it difficult to sleep at night.
Change in mood or behavior
Sometimes, you may feel moody or cranky due to the fight inside your body affecting your brain functioning. You will experience irritability, mood swings, or other changes in your emotional state, which can be alarming and cause adverse effects on your relationships and daily activities.
Complications of tooth infection spread to the brain
When it comes to dental problems, tooth infection may not seem like a big deal. But the truth is, if left untreated, a tooth infection can lead to severe complications. Let’s look at possible complications of tooth infection spreading to the brain.
- Brain abscess
Let’s be honest; dental problems are nobody’s favorite topic. But what if I told you that ignoring a tooth infection could lead to a brain abscess? Yes, you heard that right – a brain abscess, a localized infection in the brain that can be life-threatening. It can cause swelling, fever, and even seizures.
Another complication is meningitis, an infection of the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream through infected teeth leading to severe headaches, fever, and sensitivity to light.
If the rest of the complications are not enough to scare you, let me tell you about another one – sepsis. It is a severe infection of the bloodstream, which happens when bacteria from an infected tooth enter the bloodstream and infect the brain and the whole body. You can face fevers, chills, nausea, and confusion.
Importance of early detection and treatment
The significance of early detection and treatment of tooth infection cannot be overstated. Ignoring the signs of tooth infection can lead to serious health complications such as brain abscess, meningitis, or sepsis. The infection can spread quickly, affecting surrounding tissues and even entering the bloodstream, posing a threat to the rest of the body.
Regular dental checkups and cleaning are crucial in detecting and treating dental problems before they become severe. Dentists can recommend treatments to prevent the infection from spreading. That is why early detection and treatment of tooth infection can prevent the infection from spreading to other body parts, including the brain.
If your tooth infection is in the early stages and hasn’t yet spread to the pulp of your tooth or surrounding tissues, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria that are causing the infection. They can be taken orally or applied directly to the infected area.
It’s important to note that while antibiotics can help to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms associated with the infection, they are not always enough to treat the infection on their own entirely.
A root canal is a standard treatment for a tooth infection that has reached the innermost part of your tooth, called the pulp. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the infected pulp, clean the root canals, and fill the space with a special material to help prevent further infection.
After the procedure, you may need a filling or crown placed to restore the tooth’s function and prevent further damage.
In some cases, a tooth infection may be so severe that the tooth cannot be saved and needs to be extracted. This is typically a last resort, as preserving your natural teeth whenever possible is always best. After removing the tooth, your dentist may recommend a replacement option, such as a dental implant or bridge, to restore your smile’s function and appearance.
If your tooth infection has caused an abscess (a pus-filled sac), your dentist may need to drain the abscess to relieve pressure and remove the infection. This is typically done by making a small incision in the gum tissue and draining the pus.
Prevention of a tooth infection from spreading
Prevention is always better than cure; the same goes for tooth infections. Here are some of the tips to prevent a tooth infection from spreading:
- Practice good oral hygiene
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Address dental problems promptly
- Avoid sharing utensils and toothbrushes
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Practice good oral hygiene
Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss regularly, and use mouthwash to kill bacteria. Good oral hygiene can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, the most common causes of tooth infection.
Visit your dentist regularly
Regular dental checkups, and cleanings can help catch dental problems early before they become more aggressive. Your dentist can also identify any signs of a tooth infection and provide treatment before it worsens.
Address dental problems promptly
Don’t delay the treatment if you have a cavity or other dental issues. The longer you wait, the more likely the problem will worsen and lead to a tooth infection.
Avoid sharing utensils and toothbrushes
Bacteria that cause tooth infection can be spread through sharing utensils and brushes. Therefore, using your brush and only using utensils if washed is recommended.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Regular exercise and healthy diet can help boost your immune system and keep your body healthy, which can help fight bacteria.
How long can a tooth infection go untreated?
The length of time a tooth infection can go untreated without causing severe complications depends on the severity of the infections and the immunity of an individual. Sometimes, a minor tooth infection may resolve independently within a few days.
However, if left untreated, a tooth infection can spread to surrounding tissue, bone, and other teeth, causing more severe complications such as abscesses, bone loss, and systemic infections. Therefore, it is vital to seek prompt dental care if you suspect you have a dental infection.
Unfortunately, ignoring tooth infection spread to brain symptoms can lead to serious health problems. As the infection progresses, it can travel through the bloodstream and reach the brain. But don’t let the fear paralyze you!
Prompt dental care can prevent the worst and save your life from that threatening complication. Seeking treatment for tooth infection can be as simple as scheduling an appointment with your dentist and discussing your symptoms.
It is necessary to catch the infection before spreading it; otherwise, you could lose your life!