Tooth Infection

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Written by Dr. Aayushi Mehta

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

A tooth infection is a serious dental issue that can cause severe pain and discomfort. It occurs when bacteria enter the tooth and begin to multiply, leading to an infection. If left untreated, a tooth infection can spread to other teeth and cause serious dental complications.

What causes a tooth infection?

Tooth infections are usually caused by bacteria that enter the tooth through a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, or a gum infection. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to infection, as bacteria can build up on the teeth and gums if they are not regularly cleaned.

Common causes of tooth infections include poor oral hygiene, eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks, smoking, and not visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Other factors that can increase the risk of developing a tooth infection include having diabetes, having a weakened immune system, and taking certain medications that reduce saliva production. Other risks include trauma to the mouth, untreated cavities, gum disease, and cracked teeth.


One can experience the following symptoms of a tooth infection, which include:

  • Pain when chewing or biting down on food.
  • Selling around the affected area.
  • Fever.
  • Bad breath.
  • A bitter taste in the mouth.

Tooth Infection Treatment

If you suspect you have a tooth infection, it’s important to see your dentist right away for treatment. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the infection and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Treatment may involve antibiotics to kill off the bacteria causing the infection or root canal therapy to remove any infected tissue from inside the tooth. In some cases, extraction may be necessary if the infection is too severe.

In addition to professional treatment from your dentist, there are also some home remedies you can try to relieve the symptoms of a tooth infection. These include rinsing your mouth with warm salt water several times a day or applying a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain in the affected area. You should also avoid eating hard or crunchy foods that could aggravate your symptoms.

How to take care of yourself at home

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.

    Do this several times a day.

  2. Apply a cold compress:

    Place a cold compress on the affected area to reduce swelling and pain.

  3. Use over-the-counter pain relievers

    Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve any discomfort.

  4. Try a herbal remedy

    Herbal remedies such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with tooth infections.


  1. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

2. Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.

3. Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash to help reduce plaque and bacteria that cause infection.

3. Avoid sugary and starchy foods that can lead to tooth decay and infection.

4. Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to help prevent tooth infections before they start.

5. If you have any existing dental problems, such as cavities or gum disease, make sure to get them treated as soon as possible to prevent further infection.

6. Avoid smoking or using other tobacco products, which can increase the risk of infection in the mouth.

7. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports or engaging in activities that could lead to oral trauma or injury, which can increase the risk of infection in the mouth.

8. Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables for optimal oral health and overall health benefits.

9. Practice good oral hygiene habits by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and visiting the dentist regularly to help prevent tooth infections.


When does a tooth infection cause symptoms to spread?

When a tooth infection spreads, it can cause a variety of symptoms. These may include pain in the affected area, swelling, fever, and bad breath. The infected area may also become red and tender to the touch.

Why do I keep getting infections in my teeth?

There are several possible causes of recurrent infections in the teeth. Poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing regularly, can lead to an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth, which can cause infection. Other causes could include cavities or gum disease, which can create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. To reduce the risk of recurring tooth infections, it is critical to visit your dentist on a regular basis and practice good oral hygiene.

Can dental infections cause heart problems?

Yes, bacteria that enter the bloodstream after leaving the mouth cavity can affect a variety of heart conditions. Coronary arteries can become injured or narrowed as a result of bacteria weakening the vessels. Other heart components may potentially be harmed by traveling germs. Sometimes, germs can build up in and around the heart valves, damaging them and leading to serious medical conditions, including heart failure.

What causes a tooth infection?

Tooth infection is caused by cavities, tooth decay, abscessed teeth, certain medications, certain conditions such as diabetes, a weakened immune system, gum diseases, and trauma to the mouth.

What is a dental infection?

Dental infection is defined as when bacteria enter the tooth and start multiplying, leading to infection and causing severe pain and discomfort.

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