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Can Tooth Infection Spread to Whole Body?

By Arcade Dental / April 17, 2024

Oral health is often considered separate from overall health, but the reality is that the two are deeply interconnected. Ignoring dental issues can lead to more serious consequences, including the spread of infection throughout the body. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the question: Can a tooth infection spread to the whole body? Let’s explore the potential risks, symptoms, and preventive measures to safeguard your health.

Can Tooth Infection Spread to Whole Body?

Yes, a tooth infection can indeed spread to the whole body, posing significant health risks. When bacteria from an untreated tooth infection enter the bloodstream, they can travel to other parts of the body, causing infections and potentially leading to severe complications. This phenomenon is known as bacteremia, where bacteria are present in the bloodstream.

What Happens if Tooth Infection Spreads to Body?

When a tooth infection spreads beyond the oral cavity, it can affect various organs and systems in the body, leading to a range of complications. Some potential consequences include:

1. Sepsis: In severe cases, the spread of infection can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition characterized by the body’s extreme response to an infection. Sepsis can cause organ failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

2. Endocarditis: Bacteria from a tooth infection can infect the lining of the heart (endocardium), leading to endocarditis. This condition can damage heart valves and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

3. Abscesses: Infections can form abscesses in various parts of the body, including the brain, lungs, and abdomen. These abscesses require prompt medical attention and may require surgical drainage.

4. Bone Infections: Bacteria can also spread to the bones, causing osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection that requires aggressive treatment with antibiotics and, in some cases, surgical intervention.

    You might experience a variety of symptoms, including:

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Swelling in your face, neck, or jaw
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fatigue
    • General feeling of being unwell (malaise)

    Here are some additional factors that can increase your risk of a tooth infection spreading:

    • A weakened immune system (from conditions like HIV/AIDS or diabetes)
    • Recent dental work that exposed the inner pulp of the tooth
    • Poor dental hygiene habits

    How Do You Know if a Tooth Infection is in Your Bloodstream?

    There’s no single test to definitively determine if a tooth infection is in your bloodstream. However, your dentist can assess your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and take X-rays to diagnose the source of the infection.

    If your dentist suspects the infection has spread, they might order blood tests to check for signs of inflammation or infection in your body. Additionally, imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs might be used to visualize the extent of the infection.

    How Long Can a Tooth Infection Stay in the Body?

    The duration of a tooth infection depends on several factors, including the severity of the infection, your overall health, and whether you seek treatment.

    An untreated tooth infection can persist for months or even years. However, with prompt treatment, most infections can be resolved within a week or two. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent the infection from spreading and causing serious complications.

    What Are the Symptoms of a Tooth Infection Spreading to Brain?

    A tooth infection spreading to the brain, also known as a brain abscess, is a rare but very serious complication. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

    • Severe headache
    • Fever
    • Confusion
    • Seizures
    • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Vision problems

    If any of these symptoms are experienced, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial. Early diagnosis and treatment of a brain abscess are essential to prevent permanent damage or even death.

    Tips for Preventing Tooth Infection Spread to Whole Body

    The best way to prevent a tooth infection spread to whole body is to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental checkups. Here are some tips:

    • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes each time.
    • Floss daily to remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth.
    • Maintain a healthy diet: Limit sugary drinks and foods that can contribute to tooth decay.
    • Don’t smoke: Smoking weakens your immune system and increases your risk of gum disease, which can lead to tooth infections.
    • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings: Your dentist can identify and address any potential problems early on, before they become serious.
    • Treat toothaches promptly: Don’t ignore a toothache! Early treatment can prevent the infection from spreading.


    Toothaches are a pain, but they shouldn’t be ignored. A seemingly minor tooth infection can have serious consequences if left untreated. By practicing good oral hygiene, scheduling regular dental checkups, and seeking prompt treatment for any dental problems, you can keep your smile healthy and prevent a tooth infection spread to whole body.

    Remember, early diagnosis and treatment are key. If you experience any symptoms of a tooth infection, such as a toothache, swelling, or fever, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Taking care of your oral health is an essential part of maintaining your overall health and well-being.