Telltale Signs that a Tooth Infection Has Spread to the Body

dental health

A toothache caused by an infection is more than just a mere nuisance. It could wreak havoc to your organs — or worse — send you to the grave.

When you have a tooth infection, you’re suffering from a condition called a tooth abscess. This dental abscess looks like a pimple filled with bacteria and pus. People with an infected tooth typically visit a dentist or an oral surgeon for proper medical attention, and a few of the possible treatments patients receive include antibiotics, root canal, and apicoectomy (removal of the tip of a tooth root).

An infected tooth is easily treatable. Delaying the treatment, however, could cause the infection to spread to other areas of your body. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, seek medical assistance right away:

Body Malaise

You may begin to feel uneasy, out of energy, or under the weather. Performing simple activities, such as walking and cleaning, tire you out quickly.

Radiating Pain

If you have a persistent toothache, the pain may travel to nearby areas of your mouth. You may experience nausea and ear pain, especially if the infection disrupts the normal functions of your inner ear.


Minimal swelling and discomfort are present when you have a dental abscess. This symptom, however, may worsen and affect the other functions of your body. Ignoring the swelling, for instance, could compromise your swallowing and breathing. That is a clear sign that the infection has spread outside your mouth. If the problem worsens further, the swelling could close off your airways and prevent you from breathing normally.

Dehydration and Stomachache

When the infection spreads, you may find that you’re not peeing as regularly as you should. Once you do pee, the color of the urine might be darker than usual. That is a clear sign of dehydration and a possibility that you’re experiencing the first stage of sepsis (infection in the bloodstream).

Gastrointestinal problems could also occur if you have an infected tooth. Symptoms, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, could accelerate the rate of dehydration and cause serious complications.


child with fever

Febrile response, commonly known as fever, is your body’s way of fighting off an infection. When the temperature of your body is too high, it kills the bacteria along with other pathogens causing the infection.

A fever, however, isn’t necessarily a good thing for your body — especially when it persists. When you have a body temperature that consistently registers 101 degrees Fahrenheit or above, you may be suffering from sepsis. Shivering and chills are classic symptoms associated with fever.

Low Body Temperature

A tooth infection could unnaturally decrease the temperature of your body. It may have spread to your body when you’re body temperature is way below 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Elevated Respiratory and Heart Rate

The infection could damage your heart and lungs. It may cause your heart to beat unusually fast. You could also feel that you have to pant or gasp to breathe correctly.

Oral infections aren’t just limited to teeth, gums, and jaws. They can spread to your body, cause sepsis, and possibly damage your organs. So do yourself a favor and seek a dental or medical professional when you come across any of these signs.

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