Dental infections can be so serious that they become life-threatening. Cavities are caused by microorganisms, which generate acid, that cover teeth surfaces. As time goes on, the acid can harm teeth by eroding tooth enamel. Sugary snacks are the main cause of cavities, along with diet soda, which can cause tooth erosion because the phosphoric acid found in diet soda can change the pH levels in your mouth. Cavities are often a root cause of more serious infections.
Here are some common types of dental infections:
This infection occurs when tooth pulp becomes inflamed. Generally, this infection forms when cavities are left untreated, and become so deep that they infect the tooth pulp. Bacteria then travels through that fissure or pit that is created by the cavity. Pulpitis can also develop from a broken tooth. Symptoms of this infection may include some pain, which can intensify when cold liquids come into contact with tooth pulp.
Periodontitis develops after someone has had gingivitis for a long time. It occurs when the bone structure of your teeth erodes. It causes the ligaments from your teeth to detach from the actual teeth. Surprisingly, the most common age groups to develop periodontitis are children between 12 and 17, and adults aged over 30. If periodontitis becomes severe, an abscess may form, along with redness, swelling, and sensitivity to touch.
This infection is formed when microorganisms and pieces of food get stuck under gum flaps. It generally happens when wisdom teeth that need to be removed erupt. The most common symptom of this infection is pain at the infection site. The best way to prevent pericoronitis from forming is to ensure that no food particles are stuck under your gums.
The most serious dental infection that a person can get is a dental abscess. If you are not treated quickly, the infection spreads rapidly after starting at the base of the tooth. If the abscess is serious, the type of bacteria that spreads from a dental abscess can often cause extreme pain and swelling in the face.
If you practice good oral hygiene, you will likely not have to worry about developing a dental infection. It is important to floss, brush, and use oral rinses approved by the ADA to ensure that food and other particles are not trapped between your teeth for very long. Also, be sure to see the dentist regularly! Even if the only symptom you are experiencing is mild pain, it’s important to visit your dentist early to see if an infection is forming. If you intervene early, you can prevent an infection from becoming much more serious, painful, and expensive to treat.