If you’ve ever experienced a toothache, you’ll probably agree that it’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. And if the cause of a toothache is a dental abscess, things get even worse. A tooth abscess is a condition in which bacteria enter between the gums or in the tooth root, spreads and causes infection. The symptoms – among others – are very strong pain and pus accumulated in the gum around the affected tooth.
Causes Of Abscessed Tooth
The indirect cause of an abscessed tooth is poor oral hygiene that favours the development of bacteria, which in turn causes an infection. This might happen either below the tooth (periapical abscess), which is the most frequent case, or under the gums supporting the bone (periodontical abscess).
When an infection develops, the body’s defence mechanism tries to stop it by accumulating the pus in one area. This way it prevents the infection from spreading into the blood stream, which could pose a serious danger to the whole body. As a result, the person affected by abscessed tooth gets a red, swollen bulge on the gum or the palate and feels strong, often unbearable pain.
The bacteria that cause tooth abscess may get under the gums when you have a pocket in the gum, which might be the result of a natural gum deformation, periodontitis or an inappropriately performed tooth treatment. In the case when the bacteria attacks the tooth itself, it usually happens when you have weak enamel or a chipped or cracked tooth, which makes it easier for bacteria to get inside and cause an infection.
In general, this condition is caused by inappropriate oral hygiene, accompanied by a diet high in enamel-damaging sugar. It has been also noticed that people who suffer from tooth abscess usually have a weakened immune system, so it might happen that a person who follows a relatively good oral care routine will have to deal with the problem of an abscessed tooth in the period of immune deficiencies.
Symptoms Of Abscessed Tooth
Very often the problem of tooth abscess develops slowly and the bacteria penetrate the tooth layers slowly until they get to caries inside and multiply in there, causing an infection. In the initial stages of the condition, you may feel slight pain when pressing against the gum around the affected tooth or when chewing something harder. With time, the pain gets stronger and the tooth reacts to both low and high temperatures.
It might be accompanied by a fouls smell and taste in the mouth as well as redness and swelling of the gum, which in more advanced stages may spread to the jaw and cheeks and neck. It is extremely important that you don’t ignore the first symptoms as the more the infection develops, the stronger the pain is and the more dangerous it becomes to the blood system.
How To Prevent An Abscessed Tooth
Proper oral care is crucial not only for being able to enjoy a beautiful, white smile for a long time, but also for your teeth health. If you want to avoid serious problems with your teeth, you should take the following advice into a serious consideration.
Brush Your Teeth
At least twice a day brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. The toothbrush shouldn’t be too hard because it can damage the gums. Also, be careful while brushing your teeth. It’s better to do it gently for a longer time than brush really vigorously only for one minute. The fluoride contained in the toothpaste needs time to penetrate the enamel, so if you want to make use of its benefits, you need to brush your teeth at least for three minutes.
If you are not sure what kind of toothbrush and toothpaste you should use, ask your dentist next time when you have a visit. Above all, remember not to use whitening toothpaste all the time as it might weaken the enamel, which can make it easier for the bacteria to penetrate the teeth. It’s also worth mentioning that within 30 minutes after brushing your teeth you shouldn’t smoke tobacco, eat or drink anything, especially coffee, fruit juices, or sugary products.
You should floss after every single time you brush your teeth. It might seem that your teeth are already clean, but the surfaces that you can’t see might still be covered with bacteria. It is extremely important that you remove them regularly, otherwise, they can build up, multiply, spread within the oral cavity and attack unexpectedly any vulnerable point that occurs on the teeth or the gums. In fact, every person should start flossing regularly as early as at the age of 8, when second teeth start showing up.
Maintain Appropriate pH
Various things can affect the pH in your mouth and create a favourable environment for the bacteria. Smoking tobacco is one of them and its regular use has a highly damaging influence on the condition of your teeth and gums. Alcohol is another product that drastically changes the pH of the oral cavity. That includes the mouthwash with alcohol, too. It does kill bacteria, but at the same time it alters the pH level and its prolonged use may have a negative influence on the state of your teeth.