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A rotten tooth indicates poor oral health and hygiene, but what if I say it can also lead to sickness? If you ask, can rotten teeth make you sick? Then the answer is yes! It can lead to serious illness along with many other issues.

If left untreated, rotten teeth can affect various parts of the body resulting in serious illnesses such as headaches, sepsis and much more.

Health problems related to Rotten Teeth

Some of the common health problems related to rotten teeth are:

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When a tooth rots, the infection can irritate the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve supplies major parts of the head; thus, rotten teeth can lead to headaches. These headaches can be of very low to high intensities.

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A tooth rots by the bacteria colonizing the tooth. When the bacteria reach the root of a tooth, they can enter the bloodstream, which can spread infection throughout the body, resulting in septicemia.


The infection causes an accumulation of dead tissues called pus. This aggravation of pus under the tooth is called an abscess. An abscess occurs in the gums and is asymptomatic in the initial stage, but it can be very painful and irritating later.

Heart disease

The plaque accumulated over the teeth can enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart valves. It can block the valves and blood vessels, resulting in stroke and other related heart diseases.

How do Rotten teeth make you sick?

Now the question arises, can rotten teeth make you sick? Yes! Rotten teeth can lead to dental sepsis and even fever. The bacteria in the mouth can lead to infection, causing mild fever and headache.

Thus, if rotten teeth are not treated, the infection causes pus formation leading to an abscess which goes into the bloodstream and causes illness to the whole body.

What is dental sepsis?

Dental sepsis occurs when the pulp inside the tooth is exposed to the oral environment. This leads to the colonization of bacteria in the tooth pulp, causing the formation of pus in the tooth root. Dental sepsis is also known as a Periapical abscess.

Is a decaying tooth an emergency?

Tooth decay can be categorized into five stages based on the extent of the decay i.e.

  1. Demineralization
  2. Enamel decay
  3. Dentin Decay
  4. Pulpal infection
  5. Abscess formation

A decayed tooth can be easily managed during the initial three stages, but during the fourth and fifth stages, it can be categorized as a dental emergency.

If you are experiencing sharp or throbbing pain, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible. If the pulp is involved in tooth decay along with illness, it can be a dental emergency.

When can a decayed tooth not be saved?

Decayed or rotten teeth can be saved if more than one-third of the tooth is intact. If a tooth is grossly decayed, then it has to be extracted. Any tooth with a crack or fracture in the radical region must be extracted as it can’t be saved. Check this article to know more about rotten teeth.