Can a tooth infection cause strep throat?

This blog post will answer the question, “Can a tooth infection cause strep throat?” and comprehensively cover topics like strep throat, how can you get strep throat, can not brushing teeth cause strep throat and everything about tooth infections, their causes, signs and symptoms of tooth infection, treatment and management of tooth infection.

Can A Tooth Infection Cause Strep Throat?

No, strep throat is not caused due to a tooth infection. Strep throat is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria that are highly contagious and may spread through air droplets, or sharing food or drinks with an infected person, or due to poor hand hygiene.

Strep Throat: A Bacterial Infection that causes sore throat 

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria, affecting children and adults of all age groups.  

It causes a sore throat that makes your throat feel sore and scratchy. 

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Group A streptococcus bacteria, if left untreated, can lead to scarlet fever and rheumatic fever. 

The common symptoms of strep throat resembles that of a sore throat and include:

  • a sudden high fever
  • a sore, red throat with white patches and pus around tonsils
  • a headache or chills
  • a loss of appetite
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Difficulty in swallowing

How Can You Get A Strep Throat? 

Group A streptococcus bacteria are highly contagious and can spread through 

  • airborne droplets
  • through sharing food or drinks with someone infected

Group A streptococcus bacterial infection  has a higher occurrence in winter and early spring.

Can Not Brushing Teeth Cause Strep Throat?

No, not brushing teeth does not directly lead to strep throat. Strep throat is caused due to a bacterial infection caused by Group A strep bacteria.

However, not brushing teeth can lead to several dental and general health problems. Thus, it is necessary to brush your teeth and maintain good oral hygiene.

What Is A Tooth Infection?

Tooth infection is pus and bacteria collection in the tooth, also called as tooth abscess, resulting in throbbing pain, sensitivity and pressure.

Symptoms of tooth infection or similar must not be ignored and you must consult your dentist as soon as possible.

Tooth infection if ignored may spread to the periodontal tissues and bone, resulting in periodontal infection and infection of the jaw bone. It may also spread systemically and can prove to be lethal.

Causes Of Tooth Infection

Common causes of tooth infection are:

Dental Cavity or Dental Caries 

Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque and tartar formation, resulting in bacterial attack and cavity formation. 

Cavity further deepens and if ignored, leads further to pulpal infection causing pain and sensitivity.

Dental Trauma or Fractured Tooth

Dental trauma or fracture of the tooth due to any reason, may expose the pulp to bacterial infiltration leading to tooth infection or tooth abscess.

Wisdom Tooth

Wisdom tooth or partially erupted tooth creates a favourable environment for the bacteria to get trapped between the crown and periodontal soft tissues causing inflammation and infection.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism or teeth grinding over a long period of time wears down the enamel and increases the risk of dental cavity, further leading to pulp infection.

Medical Conditions like Sjogren Syndrome

Sjogren syndrome, a medical condition that causes dry mouth due to decreased salivary production, is often responsible for tooth infection.

In dry mouth, the saliva in the oral cavity is significantly decreased resulting in non-flushing of plaque and other food debris.

The plaque accumulation increases resulting in increased bacterial growth leading to tooth infection or abscess.

Immunosuppressive Conditions

Conditions like HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy and other immunosuppressive conditions lead to increased risk of developing tooth infection as the defence mechanism of the body is significantly compromised.

Genetic Causes such as Amelogenesis Imperfecta

Amelogenesis Imperfecta is a rare genetic disorder affecting the enamel formation, predisposing the enamel to wear down and finally leading to tooth infection.

Signs & Symptoms Of Tooth Infection

Signs of Tooth Infection

  • Gingival swelling and erythema (mostly around the infected tooth)
  • Enamel cracks

Symptoms of Tooth Infection

  • Severe throbbing pain in the tooth
  • Throbbing pain in the jaw bone on the same side of the tooth
  • Ear and Neck pain, mostly on the side of tooth infection
  • Headache and fatigue
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Facial erythema
  • Trismus (locked jaw) (inability to open mouth)
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Mild fever

Alarming Symptoms Of Tooth Infection: Consult Your Doctor Immediately

  • High fever with thermometer reading ≥ 102℉
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain or palpitations
  • Continuous vomiting leading to dehydration
  • Stomach pain

Treatment and Management of Tooth Infection

Oral Antibiotics

Tooth infection is most commonly treated with oral antibiotics and does not involve admission of the patient to the hospital, unless the patient shows alarming symptoms like difficulty in breathing and high fever.

Most common oral antibiotic administered is Amoxicillin. However, use of penicillin has been associated with increase in antimicrobial resistance due to B-lactamase production.

In case the patient is allergic to penicillins and cephalosporins, Clindamycin is a better option against tooth infection as it inhibits gram-positive organisms, anaerobes, B-lactam resistant organisms and has good bone penetration.

In immunocompromised patients, extended spectrum penicillins or higher generation cephalosporins (4th or higher) must be given to slow down or eliminate tooth infection.

Incision and Drainage 

In case of tooth abscess, incision and drainage is required to relieve the patient from discomfort along with prescription of oral antibiotics like penicillin or clindamycin.

Root Canal Treatment

If the tooth infection has reached pulp, root canal treatment is an effective treatment option.

A root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure in which the infected pulp is removed and the tooth is disinfected and cleaned completely to remove all the debris and infection remnants.

It is a painless procedure similar to a filling and is done by an endodontist.

The entire procedure of root canal may take one or two appointments. The number of appointments depends on the tooth condition and personal preference.

Overall, the root canal therapy involves three major steps called the endodontic triad:

  • Biomechanical preparation–includes drilling of the tooth crown in a proper manner to gain access to the tooth pulp cavity.
  • Microbial control–complete removal of the infected pulp tissues.
  • Obturation of the canal–includes filling and sealing the tooth with tooth filling material and assuring no micro-leakage.


On evaluating the X-Ray, if the dentist ensures that the tooth can’t be saved by a root canal treatment, then your dentist might recommend an extraction.

After extraction, it is crucial to replace the missing teeth, otherwise leading to loss of jaw bone and weakening of the adjoining bone.


This blog post addressed the topic, “can a tooth infection cause strep throat”. We understood about strep throat, how can you get strep throat, can not brushing teeth cause strep throat and everything about tooth infections, their causes and signs and symptoms of tooth infection. The article outlined the treatment and management of tooth infection.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): Can A Tooth Infection Cause Strep Throat

Can a tooth infection affect your whole body?

Yes, tooth infection can affect your whole body if left untreated. 

Untreated tooth infection may spread to the adjoining jaw bone causing osteomyelitis.

Ascending tooth infections may enter the brain through sinuses or blood and lead to abscess formation in the brain.

Study published in the Australian Dental Journal reported ascending necrotising fasciitis resulting from the odontogenic infections.

How Do You Know If Tooth Infection Has Spread To Your Bone?

Severe throbbing pain in the adjoining jaw bone that does not even go on taking pain killers is an indication that tooth infection has spread to the bone.

X-ray taken at a dental clinic will also reveal the tooth infection that has spread to the bone.

Can a tooth infection cause a sore throat on one side?

Yes, a tooth infection if left untreated may spread and cause a sore throat. The sore throat can involve both sides or just one side depending upon the infection severity and your body’s infection fighting abilities (immunity).

Can Molars Cause Sore Throat

Yes, infected or impacted molars may cause sore throat. Molars are the posteriormost teeth in the oral cavity, nearest to the throat and therefore any infection in the molars spreads to the surrounding areas causing a painful and sore throat.

Can wisdom teeth cause a sore throat?

Yes, wisdom teeth that are partially erupted or have not fully erupted in the oral cavity, may harbour a lot of infection-causing bacteria, resulting in tooth infection that spreads to other parts of the body to cause fever, tonsillitis and sore throat.

Other FAQs about Teeth Infection that you may be interested in.

Will Listerine Kill Tooth Infection?

Best Mouthwash For Tooth Infection 

Can you catch a tooth infection from kissing?


Strep throat. (2015)

What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Infection Spreading to Your Body? (2019)

Signs and symptoms of tooth infection spreading to the body. (2020)

Sore Throat on One Side: 8 Causes – Healthline

Strep Throat And Tonsils: What’s The Connection? – Colgate

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