Can A Tooth Infection Cause You To Feel Tired

This blog post will address the topic, “can a tooth infection cause you to feel tired” and cover topics like how long can a tooth infection go untreated, what will happen if you ignore the tooth infection, symptoms of tooth infection spreading to body,  what a tooth infection is, causes of tooth infection, signs and symptoms of tooth infection, alarming symptoms of tooth infection, treatment and management of tooth infection and prevention of tooth infection. 

Can A Tooth Infection Cause You To Feel Tired

Yes, a tooth infection if left untreated can cause you to feel tired along with body aches and mild fever. An infected tooth that has spread to your body may also cause other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting and dehydration.

How Long Can A Tooth Infection Go Untreated

A tooth infection must not be left untreated for long. If left untreated for more than a week or month, it may spread to the jaw bone, neck, ear and brain.

Untreated tooth infection may ascend to the brain through sinuses or blood and lead to brain abscess and if treatment is not initiated, may even lead to death of the person.

What will happen if I ignore the tooth infection or leave it untreated?

If the tooth infection is left untreated, infection spreads and may cause systemic problems that may be fatal.

A study reported 40% mortality associated with descending tooth infection left untreated.

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.

Symptoms of tooth infection spreading to body

Tooth infection starts with a toothache and if ignored may further spread to the adjoining periodontal tissues and even jaw bone.

Tooth infection spreading to the body may have the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Swelling on the face
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration leading to darker urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Increase in Heart Rate
  • Inability to open mouth
  • Pain on opening mouth
  • Jaw Pain
  • Dryness of the mouth with burning sensation

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 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 favorable 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 the 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 depend on the tooth condition and personal preference.

Overall, the root canal therapy involves three major steps called as 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.

Prevention of tooth infection

Tooth infection can be prevented by following a proper oral hygiene routine and eating foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D.

All steps taken to prevent cavities formation or reverse cavities in its earliest stage, can prevent tooth infection as well.

Some of the preventive strategies to be followed to prevent cavities or reverse cavities and thereby preventing tooth infection are:



It is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) to  brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a toothpaste containing fluoride. 

It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning, just after waking up and once at night, just before going to bed.

You must also clean your teeth and gums, each time after you have food but not with a toothbrush. Simple rinse with water is considered good for overall oral health and hygiene.

Following this tooth brushing habit will help you prevent cavity formation in the first place and also reverse a small cavity naturally in its earliest stage.

Avoid Immediately Brushing after Eating Acidic Foods

You must wait for 30 minutes to one hour after consumption of acidic foods and drinks. The acid in the food or drink otherwise may erode the enamel layer and regular habit may cause exposed dentin leading to pain and sensitivity and increased risk of developing cavities.

Use Gentle and Short Strokes When Brushing Your Teeth

Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth and thoroughly clean your mouth without abrading the enamel and preventing cavities from developing.

Brush the outside surfaces as well as the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces. Brush the inside surfaces of both top and bottom front teeth by flipping your toothbrush upside down.

Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria or plaque.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride can greatly help achieve oral and dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. 

Fluoride reduces the amount of acid produced by the bacteria on your mouth and also helps the cavity in its earliest stage to repair and reverse. 

Floss Daily To Get Maximum Benefits Out Of Tooth Brushing

Many people, despite knowing the benefits of flossing daily, just neglect it.

According to a study, flossing is highly effective in reducing the interproximal caries risk. 

Daily floss can help stimulate your gums and reduce plaque leading to lesser inflammation risk and increased healing process of the cavity in its earliest stage.

Consider mouthwash

Therapeutic Mouthwashes contain ADA listed active ingredients such as fluoride, peroxide, essential oils, cetylpyridinium chloride, and chlorhexidine, preventing cavities from forming and naturally healing and reversing the formed cavity in its earliest stage.

Therapeutic mouthwashes as the name suggests have therapeutic action and control dental conditions like gingivitis, tooth decay and periodontal diseases. They also help remove halitosis.

Consult Your Dentist Twice In A Year

It is important to get your oral health checked twice every year with an interval of 6 months between two visits.

Your dentist can help remove calculus and locate cavities and will also be able to spot potential oral health issues, if any, and offer treatment solutions.

Fluoride treatments initiated in the earliest stages of tooth cavity may help it to reverse and heal.

Eat Foods Rich In Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus And Vitamins 

Calcium Rich Foods 

Calcium plays an important role in enamel remineralization and saliva production.

The remineralization process is essential for the cavity to reverse naturally.

Optimal saliva production acts as a natural cleanser and prevents plaque accumulation and acts as an adjunct in the process of healing cavity naturally.

All thanks to calcium rich foods like cauliflower, nuts, salmons and figs.

Magnesium Rich Foods 

Magnesium is essential for remineralization of the enamel as well as to maintain a balance of minerals like calcium and phosphorus.

Magnesium deficiency will lead to enamel demineralization and weakening of the enamel, halting the natural healing of the cavity.

Leafy green vegetables, avocado and squash seeds are some magnesium rich foods that you can consider.

Phosphorus Rich Foods 

Foods like meat, eggs and dairy products are rich in phosphorus and help in naturally healing the cavity in its earliest stage.

Vitamin D Rich Foods 

Vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphorus absorption in the body and its deficiency eventually wastes the calcium you intake.

Spending a few minutes in the morning sun gives an adequate amount of vitamin D to the body. However, foods like fish and egg yolks are rich vitamin D sources.

Vitamin D And Cavity Prevention: What Research Says?

According to research, children with vitamin D deficiency had an increased risk of developing enamel defects and tooth fracture.

Another clinical trial reported vitamin D to be a prominent agent for caries prevention.

Study published in the journal of dental research, concluded that vitamin D is essential for lowering the risk of developing caries in children.


This blog post addressed the topic, “can a tooth infection cause you to feel tired”. We understood what a tooth infection is, causes of tooth infection, signs and symptoms of tooth infection and alarming symptoms of tooth infection.

The article outlined the treatment and management of tooth infection including strategies for prevention of tooth infection. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): Can A Tooth Infection Cause You To Feel Tired

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 Bad Tooth Make Your Body Ache?

Yes, a bad tooth can make your body ache if the infection of the tooth has spread systemically causing fatigue and body aches.

A bad tooth or infected tooth that has spread to your body may also cause other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting and dehydration.

How Long Does Amoxicillin Take To Work For Tooth Infection?

Amoxicillin may take 2-3 days to work against the tooth infection. Improvements in the symptoms associated with tooth infection will begin to show within the same period.

Patients allergic to penicillin may be prescribed clindamycin as it is a better alternative due to its wide range of antimicrobial activity.

Can I Cure A Tooth Infection Without Antibiotics?

No, complete cure of a tooth infection involves combination of salt water rinses in lukewarm water multiple times a day and intake of penicillin antibiotics like amoxicillin as per your dentist’s prescription.

However, the initial stage of cavity can be reversed with proper oral hygiene and eating foods rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D.

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

How long can a tooth infection go untreated

Can a tooth infection cause strep throat?

Will Listerine Kill Tooth Infection?


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

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

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Patti L, Gupta M. Change In Mental Status. [Updated 2021 Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

Shweta, Prakash SK. Dental abscess: A microbiological review. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2013;10(5):585-591.

The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. (2018)

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