Can not brushing teeth cause a sore throat?

This blog post will answer the question, “Can not brushing teeth cause a sore throat?” and comprehensively cover topics like sore throat, signs and symptoms of sore throat, dental and general health problems associated with not brushing teeth. 

Can not brushing teeth cause a sore throat?

Yes, not brushing teeth can cause sore throat. In fact, not brushing teeth can also lead to cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, halitosis and tonsillitis.

Not brushing teeth is a bad oral hygiene practice and irritates the oral cavity leading to sore throat. Mouth ulcers caused due to bad oral hygiene can be one of the reasons for a painful and sore throat.

However, a sore throat can have several causes other than bad oral hygiene due to not brushing teeth. Some of the other common causes are viral infections, bacterial infections, other irritants and certain chemical treatments. 

Pain and difficulty swallowing, sensitivity to hot or cold foods, swollen tongue and fever or chills are some typical signs and symptoms of sore throat due to not brushing teeth. 


What is a sore throat?

Dry, painful, or itching and scratchy feeling in the throat is a sore throat with pain being the most common symptom. 

Depending on the part of the throat they affect, sore throat can be divided into following types: 

  • Pharyngitis – area right behind the mouth is mostly affected
  • Tonsillitis – swelling and redness of the tonsils mostly in the back of the mouth.
  • Laryngitis – swelling and redness of the voice box, also called larynx.

Sore throat symptoms

Sore throat symptoms may vary depending on the cause. A sore throat can feel:

  • Scratchy and itchy
  • Burning and dry
  • Tender and irritated

Symptoms of a sore throat aggravate on swallowing and the tonsils appear red. Area of pus may also form on the tonsils.

Secondary symptoms associated with sore throat are:

  • nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Sneezing and cough
  • Fever or chills
  • swollen glands in the neck and hoarse voice
  • body aches and headache
  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) and appetite loss

Causes Of Sore Throats

Causes of sore throats range from Colds, flu, viral and bacterial infections to allergies and injuries. Some of the most common causes of sore throat are: 

1. Viral infections

Viruses cause about 90 percent of sore throats. Viruses that cause sore throats are:

2. Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections can also result in sore throats. Group A Streptococcus bacteria causes the most common infection of the throat and tonsils, called Strep Throat. 

Strep throat causes nearly 40 percent of sore throat cases in children [2]. 

Tonsillitis, and sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause a sore throat.

3. Allergies

Allergens like pollen, grass, and pet dander triggers the immune system to release chemicals that cause symptoms similar to that of a sore throat. 

4. Dry air

Dry air, mostly during winters, can vapor off moisture from the mouth and throat. This leads to a dry and scratchy feeling in the throat that resembles sore throat symptoms.

5. Smoke and chemicals

The following may irritate the throat leading to symptoms similar to that of a sore throat: 

  • cigarette and other tobacco smoke
  • air pollution
  • cleaning products and other chemicals and irritants

6. Injury

Any injury, continuous talking or yelling or singing, strains the vocal cords and muscles in the throat, leading to symptoms of a sore throat.  

7. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which stomach acid returns back into the esophagus, burning the esophagus and throat, causing symptoms like heartburn.

8. Tumor

A tumor of the throat, voice box, or tongue is a rare cause of a sore throat. The signs and symptoms of sore throat in such cases are persistent and do not go away in a few days. 

Home remedies for a sore throat

Most sore throats are treatable at home with plenty of rest and following home remedies to lessen the pain of a sore throat:

  • Warm water and 1 teaspoon salt mixture gargle
  • Drink warm, throat soothing liquids like hot honey tea, herbal tea, soup broth, or warm water with lemon.
  • Suck on a piece of hard candy or a lozenge.
  • Turn on a cool mist humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • Rest your voice until your throat feels better.

When to call your doctor

Sore throats due to a viral infection usually get better on their own in two to seven days [3]. If it persists even after seven days and symptoms worsen, it is time to call your doctor. 

How is a sore throat diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose sore throat based on symptoms, a throat exam, and a strep test to rule out the possibility of strep throat. For a sore throat, you might need to visit an ears, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

Medicines for a sore throat

Pain is the most common symptom of a sore throat and can be relieved by taking over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen etc.

A sore throat spray, menthol or eucalyptus based cooling syrups or throat lozenges may also help reduce the discomfort from sore throat. 

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 Centers 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. 
  • Poor hand hygiene

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.

10 health problems associated with not brushing your teeth

Coronary artery disease: 

People with poor oral hygiene are at a greater risk to have coronary artery disease. Doctors believe it to result from oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and attaching themselves to plaque in your arteries. 

Bacterial attachment to arterial plaque causes inflammation and increases the chance for clots and blockage development leading to heart attacks.


Not brushing teeth leads to poor oral hygiene, causing bacteria to spread to the cranial nerve and thereby increasing the chances of developing dementia.


Diabetic patients with poor oral hygiene are more likely to have gum disease. 


Not brushing teeth leads to bacterial overgrowth in your mouth. This bacterial overgrowth might be inhaled into your lungs and cause pneumonia. 

Pregnancy complications: 

Not brushing teeth during pregnancy leads to poor oral health and can have children who are more prone to develop cavities and have lower birth weight. 


Not brushing teeth causes bad dental health and may be a risk factor for infertility. 

Erectile Dysfunction:

Not brushing teeth increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in man due to increased chances of developing chronic periodontal disease. 


Not brushing teeth leads to poor oral health. Poor oral health can lead to oral and throat cancers and increase the risk for kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers.

Kidney Disease:

Not brushing teeth causes poor oral health and reduced immunity. People with reduced immunity are more likely to develop kidney disease. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, people with gum disease are four times more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Dental Health Problems Associated With Poor Oral Hygiene

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and inflammation affecting the structures surrounding the teeth. The following are some alarming signs of periodontal disease:

  • Bad breath or bad taste that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums that are tender or bleeding
  • Painful chewing of food
  • Loose and sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums

Smoking, Diabetes, Poor oral hygiene, Stress, Underlying immuno-deficiencies like AIDS, defective fillings and certain medications are risk factors associated with periodontitis.

Dental Caries

Not brushing teeth causes accumulation of bacteria on teeth that break down food and produce acid. The acid further destroys tooth enamel and results in dental caries or dental cavities or tooth cavities.

Receding Gums

Not brushing teeth leads to poor oral health, periodontal diseases and receding gums. Gum recession exposes more of the tooth, or the tooth’s root, creating gaps between teeth and gum line.

Bacterial accumulation occurs in the gaps and if left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged, and may finally result in tooth loss.


Dry Mouth (Xerostomia):

Dryness of the mouth, also called as Xerostomia, is a condition that may result from not brushing teeth. It causes a burning sensation in the mouth and increases the risk of developing several oral infections including sore throat.



Oral Cancer:

Abnormal growth in the mouth region which is known as oral cancer can result from poor oral hygiene especially among the elderly people. 



How to practice good oral hygiene?

To practice good oral hygiene, some of the below mentioned steps can be followed:

  • Brush the teeth and gums for two minutes at least twice a day.
  • Floss the teeth daily.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco products.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet for optimum nutrition.
  • Take supplements that will boost your dental health.

Oral health is an indicator of overall health. Brushing teeth daily will help maintain good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene will ensure better general and dental health, preventing from all the general and dental health problems.



This blog post addressed the question, “Can not brushing teeth cause a sore throat?” We understood that not brushing teeth could lead to a sore throat as well as cause various other general and dental health problems. We also discussed in detail about sore throat, its signs and symptoms and some preventive strategies.




Can I get sick from not brushing my teeth?

Yes, you can get sick from not brushing your teeth. Not brushing teeth leads to bacterial accumulation that is inhaled into your lungs causing Pneumonia. 

Poor oral health also causes gingivitis, periodontitis and tonsillitis that makes you sick.

Does brushing your teeth help with sore throat?

Yes, brushing your teeth can be an effective way to get rid of a sore throat. Brushing your teeth helps maintain a good oral health that improves the overall infection fighting ability of the body.

Can teeth issues cause sore throat?

Yes, teeth issues like an abscessed tooth can cause severe pain, and can also cause bacteria to spread throughout your mouth, resulting in a sore throat.

What happens if you don’t brush your teeth for years?

According to most research studies, if you don’t brush your teeth for years, the risk of developing dental cavities, gingival and periodontal diseases increases multifold.

However, the severity of damage depends on the person and their health. Not brushing teeth for years also reduces the immunity and may increase the risk of developing general health problems. 

What drink helps a sore throat?

Gargling with a mixture of warm water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt helps a sore throat heal faster. 

Drink warm, throat soothing liquids such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or warm water with lemon.

Can not brushing teeth cause mouth infection?

Yes, not brushing teeth causes mouth infection by lowering the overall immunity of the body. Periodontal disease and dental caries are the most common mouth infections to occur.

Why does my throat hurt if I don’t brush my teeth before I sleep?

Acid might be the reason for your hurting throat. Poor oral hygiene causes bacterial accumulation on the teeth. These bacterias convert sugars to lactic acid and this acid further erodes the tooth and causes pain.

Another cause can be mouth breathing that makes the mouth and throat dry leading to discomfort and pain.


Yes, sore throat is a secondary symptom of toothache. Many patients don’t realize the cause of the pain in their throat is actually their teeth. 

A wisdom tooth infection may feel like a sore throat and may even be accompanied by swollen lymph node glands resembling a common cold.

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

Can You Brush Without Toothpaste?

Can You Brush Your Enamel Off?

Can You Brush Your Teeth With Hydrogen Peroxide?


  1. Sore Throat, (2020)
  1. Strep throat. (2015).
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  1. Health problems associated with not brushing your teeth, (2017)
  1. Orisa-Ubi, C. O. Dental Health Problems Associated With Poor Oral Hygiene Practices and Its General Health Implication among the Elderly.
  1. Periodontal Disease, CDC
  1. Dental Caries, (2016)
  1. Dye BA, Tan S, Smith V, Lewis BG, Barker LK, Thornton-Evans G, Eke PI, Beltrán-Aguilar ED, Horowitz AM, Li CH. Trends in oral health status, United States, 1988-1994 and 1999-2004.
  1. Receding Gums, (2019)
  1. Dry Mouth, (2021)

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