Tooth infections, signalled by bad breath, can be dangerous
SUMMARY: If you've ever suffered from bad breath and a toothache at the same time, then prepare to be shocked. Recently, it was reported that a 24-year-old Cincinnati resident died after letting an aching jaw (caused by an infected tooth) get out of hand.
Posted: September 9, 2011
If you've ever suffered from bad breath and a toothache at the same time, then prepare to be shocked. Recently, it was reported that a 24-year-old Cincinnati resident died after letting an aching jaw (caused by an infected tooth) get out of hand.
Kyle Willis, a devoted husband and father of a 6-year-old daughter, succumbed to a serious infection at University Hospital in Cincinnati, according to NBC affiliate WLWT News 5.
His wisdom tooth had been aching for weeks, but Willis - who was unemployed in the last months of his life - had no insurance and so avoided seeing his dentist, family members told the news channel.
His aunt, Patti Collins, added that her nephew, an up-and-coming paralegal, had only sought help when his face began to swell. However, by then the situation had become too serious, even once Willis was admitted to the hospital and given antibiotics.
"The [doctors offered] him antibiotics and pain medication. But he couldn't afford to pay for the antibiotic, so he chose the pain meds, which was not what he needed," she told the news source. "He should have gone to the dentist to take care of the toothache, and it wouldn't have escalated to this. It's a lesson learned by all."
Willis ultimately succumbed to a serious brain infection.
Taking care of one's teeth is vital, even if financing your oral health is difficult. After all, any aching tooth can indicate a more serious problem.
For instance, imagine you've got a toothache, along with bad breath, headaches, insomnia and even depression. Is your problem the ache itself?
Many health experts say there may be an underlying issue in instances like this. The National Institutes of Health notes that these symptoms could point to several jaw disorders, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems and bruxism, also known as jaw clenching or tooth grinding.
If you have either condition, you could be wearing away at your enamel or cracking your teeth. This can lead to tooth infections or cavities, which can compound the halitosis and toothaches that may come with bruxism or TMJ.
Likewise, a toothache may indicate some oral health problem, like gingivitis, periodontal disease or an impacted tooth, all of which can give you bad breath, severe pain and - if left untreated - potentially much worse.
What can be done? It is important to schedule regular dental appointments. In between visits, be sure to brush and floss at least twice a day. To make your dentist happy, consider using a specialty breath freshening rinse or lozenge after each brushing.