7 Most Common Causes Of Tooth Abscess

Causes of tooth abscess


If you have a toothache that goes beyond mild to moderate tooth pain and reaches a level of severe, throbbing pain, it could be a sign of a tooth abscess. A tooth abscess is a pus-filled lesion at the roots of a tooth due to an infection. The pus is made up of dead tissues, white blood cells and also bacteria. There are several causes of tooth abscess which we will discuss in this article.

The infection spreads to the inner layers of the tooth when a tooth cavity or caries is left untreated. Cavity or caries are occurs when foreign substances enter into the tooth through weak enamel, a chipped tooth, or a cracked tooth.



The first sign is a throbbing toothache that won’t go away. The tooth will likely be sensitive to chewing and biting, as well as to heat and cold. You may also develop a fever, swollen lymph nodes in your jaw or neck, or swelling on your face. If the abscess ruptures, you’ll know because of the nasty-tasting discharge in your mouth.

Neglected tooth abscess often leads to life-threatening complications. Analyze your tooth’s current infection stage to make the right decision towards healing it.

There are different home remedies for tooth abscess that can help reduce your pain instantly. Not only that, if you are looking for a complete guide to improve oral hygiene and prevent tooth problems, I suggest you read this!

What are the different types?

Abscesses can form very quickly. Sometimes they form only one or two days after the infection starts. There are two types of abscesses:

  • A gum abscess (also called a periodontal abscess). It is usually due to an infection in the space between the tooth and gum. The infection may occur after food gets trapped between the gum and tooth. In people with severe periodontal disease, bacteria can build up under the gum and in the bone.
  • A tooth-related abscess (also called a periapical abscess) occurs inside the tooth. This happens when the tooth’s nerve is dead or dying. This type of abscess shows up at the tip of the tooth’s root. Then it spreads to the surrounding bone.

What Causes Tooth Abscess?

Bacteria getting into your teeth or gums leads to a dental abscess. Such infection mostly takes place in wisdom teeth because they are in the farthest corner and tough to clean. Plus, they may have a decay or cavity that goes unnoticed. Below are some of the causes of tooth abscess.



1. Tongue Piercings

Tongue piercings may cause teeth to break, leading to dental repair. This may further increase the risk of infection. Additionally, tongue piercings encourage build-up of bacteria in the mouth, increasing the risk of a tooth abscess. Tongue piercings may also get infected, causing a potentially fatal situation which could obstruct your airway and causing death.

2. Teeth Grinding

This is also called bruxism and may be inherited or caused by stress. When you grind your teeth, you may break the teeth or chip it. This eventually leads to loss of a tooth or two. Tooth loss also increases the risk of having it abscessed.

3. Smoking

Smoking causes your mouth to dry out and also increase the amount of plaques and debris in the mouth. These factors encourage bacterial growth and cause tooth decay. Additionally, smoking causes gum disease and also mouth cancer, both of which may cause tooth damage and loss.

4. Poor Dental Hygiene

Not taking proper care of your teeth and gums such as not brushing your teeth twice a day and not flossing regularly can increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, and other dental and mouth complications.

5. A Diet High in Sugar

Frequently eating and drinking foods rich in sugar, such as sweets and sodas, can contribute to dental cavities and turn into a tooth abscess.

6. Dry Mouth

Having a dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay. Dry mouth is often due to the side effect of certain medications or aging issues.

7. Acidic Beverages

Examples of these beverages include lime juice, lemon juice, and cranberry juice. The acid content in these beverages are high enough to erode teeth enamel if consistently consumed.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms Of Tooth Abscess?

You might notice:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Gum redness
  • Bad taste
  • Pain when you chew
  • Jaw pain
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing

Sometimes an abscess causes a pimple-like bump on your gum. If you press it and liquid oozes out, it’s a sure bet you have an abscessed tooth. That liquid is pus.

Take Away

A tooth abscess can get its start as an untreated tooth cavity. So the best way to prevent an abscess is to prevent the cavity in the first place by following a consistent oral health routine of twice daily tooth brushing and daily flossing.

Regular visits to your dental professional are also important. This is especially if you’ve been treated for an abscess. This allows your dentist to confirm that the infection has cleared.



About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At felclinic.com we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

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