Poor Oral Health Can Be a Matter of Life or Death

McKinney, TX spring and winter

At our family dentistry in McKinney, Dr. Lawrence strives to teach patients about the important impact their oral health can have on their overall health. While we’ve covered various studies in our blog that link poor oral health with a range of chronic illnesses that range from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to cancer, the simple truth of the matter is that poor oral health can actually be a matter of life or death.

A recent story serves as an unfortunate example of how something as routine as a toothache can end in tragedy.

Last month, a California man died due an oral infection spreading throughout his body. The 26-year-old man, Vadim Kondratyuk, visited a dentist after experiencing a bad toothache. The dentist prescribed the man antibiotics, which made him feel better until his mouth began to swell. Not only did the swelling make it difficult for Mr. Kondratyuk to breath, it also indicated the infection had started to spread throughout the body, eventually taking his life.

What this tragedy helps to underscore is the need to never ignore your oral health or simply assume a toothache only means you need to brush more.

The Dangers of Not Treating Oral Problems

A lot of people believe that a toothache will go away on its own. Perhaps the pain comes from biting down too hard on something or from eating or drinking something too hot or cold. While these things can cause a temporary pain, toothaches that persist well after you’ve eaten or drank anything could be a sign of an infection. When left untreated, infection can spread.

It’s not uncommon for people to seek emergency medical attention at hospitals due to an oral infection that starts to become life threatening as swelling begins to cut off their air supply.

While toothaches that signal an infection can cause swelling as a major symptom, they can also remain symptom free until too late. An oral infection may spread to the throat, causing swelling. But it could also just as easily spread to the brain. An oral infection that takes root in the brain is just as deadly, but without the frightening side effect of swelling that sends many people to the hospital where they receive lifesaving care.

Unfortunately, you can never know what a persistent toothache may signal. At the very least, it probably signifies severe tooth decay, gum recession, or a cracked tooth. On the other end of the spectrum, a toothache could signify an oral infection that could become life threatening if allowed to spread. No matter how you look at it, however, a toothache still signifies the need to seek out dental care to have the problem addressed. By waiting, you not only allow the problem to potentially progress into something more serious, you are certain to place your long-term oral health at risk.

The Need for Regular Dental Care

The dangers presented by untreated oral health problems underscores the need for regular checkups and exams at our family dentistry in McKinney with Dr. Lawrence.

Regular exams provide Dr. Lawrence with the opportunity to spot the early signs of tooth decay and oral disease before they have the chance to progress into a far more serious long-term health problem.

Regular exams also allow Dr. Lawrence to easily treat any potential oral health problems, saving you any unnecessary discomfort and the money more expensive procedures would cost to correct a problem after it has gotten worse.