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Can Bad Teeth Affect Your Eyes?

Failing to take care of your dental health doesn’t just affect your teeth and gums. In some cases, bad teeth and tooth pain can even cause eye problems. At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to help you keep your mouth and the rest of your body healthy. Let’s take a look at the different ways that the side effects of bad teeth can affect your eyes.  

Four Consequences of Bad Teeth That Can Affect Your Eyes

1: Nerve Pain

Cracked teeth, tooth decay, and other problems associated with bad teeth can irritate the nerves inside them, causing toothaches. In some cases, nerve pain in one of your teeth can radiate to your head and eyes, causing eye pain and headaches.

There are many possible causes of tooth pain, so it’s important to consult your dentist as soon as you experience a toothache. Identifying and treating the cause as early as possible can help prevent eye problems caused by tooth pain. 

2: Gum Disease

Gum (periodontal) disease is a result of plaque buildup that irritates and infects the gums. The bacteria that form plaque can travel through your bloodstream and affect other parts of your body, including your eyes. When left untreated, gum infections can lead to tooth loss and complicate other diseases. 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) has been linked to tooth loss caused by periodontal disease. POAG is the most common form of glaucoma. It occurs when the eyes can’t drain themselves, and causes eye pressure that damages the optic nerve. 

Treating gum disease in its earliest stages is crucial in preventing tooth loss as well as other complications like glaucoma. If you have tender, swollen, receding, or bleeding gums, please don’t hesitate to contact your dentist.

3: Pulpitis

Poor oral hygiene increases your risk of cavities that allow harmful bacteria to reach the sensitive inside of your tooth, the pulp. Cracked teeth from an injury or from teeth grinding can also expose the tooth pulp. When the pulp is exposed, bacteria can then cause a painful infection called pulpitis. 

Pulp infections are reversible in the earliest stages, but can quickly become more severe and require a root canal treatment to save the affected tooth. During a root canal procedure, your dentist removes the infected tooth pulp, cleans the root canal, and repairs the tooth. 

Without a root canal treatment, the infection can spread, and the bacteria could reach the eyes and damage the optic nerve, causing glaucoma. And, although this type of complication is rare, root canal procedures can sometimes cause infections that might eventually affect the vision. 

4: Broken Amalgam Fillings

Silver amalgam fillings are an older type of filling made up of mercury, silver, and other metals. Neglecting your oral health or grinding your teeth can wear down amalgam fillings, increasing your risk of exposure to mercury vapor. 

Too much mercury vapor exposure over time can cause problems with the brain, kidneys, liver, and even the eyes. When you need a cavity filled nowadays, most dentists will use composite resin, which is a much safer material. But if you have old amalgam fillings that are showing signs of wear, it may be time to replace them

How to Maintain Good Oral and Eye Health

To keep your mouth and eyes healthy, make sure to:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Floss once a day
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get amalgam fillings replaced with newer, safer materials
  • See your dentist once every six months for checkups and cleanings

Preventative Dental Care in Gilbert, Arizona

Because a healthy mouth promotes healthy eyes, it’s essential that you take good care of your teeth and gums. Preventative treatments like teeth cleanings and exams combined with daily oral care habits are the best ways to keep your mouth healthy. If you’re due for a checkup, contact Lifetime Family Dental. We can help you improve your oral health with a professional cleaning and a variety of other preventative services. Call us at 480-558-4331 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/26/2022). Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash