Lymph nodes are small oval or bean- shaped organs of the lymphatic system that are distributed throughout the human body. They can be found in your armpit, stomach or even neck. The lymph nodes perform a very important function. They are responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system by filtrating various foreign particles including cancer cells. What happens when we notice that our lymph nodes are swollen? This is actually their task; they become inflamed or enlarged when we get an infection. One of the most common causes of swollen lymph nodes is a dental problem. Everything in our mouth is well connected: ears, nose, throat and teeth. So bacteria spread very easily throughout the body. But let’s see how dental problems can cause swollen lymph nodes:
1. Teeth problems
Various teeth problems may cause swollen lymph nodes and the most common is a rotten tooth. The bacteria from your rotten tooth can spread by the blood stream to your lymph nodes making them feel uncomfortable. And this is the natural reaction of the lymph nodes: if something is wrong, they alert you by enlarging their size.
The same happens with the wisdom teeth. Sometimes they cause a lot of problems while coming out or when they are impacted. Impacted teeth mean, when they can’t come out of the gums and are simply stuck inside. Impacted wisdom teeth are very problematic as they can cause misalignment of the bite by pushing other neighboring teeth or they can be a source of various mouth infections because of trapped food and thus causing problems with the lymph nodes. If you have impacted wisdom tooth, it is better to get a wisdom tooth extraction surgery.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums and it’s simply caused by bacteria accumulated on the teeth. This is another cause of swollen lymph nodes but only if you are suffering from its severe form. And they can spread through your mouth to the lymph nodes, causing inflammation. So if you notice bigger nodes, contact your dentist as soon as possible. A patient with gingivitis has swollen, red and painful gums and they bleed while you brush your teeth. The most important thing to prevent gingivitis (and swollen lymph nodes) is maintaining proper and careful dental hygiene.
3. Tooth abscess
The tooth abscess is a more advanced form of tooth decay. It might also occur when you have a chipped tooth. Basically holes or cavities in your tooth can allow bacteria to spread into the tooth pulp and then to the root. The bacteria then travel to the lymph nodes through the bones that support your tooth. So if you get a crack in your tooth, go to the dentist straightaway for filling it as even the smallest cavity may lead to big problems.
As you can see the best way to prevent teeth problems and swollen lymph nodes is to remember about the proper hygiene. Brush your teeth every day and don’t forget about flossing and regular dentist check ups. By doing that you’ll avoid many unpleasant problems and infections.