What You Should Know About Sepsis

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What You Should Know About Sepsis

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is defined as a serious condition that occurs when the body is responding to an infection. Whenever an infection invades the body, chemicals are released into the bloodstream to fight it off. When sepsis occurs, the body is out of balance and unable to release chemicals to properly rid of infections, which could damage multiple organ systems. If left untreated, sepsis could progress to septic shock, which could cause an individual’s blood pressure to drop dramatically, and ultimately lead to death.

What You Should Know About SepsisInfections can occur anywhere in the mouth, which includes the gums, lips, palate, cheeks, tongue, and within and below the teeth. If an infection occurs within or below a tooth, the cause is usually due to tooth decay or a broken tooth. If left untreated, the pulp – which is the part of the tooth that holds blood vessels, connective tissue, and large nerves – can become infected. If this happens, bacteria travels out of the tooth and into the bone or tissue, which could cause a dental abscess. Severe cases of untreated dental infections could lead to sepsis.

Sepsis is a severe condition but can range between less or more severe. As sepsis develops, it stops the blood flow to vital organs, such as the brain, heart, and kidneys. It could also form blood clots in organs, arms, legs, fingers, and toes, which could lead to organ failure and tissue death.

Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis has killed and disabled millions of Americans who were unaware or recognized their symptoms too late. The deadly response to infection must be suspected and treated early if those suffering are expected to survive. Early signs may include:

  • Fever
  • Bitter taste in your mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling of the gums and jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Change in mental status
  • Systolic pressure less than or equal 100 millimeters of mercury
  • Respiratory rate higher than or equal to 22 breaths a minute

What Causes Sepsis?

Any bodily infection can lead to sepsis. The most common causes are dental infections due to poor dental care, pneumonia, infection of the digestive system, infection of the kidney and bladder, and bloodstream infections.

Who is At Risk of Developing Sepsis?

Anyone can develop sepsis but there are some individuals who are more susceptible than others. For example, individuals who are more likely to suffer from sepsis include people who:

  • Are very young or very old
  • Have a weak immune system
  • Have diabetes or cirrhosis
  • Are in the intensive care unit at the hospital
  • Have wounds, injuries, or burns
  • Are using catheters or breathing tubes
  • Have severe dental infections

For those who think they might be experiencing early signs of sepsis, it’s vital to seek medical attention from a dentist or other medical professional for evaluation and treatment.

San Diego Preventative Care Dentistry

At McBride Dental, we offer a number of preventative care services to help our patients maintain strong and healthy teeth. Some of our services include X-rays, dental sealants, dental cleanings, and regular checkups at our office. The purpose of preventative care is to protect smiles from tooth decay, periodontal disease, dental abscesses, and other oral infections that could lead to sepsis. If you are in search of a dental office in the San Diego area, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment today.

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