Spring is in the air… finally! Time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Also enjoying the outdoors are ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease. Unfortunately, Ohio’s tick population has significantly risen, thereby increasing the number of Lyme disease cases in the state. The symptoms of this disease are varied and do include some dental health conditions. Read on for a basic understanding of the connection between Lyme disease and teeth from your Reynoldsburg dentist.
What is Lyme Disease?
First, let’s discuss Lyme disease itself. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that is affecting far more people than ever before. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected blacklegged tick. It can also be transmitted through saliva, blood and other bodily fluids.
The early signs—within three to 30 days after a tick bite—include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Several days or even months after the bite, more severe signs and symptoms may appear such as:
- Severe headaches and a stiff neck
- More erythema migrans rashes on the body
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, especially at the knees or other large joints
- Facial palsy
- Heart palpitations, called Lyme carditis
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Nerve pain, numbness and tingling in the hands or feet
- Short-term memory problems
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
What’s the Connection between Lyme Disease and Dental Health?
Some of these symptoms can show up in your mouth. For example, the symptoms of numbness and tingling can affect your tongue, cheeks and lips. You may feel pain in your temporomandibular joints, the large and intricate joints that hinge the lower jaw to the skull so you can open and close your mouth.
Other dental complications that can happen as a result of Lyme disease include:
- Heavy plaque buildup
- Infected and bleeding gums
- An increased number of cavities that can happen quickly and are more invasive
- Unusual teeth sensitivity and pain
- Jawbone pain
How Does Lyme Disease Infect the Oral Cavity?
Lyme-related microbes and other bacteria can infest a root canal or cavity. In addition, the metals in your mouth from past or current dental work can contribute to symptoms related to mold and Lyme-related illnesses. Also, if you need to have a tooth extracted, then a hidden Lyme infection may be exposed and result in a serious flare.
Therefore, to better maintain your oral and general health if you have Lyme disease, seeing your dentist in Columbus is critical. With regular dental cleanings and exams, your dentist near me can help your avoid Lyme-related illnesses. Schedule a visit today.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Walt Mick is a family and cosmetic dentist in Reynoldsburg, OH. He and his staff offer a range of general, restorative and cosmetic dental services to help keep you and your smile healthy and beautiful.