A tooth abscess is caused by bacteria. It begins when bacteria invade and infect a tooth. This results in pus build-up. When the pus is unable to drain, an abscess results.
Conditions that allow bacteria to invade a tooth:
- Severe tooth decay
- Break or crack in a tooth that lets bacteria invade the pulp
Food or other foreign matter that becomes trapped between the tooth and gum may lead to a bacterial infection in the area around the tooth.
These factors increase your chance of developing a tooth abscess. Tell your dentist if you have any of these risk factors:
- Build up of tartar or calculus beneath the gum line
- Poor fluoride application to teeth via fluoridated water, toothpaste, or mouthwash
- Poor dental hygiene (leading to cavities and periodontal diseases)
- Malnutrition, including severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies