Can Popping a Gum Abscess Kill You

can it be fatal to pop a gum abscess

A gum abscess is a condition that you should not treat lightly.

Can popping a gum abscess kill you? Short answer is, yes it can.

This is not just an ordinary bacterial infection that gives you toothache and bad breath. When you do not treat a popped gum abscess immediately, you could put yourself into a life-threatening situation.

Read on to find out more about gum abscess, what causes it, what makes it pop, and what you should do in case your gum abscess pops.

What Is Gum Abscess?

Before we discuss in detail what happens when a gum abscess pops and how you should deal with it, you should have a full understanding of what it is.

A gum abscess starts out as a bacterial infection. In this case, the gum becomes a refuge for the bacteria.

The body tries to fight off the bacteria and this can lead to huge amounts of dead white blood cells building up in the gum. Eventually, the buildup will turn into pus. If the pus is contained within the gum tissue, a gum abscess starts to form.

What Causes a Gum Abscess

A gum abscess can be caused by poor oral hygiene and eating too much sugary food. To learn more, read this article from the Cleveland Clinic.

It can also be caused by gum injuries like scratches or pokes on the gum line when you consume hard and sharp food. Whenever the soft gum tissue is injured, bacteria can easily take refuge in it and cause an infection.

Any unnatural dimple, pocket, or spot that takes place in the gums can lead to gum abscess.

What Causes a Gum Abscess to Pop

There are two main reasons why a gum abscess would burst:


The most common reason why a gum abscess would burst is neglect. If you ignore the infection without any medical intervention, the gum abscess will eventually burst on its own.

Take note that a gum abscess can not heal itself and the problem does not eventually go away. Your body will continue to generate white blood cells to fight off the bacteria and this will lead to more pus formation.

Poking or jabbing

A gum abscess can pop when you poke or jab it accidentally or intentionally. An unintentional poke would happen when you are eating something hard or sharp and it happens to puncture the gum abscess.

What to Do When a Gum Abscess Pops

A popped gum abscess is a dental emergency and it needs to be dealt with right away before it can turn fatal.

Just because the pus is gone does not mean the problem is eliminated. The infection is still there and the dentist should treat it so that it does not worsen.

Oftentimes, when a popped gum abscess is untreated, another one forms back in its place.

Why You Should Not Delay Treatment

Usually, pus and blood flooding into your mouth should be enough for anyone to rush to the dentist. But you’d be surprised how many people think rinsing everything out is enough.

As mentioned earlier, just because a gum abscess pops does not mean the infection is already gone. It is more likely to grow again when left untreated.

If that does not convince you to make an appointment with your dentist, this list of consequences probably will:

The infection will escalate

A popped gum abscess is an open wound and if left untreated, new types of bacteria can be introduced into it and make it worse. Failing to clean the wound right away will also cause the bacteria to multiply.

A popped gum abscess is also an unpleasant experience that may cause you to gag and if you vomit, it would introduce germs into the wound.

The infection will spread to other parts of your body

If you happen to swallow some of the pus and blood from the popped gum abscess, the bacteria will travel to the other systems of your body. This could make you seriously ill and can cause sepsis, which can damage your organs.

The infection will interfere with your breathing

When a gum abscess pops, it can cause a chain reaction and make the tissues around the infected area swell. If this reaction reaches tissues and flesh near your airway, you will find yourself in a life-threatening situation.

What to do if you can’t see a dentist right away

Sometimes it is not possible to see the dentist right away like when the gum abscess popped in the middle of the night or you are unable to leave work.

In the meantime, here are some things that you can do for your oral health. Take note that these are not permanent solutions – you still have to see your dentist after.

Salty water

Salt has antimicrobial properties that can delay the infection’s progress.

Dissolve salt in warm water and use it to gargle, making sure you give your mouth a thorough swish.

Hydrogen peroxide

Dilute hydrogen peroxide in water and gently rinse your mouth with it. Like salt, this will help contain the bacteria temporarily.

Remember that hydrogen peroxide should not be swallowed so be extra careful when you use this homemade solution.

Baking soda

Baking soda has mild antibacterial properties that will soothe any pain you feel that is caused by gum abscess.

All you have to do is dilute the baking soda in water and give your mouth a thorough rinse with it.

Essential oils

When it come to getting temporary relief for gum abscess, you can use essential oil therapy. All you have to do is add a few drops in a cotton ball or swab then hold the cotton on the infected area for two to three minutes.

Essential oils that you can use for gum abscesses include thyme, oregano, peppermint, and clove.

Fenugreek tea

Fenugreek tea has a long history as a home remedy for wounds and inflammation because it has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

All you have to do is make the tea, wait for it to cool down, and apply a few drops to a cotton ball. Gently press the cotton ball to the affected area.

You can do this up to three times a day to relieve inflammation.

Garlic paste

Another common alternative medicine that you can use is garlic. It has allicin, a medicinal component with antibacterial properties.

All you have to do is crush a clove of garlic until it forms a paste. Then, rub the paste gently in the infected area.

Leave it for 10 minutes before you remove it. Rinse your mouth after.

Ice bag

If you feel pain and discomfort, place an ice bag against your jaw or cheek. This will give you temporary relief.

Take note that it will do nothing for the healing process.

Last Thoughts

Remember, your mouth is a bacteria-rich environment. No matter how much you brush your teeth or gargle, it does not stay clean and sanitary for long.

Popping a gum abscess in your mouth will eventually become a major problem for your entire body if you leave it untreated.

If you have a popped gum abscess, contact your dentist right away!

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