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Does Lyme Disease Make Your Teeth Fall Out? Addressing The Dental Risks!

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Lyme disease can contribute to tooth loss through various mechanisms. Chronic gum inflammation from Lyme disease can lead to periodontitis, weakening the tissues supporting the teeth. Bacteria associated with Lyme disease can infect root canal-treated teeth, causing local issues and impacting oral health indirectly.

The disease’s impact on the immune system can make it harder to fight off bacteria causing cavities and gum disease. Additionally, theories suggest that Lyme disease bacteria can burrow into gum tissues, leading to infection and inflammation, potentially causing chronic periodontitis and ultimately tooth loss

Key takeaways:

Lyme Disease can cause chronic gum inflammation and periodontitis, which can damage the tissues supporting the teeth. This can lead to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.
The bacteria associated with Lyme Disease have been found in root canal-treated teeth, which can also cause local infection and inflammation.
Lyme Disease weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off other bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease, increasing the risk of tooth loss.

The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease symptoms vary based on the infection stage, but common ones include:

1. Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 Days After Tick Bite): Fever

2. Later Signs and Symptoms (Days to Months After Tick Bite): Additional EM rashes have been observed in various body areas.

If you experience symptoms like tick bites, live in a Lyme disease-prone area, or recently traveled to such a location, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. Lyme disease is challenging to diagnose due to its varied symptoms, and diagnosis is usually based on a combination of symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Testing is often done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

The Oral Manifestations Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can manifest in the oral cavity in several ways. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease have been found to reside in the mouth, particularly in the dentin and dentinal tubules of teeth, as well as in the gum tissues. This can lead to several oral health issues:

Lyme disease has been linked to the development of chronic periodontitis, a severe gum infection that damages the gums and destroys the underlying jawbone that supports the teeth. This can ultimately lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

Lyme disease can cause a decrease in saliva production, leading to a condition called xerostomia or dry mouth. Reduced saliva flow increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, as saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids and washing away food particles.

Lyme disease patients have reported experiencing increased tooth sensitivity, which can make eating and drinking uncomfortable and hinder proper oral hygiene.

Lyme disease can cause facial pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, which can further complicate dental treatment and oral health management.

Some Lyme disease patients have reported experiencing a burning sensation in the mouth, a condition known as burning mouth syndrome, which can be a challenging symptom to manage.

The Indirect Link To Tooth Loss

While Lyme disease may not directly cause teeth to fall out, it can indirectly contribute to tooth loss through its impact on oral health. The chronic inflammation and infection associated with Lyme disease can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off other oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

Additionally, the pain and general symptoms of Lyme disease can make it challenging for patients to maintain proper oral hygiene, leading to a higher risk of developing dental problems that can ultimately result in tooth loss. The difficulty in chewing and swallowing due to Lyme-related facial pain and TMJ dysfunction can also exacerbate existing dental issues.

Dental Considerations For Lyme Disease Patients

For individuals with Lyme disease, it is crucial to work closely with both their healthcare providers and their dental team to address any oral health concerns. Dentists should be made aware of a patient’s Lyme disease diagnosis, as this information can help guide their treatment approach and prevent potential complications.

Some key considerations for dental care in Lyme disease patients include:

Delayed Dental Procedures

Dentists may choose to postpone certain procedures, such as tooth extractions, to avoid triggering a Lyme disease flare-up. This is because the exposure of Borrelia bacteria during dental work can potentially lead to a worsening of symptoms.

Antimicrobial Treatments

Dentists may recommend antimicrobial treatments, such as ozone therapy or the use of specific mouthwashes, to help control the growth of Borrelia bacteria in the oral cavity.

Monitoring For Oral Manifestations

Regular dental check-ups and vigilance for any signs of oral health issues, such as gum inflammation, tooth sensitivity, or changes in taste, can help identify and address problems early on.

Collaboration With Healthcare Providers

Effective management of Lyme disease and its oral manifestations often requires close collaboration between the patient’s dentist, primary care physician, and other healthcare providers involved in their care.

The Long-term Effects Of Lyme Disease On The Body

The long-term effects of Lyme disease on the body can be debilitating and varied, affecting different systems and functions. Some of the long-term effects of Lyme disease include:

About 5-20% of Lyme disease patients may experience debilitating long-term effects, also known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). These symptoms can include fatigue, body aches, and difficulty thinking, which can last for years even after treatment with antibiotics.

Some individuals may develop pain and swelling in the joints, leading to arthritis-like symptoms that persist over time.

Lyme disease can cause nerve-related issues such as pain or numbness, affecting the peripheral nervous system and leading to ongoing discomfort.

In severe cases, Lyme disease can affect the heart, leading to complications such as irregular heartbeat or other cardiac issues.

Trouble with memory, concentration, and cognitive function can arise as long-term effects of Lyme disease, impacting daily life and overall well-being.

Some professionals believe that the bacterial infection from Lyme disease may trigger an autoimmune reaction, leading to a range of symptoms and complications.

Even after treatment, some individuals may continue to experience symptoms like fatigue, aches, and loss of energy, which can be compared to conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Diagnosing and treating the long-term effects of Lyme disease can be challenging, as the exact cause of persistent symptoms is not always clear. This can lead to ongoing suffering and the need for comprehensive evaluation and management.

Does Lyme Disease Cause Teeth To Fall Out?

Lyme Disease can indirectly contribute to tooth loss by causing chronic gum inflammation and periodontitis, damaging the tissues supporting teeth. The bacteria associated with Lyme Disease can be found in root canal-treated teeth, potentially leading to local infection and inflammation.

Additionally, the weakened immune system in Lyme Disease patients can make it harder to fight off bacteria causing cavities and gum disease, increasing the risk of tooth loss. While Lyme Disease itself does not directly cause teeth to fall out, its impact on oral health can lead to complications that may result in tooth loss if not properly managed.

Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease

➡️Clinical Evaluation

A diagnosis of Lyme disease is often based on a clinical evaluation of signs and symptoms, especially if there is a history of exposure to ticks in endemic areas.

➡️ Rash Recognition

The presence of erythema migrans (EM) rash, which can appear as a target or “bull’s-eye” rash, is a key indicator for diagnosing Lyme disease.

➡️ Blood Tests

Blood tests are used to detect disease-fighting antibodies to the Borrelia bacteria. Two positive results are typically required for a confirmed diagnosis.

➡️ No Testing Required For EM

In cases where patients present with the characteristic EM rash, testing may not be necessary for diagnosis.

Treatment Of Lyme Disease


Antibiotics are the primary treatment for Lyme disease. The standard treatment involves oral antibiotics taken as pills for 10 to 14 days. The choice of antibiotics may include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime.

IV Antibiotics

In more severe cases, intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be prescribed, especially if the disease affects the nervous system, or heart, or leads to long-lasting arthritis.

Preventive Antibiotics

Antibiotics may be prescribed as a preventive measure if specific conditions are met, such as known exposure to deer ticks in endemic areas.

Duration Of Treatment

The duration of antibiotic treatment varies depending on the stage of infection. Early treatment is crucial for a quicker and more complete recovery.

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS)

According to WebMD, Some individuals may experience lingering symptoms even after treatment, known as PTLDS. Additional antibiotics are not typically recommended for PTLDS.

End Note

While the direct link between Lyme disease and tooth loss is still an area of ongoing research, the available evidence suggests that Lyme disease can indirectly contribute to tooth loss through its impact on oral health. By working closely with healthcare providers and maintaining good oral hygiene, individuals with Lyme disease can take proactive steps to protect their dental health and prevent potential tooth loss.

Continued research and increased awareness of the oral manifestations of Lyme disease will be crucial in improving the overall management and outcomes for those affected by this complex and multifaceted illness.


1. Does Lyme Disease Directly Cause Tooth Loss?

No, Lyme Disease does not directly cause teeth to fall out. However, it can indirectly contribute to tooth loss by causing or escalating chronic periodontitis, a severe gum infection that damages gums and destroys the jawbone.

2. How Does Lyme Disease Affect Dental Health?

Lyme Disease can affect dental health in various ways, including causing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), facial pain, and dry mouth. It can also lead to oral symptoms like inflammation of the pulp and salivary gland, and in some cases, burning mouth syndrome.

3. Can Lyme Disease Cause Tooth Extractions to Trigger a Flare-Up?

Yes, Lyme Disease can cause tooth extractions to trigger a flare-up of symptoms in patients who are unaware they have the disease. This is because the Borrelia germs that cause Lyme Disease can be exposed during a tooth extraction, potentially leading to the spread of the infection and exacerbating oral health issues.

4. How Can I Prevent Tooth Loss If I Have Lyme Disease?

To prevent tooth loss if you have Lyme Disease, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene and get timely dental care. This includes brushing and flossing regularly, restricting intake of acidic and high-sugar foods and drinks, and rinsing after meals to clear food particles. Additionally, using a mouthwash suggested by your dentist and staying hydrated to prevent dry mouth can help.

5. Can Lyme Disease Cause Dental Issues Like Tooth Decay and Gum Disease?

Yes, Lyme Disease can cause dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease. The bacteria that cause Lyme Disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, can find their way into the mouth from the original bite site and dwell in the inner parts of the teeth, leading to health issues like chronic periodontitis.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(n.d) Lyme Disease Available online at: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html

National Institutes Of Health(2024) Lyme Disease Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431066/

Johanna Kalons

Dr. Johanna S. Kalons, is a dedicated and compassionate dentist practicing in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Johanna S. Kalons has built a reputation for delivering exceptional dental care. With a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the prestigious University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her expertise lies in Oral Appliance Therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea.

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