can a tooth infection cause problems in the spine (ruptured disks, etc.)?
No, it shouldn't have caused something like that, but it can cause other problems because tooth infections can run through the body and cause heart and stomach problems. A ruptured disc was likely the result of an injury. People swallow their saliva and if it contains the bacteria from the tooth infection, it can spread to other soft tissue mainly and cause infections. Sometimes the extent of an injury does not show up at first, an old injury may have caused the start of the ruptured disk.
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