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How a Teeth Cleaning Can Put You in a Coma

"You'll be a dentist, you have a talent for causing things pain."

If you take care of your health, you likely take care of your teeth. Usually, this means heading to the dentist at least once a year for a routine teeth cleaning to get rid of the bacteria and debris that can lead to cavities and decay and potentially spread through the body to create other health issues, such as heart disease. It may surprise you to know that for some people, a teeth cleaning can actually lead to a coma and even death.

Horror genre creator Clive Barker went in for a routine teeth cleaning and wound up in the hospital after waking up from a coma days later. According to his Twitter account, the culprit was developing Toxic Shock Syndrome.

"My friends, Clive here. I'm at home now after a while in hospital, thanks to a nearly fatal case of Toxic Shock brought on by a visit to my dentist. Apparently this is not uncommon. In my case the dental work unloaded such a spillage of poisonous bacteria into my blood that my whole system crashed, putting me into a coma. I spent several days in Intensive Care, with a machine breathing for me…”

There are other reported cases of a routine teeth cleaning landing patients in the hospital, usually due to an untreated infection. A 9-year old girl suffered from a series of serious diseases as a result of dental abscess that was not immediately apparent.

In other cases, a dental cleaning has been linked to bacterial infections that travel throughout the body as a result of an injury to the mouth caused by the cleaning. This is likely what happened in the horror guru’s case. In some cases, if an infection is known to be present in the body, or if you are at risk for infection, then an antibiotic may be prescribed as a preventative measure.

[Image via Getty]

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