Treating Gum Disease With Antibiotics

Antibiotics describe the various substances that fight bacteria and hinder their growth. Harmful bacteria can cause illnesses in every part of the body, especially your mouth. Many people may not know this, but bacteria are one the basic causes of gum diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. Bacteria accumulate in the mouth due to inadequate cleaning, and when food particles are not removed completely from the teeth.



There are many ways to reverse the build-up of bacteria. For many years, dental experts have been researching the effectiveness of antibiotic medication in treating gum disease. They are probing the question, “Is it viable to use antibiotics for gum disease?”  Dentists have been using antibiotics in treating gum disease along with surgery, curettage – removing tissue by scraping – and even on their own. These medications are either taken in the usual form, i.e. orally, or they are directly applied to the surface – topically. Dental practitioners have lauded the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating gum disease as they can also avoid the chances of the patient being taken for surgery. Whether using antibiotics in treating gum disease can work as an alternative to dental surgery is still under consideration.

Treating Gum Disease With Oral Antibiotics:

Some of the most common antibiotics for gum disease are:

  • Tetracycline hydrochloride
  • Doxycycline
  • Minocycline
  • Roxithromycin
  • Moxiflixacin
  • Metronidazole
  • Periostat

These medicines are given as standard doses for periodontal disease. Tetracycline medicine, which includes antibiotics like doxycycline, is the essential medicines used for fighting bacteria, inflammation and collagenase. Collagenase is a protein that damages the supporting bone and gum tissue severely.  That makes tetracycline highly effective against diseases and infections even apart from its antibacterial properties. Other medications also possess great potential for repelling various forms of harmful bacteria. A combination of these drugs – like Metronidazole with penicillin – can also be used for treating serious gum disease. You may have heard of Flagyl. It is a metronidazole. Periostat is a chemically modified tetracycline. It is doxycycline, but the dose is given at significantly lower levels, almost 20 milligrams. That is why periostat is called sub-antimicrobial dose doxycycline. It may not counter bacteria effectively, but it helps to keep the bone and tissue strong. Matrix metalloproteinase are enzymes that destroy the gum disease tissues, and a daily dose of periostat hinders them. Besides oral intake, applying a limited dose of these antibiotics to gums directly is highly beneficial. This method ensures that the medications do not affect the rest of the body. That is why dentists use this option whenever possible. Topical application is also effective when used with advanced procedures like scaling and planting.

Long-Term Use Of Antibiotics:

We have discussed how the oral and topical usage of antibiotics is helpful for curing gum disease, even in small doses. We will now talk about the continuous use of these drugs. This sustained application is recommended if the patient has prepubertal, rapidly progressing, juvenile, and prepubertal periodontitis. However, a sustained intake of these drugs can possibly make bacteria resistant to their effect. In the short term, dangerous bacteria may be killed. But as they reproduce, the next generation may have genes that are able to repel the influence of these antibiotics. With the passage of time, the rebellious bacteria will increase in number, causing infections and diseases on which the antibiotics may not work. But experts also say that since the medicines are applied in low doses, even a continuous intake may not be too risky.

Personal Care:

We have concluded that antibiotics are effective against gum disease as they not only kill germs, but make the gum structure firm as well. However, we have indentified that a long-term use may not be a good idea as there is no clear cut decision from the dental world about its benefits or dangers. That means if you have contracted advanced gum disease, you will have to go for complex dental procedures, even surgery. Surgery always has some risks attached to it. The best thing that you can do is to take care of your gums on a personal level. It is far better to go the dentist for a regular checkup to prevent gum disease, then to visit after you have begun to lose teeth!

Please Leave Your Comments Below:

Hopefully this information about antibiotics for gum disease is helpful to those interested in reversing the build-up of bacteria.  We would appreciate your views and feedback on this post in the Leave Your Comments section below.

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One comment on “Treating Gum Disease With Antibiotics
  1. Clay Ogg says:

    Flossing did not cure my gum disease. Nor did decades of scaling, root planing, and other expensive interventions. I was beginning to lose my teeth, when fortunately, I found a periodontist who actually offered a cure for the gum disease.

    Part of the cure involved use of antibiotics, and is described in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and in your article. However, my periodontist also taught me to work baking soda in to the pockets where gum disease resides using a proxibrush, as well as a toothbrush. We regularly take samples and use a microscope to identify any areas that still harbor gum disease bacteria. The treatment (see the link below) also includes daily use of a water pic containing two table spoons of baking soda in 20 milliliters of water (and rinsing the device after each use). Without the backing soda treatments, my bacteria would was not completely disappearing and presumably would have come back. The treatment also includes high tech tooth cleaning but nothing that exposes more roots. It took a few months and three brief prescriptions of antibiotics, but the gum disease bacteria is now gone.

    About a fourth of Americans end of losing their teeth, and tens of billions of dollars are spent each year treating the damage caused by gum disease. My periodontist, instead, focuses on curing the disease, and my dentist can hardly believe our success.

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