Antibiotics/Antimicrobials for Gum Disease
Examples Back to top
|Generic Name||Brand Name|
|chlorhexidine gluconate||Peridex, Periogard|
|triclosan||Colgate Total toothpaste|
|Generic Name||Brand Name|
How It Works Back to top
Dentists prescribe antibiotics in different forms to treat gum disease. They can be applied directly on the gums (topical), swallowed as pills or capsules, swished around on your teeth as mouthwash, or inserted into the pockets of advanced gum disease. Some medicated toothpastes contain an antibacterial ingredient that reduces plaque and gingivitis when used regularly. Ask your dentist if this type of product would help you.
Why It Is Used Back to top
- To reduce bacteria in your mouth, antibiotic mouthwash may be prescribed for use after brushing and flossing.
- Topical antibiotics may be prescribed to treat early-stage gum disease (gingivitis) that cannot be slowed by improved brushing and flossing habits.
- Topical antibiotics may be prescribed to treat mild forms of advanced gum disease (periodontitis).
- Sustained-release antibiotics may be inserted into the gum pocket for periodontitis.
- Antibiotic pills or capsules may be prescribed to treat moderate to severe periodontitis.
How Well It Works Back to top
If antibiotic treatment is combined with proper brushing and flossing habits, gum disease can sometimes be stopped. Then gums can become pink and healthy again.
Side Effects Back to top
Some possible side effects of antibiotic pills include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Puffiness or swelling around the face.
- Bad taste in the mouth.
- Upset stomach.
Sometimes switching to a different medicine will reduce or end these side effects.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About Back to top
Antibiotic mouthwashes should not be swallowed but swished around in your mouth and then spit out.
Bacteria that cause disease can become resistant to medicines used to treat those diseases or illnesses. When this happens, the medicines are no longer effective at killing or controlling the bacteria that cause the disease. Be sure to take antibiotics exactly as they are prescribed and for the exact amount of time prescribed. And never use leftover antibiotics for a different illness.
Credits Back to top
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry|
|Last Revised||August 5, 2011|
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