Treating gum disease with antibiotics

Partners In Prevention 1As gum disease originates from an unbalanced film of bacteria under the gum line, why don’t we use local or systemic antibiotics to treat this chronic disease?

Turns out that is what the studies are starting to suggest.  Besides mechanical debridement (called scaling and root planing) of the “wound” (the inflamed gum pockets), the scientific evidence now argues that using common antibiotics such as metronidazole can be significantly beneficial, particularly if the disease has become aggressive or advanced.

This new approach points to some flaws in dental regulations and reimbursement. Canadian hygienists cannot prescribe a drug taken at home, and most dental plans only allow for scaling and root planing without any compensation for nor encouragement of antibiotics.

Scaling and root planing is expensive, especially for the uninsured or those with limited dental plans. The ongoing cost and to some, the unpleasant-ness of this procedure, makes many older patients simply avoid treatment of their sore gums. This is unfortunate as gum disease can have spillover effects on other chronic conditions such as diabetes, and on systemic inflammation.

Accordingly, let’s given this new approach of combining scaling with taking a few pills over a few days,  a lot of thought.

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By: Ross Perry
SOURCED:  Partners In Prevention

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