Bleeding Gums? Treat for Infection

One in 10 people suffers from periodontal diseases, characterized by bleeding in the gums when you brush your teeth, loosening of the teeth and damage to the structures that help the teeth stay in place.

These problems are caused most commonly by infections by three Gram-negative bacteria: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Bacteroides forsythus and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. The body responds to these infections by producing various cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha), inflammatory mediators (PGE2), and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9). Viruses, such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus) can also cause periodontitis. Conventional treatments for periodontitis aim to eliminate bacterial plaque by scrubbing, cleaning and prescribing antibiotics. Many dentists also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease inflammation.

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or you have lose teeth, ask your doctor or dentist to try a short course of antibiotics for yourself and your spouse or partner. I often prescribe a combination of metronidazole 250 mg four times a day, and Biaxin 500 mg twice a day for one week. Other options include Zithromax, Dyanbec, doxycycline, minocycline, or a quinolone antibiotic. More on the link between gum disease and heart attacks


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