About Author — Medically reviewed by Dr. Heidi Lightfoot, MD who is an anesthesiologist in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Alongside her clinical work, she has an interest in medical writing and clinical research.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.

Antibiotics for Gum Infection

Gum infections can be caused by a variety of factors, most importantly poor dental hygiene and not looking after your teeth and gums properly, though they can also occur as complications of other health problems.

How do you know if you have a gum infection? What are signs of a gum infection? Will a doctor prescribe antibiotics for a gum infection? Here’s what you need to know about gum infections.

What is a gum infection?

Gum disease, also called gingivitis, is inflammation of the tissues that surround the teeth. When infections affect the tooth they are called periodontitis.

Periodontitis is more serious as it can cause serious tooth damage and tooth loss, and even increases the risk of other health problems such as lung or heart disease. Gingivitis does not always lead to periodontitis, but it can be severe in itself and lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss.

Gum infection symptoms

Unsure if you have gum disease? Here are some possible symptoms to look out for:

  • Red, swollen, tender and sore gums
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially when brushed or flossed
  • Bad breath
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • White spots on gums
  • Gums that look like they’re pulling away from the teeth
  • Pus between gums or teeth
  • Spaces opening between teeth
  • Formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Change in the fit of dentures

Causes of gum disease

Gum disease is often associated with poor dental hygiene, but there are a variety of other factors that can contribute to gingivitis, such as:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Illnesses that affect the immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and even inhalers
  • Smoking
  • Family history of gingivitis
  • Poor oral hygiene

Antibiotics for gum infection

Oral antibiotics are not typically prescribed for gum infections, though topical antibiotics may be prescribed by your dentist if you have severe gingivitis, in addition to careful cleaning and debridement of the gums and teeth.

Possible treatments for gum disease include:

  • Doxycycline – a topical antibiotic that can be used as a gel inserted into the gum pockets by the dentist after cleaning the teeth.
  • Minocycline – another antibiotic that is available as a powder or microspheres that are placed by the dentist into the gum pockets.
  • Chlorhexidine – an antiseptic found in prescription mouthwashes that is commonly used to help control bacteria in the mouth.

Treatment for gum infection

Good dental hygiene with regular brushing and being careful about what you eat will help prevent gum infections, but if you think you have developed a gum infection the best thing to do is see your dentist. If you can’t get in to see your dentist right away, there are some simple measures and home remedies that may help (remember that these do not replace getting prompt advice and treatment from a dentist):

Think you may be experiencing a gum infection? Book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor and get a prescription today.

Read more of our Antibiotics series:

Article Sources

Tooth Infection

Antibiotics for Dental Infection

Table of Contents What Are Symptoms of a Dental Infection?Are Antibiotics a Treatment for a Dental Infection?What Antibiotics are Used for a Dental Infection?Read More About Antibiotics for Dental Infection Antibiotics for Dental Infection? If you are suffering from a dental infection you may be wondering if antibiotics can help you. If your dental infection […]

Dr. Navin Ramchandani
Tooth Infection

Antibiotics For Tooth Infection

Table of Contents Best Antibiotics for Tooth InfectionWhy Should You Treat a Bacterial Tooth Infection With Antibiotics?When To Skip Antibiotics For Tooth InfectionTooth Infection CausesTooth Infection SymptomsHow Long Should I Take Antibiotics For a Tooth Infection?Home Remedies for Tooth InfectionsRead More About Antibiotics For Tooth Infection Antibiotics For Tooth Infection Do you need antibiotics for […]

Dr. Umer Khan
Tooth Infection

Do You Need Antibiotics for a Jaw Infection?

Table of Contents Antibiotics for Jaw InfectionsHow serious are Jaw Infections?Symptoms of a Jaw InfectionSeeing a Doctor for a Jaw InfectionRead More About Antibiotics for a Jaw Infection Do You Need Antibiotics for a Jaw Infection? Jaw infections can be extremely painful and, depending on the source of the infection, quite serious. Treatments for a […]

Sofie Wise
Tooth Infection

Abscessed Tooth

Table of Contents Symptoms of an abcessed toothTypes of Abscessed TeethCauses of Abscessed ToothHow to Treat an Abscessed Tooth Abscessed Tooth An abscessed tooth, also known as a dental abscess, is caused by a bacterial infection in or around a tooth or your gums. The infection causes a puss filled pocket that becomes irritated and […]

Leah McCabe
Tooth Infection

Severe Tooth Pain

Table of Contents What Causes Severe Tooth PainHome Remedies for Severe Tooth PainOver-the-Counter Treatment for Severe Tooth PainWhen to See Your Dentist for Severe Tooth Pain If you’ve ever had tooth pain, you know just how debilitating it can be. It can prevent you from eating, drinking, and functioning in your day-to-day routine. Often, the […]

Christina Wedberg