Risks of using antibiotics when treating gum disease

Risks of using antibiotics when treating gum disease

The oral cavity naturally houses a number of microorganisms; they make up the normal flora of your mouth. These microbes benefit their host by acting as a protective barrier against non-indigenous pathogens by producing byproducts such as fatty acids, peroxides and bacteriocins. They also help strengthen the body’s immune system by introducing small amounts of antibodies.

However, they can also cause various oral diseases from caries, gingivitis to periodontal infections. Gum disease is a common diagnosis to receive when it comes to oral diseases. In fact, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease increases with age. 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.How do you know if you have gum disease?

There are telltale signs of gum disease. These are: 

- Bad breath

- Swollen gums

- Bleeding gums

- Sensitive teeth

- Painful chewing


A professional dentist or dental hygienist will measure the pocket (sulcus) between the tooth and the gums using a dental probe. The average space measures less than 3mm and does not bleed—factors include the depth of the sulcus, inflammation, bleeding and other variables. These will help diagnose if you have gingivitis, periodontitis, or advanced periodontitis.


The first stage of gum disease where biofilms start to irritate the gums, resulting in tender, inflamed or bleeding gums.


When deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth due to tartar build-ups, the gum line starts to recede. The sulcus is filled with bacteria and pus, leading to a slight bone loss.

Advanced periodontitis

Characterised by generalised or moderate bone loss with destroyed periodontal ligaments. The teeth lose more support leading to tooth loss when left untreated.


Treating gum diseases varies depending on their gravity. Acute gum infection may be treated with a non-surgical technique, while a chronic oral condition requires surgical procedures.

  1. Scaling

Scaling removes tartar build-ups and bacteria from the tooth surface and under the gums—a common practice when you visit your dentist for your regular teeth cleaning.

  1. Root planing

Root planing is a procedure used to remove bacterial derivatives that cause inflammation and slow healing. This also smoothens the surface of the root, reducing further tartar biofilm accumulation.

  1. Antibiotics

Antimicrobial therapy is extensively used in dentistry as preventive and treatment measures. Painful chewing, bleeding gums can manifest with plaque build-up and periodontal diseases. Periodontal diseases are reported to be the most common cause of tooth loss. The introduction of antimicrobial drugs has saved millions of lives that transformed the healthcare industry in treating infectious diseases. However, improper use of antibiotics has resulted in antimicrobial resistance.

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

AMR is a global concern affecting the healthcare industry. AMR naturally happens when bacteria are exposed to antibacterial drugs. Susceptible bacteria are killed or inhibited, while non-susceptible bacteria live and acquire resistance and multiply. This phenomenon is similar to humans taking a vaccine, where the vaccinated individual will develop immunity to the bacteria or virus.

Contributing factors to antimicrobial resistance

  1. Overuse

Antibiotics have been overused in health care and agriculture which have led to bacteria strains which are resistant to most of the known antibiotics. Nowadays, most dental practices are moving away from antibiotics because of the reduced effectiveness and increasing knowledge from associated side-effects on complex oral microbiomes. 

  1. Misuse

Inappropriate choice of antibiotics largely contributes to AMR. The prescribed drug is not suitable to eliminate the infection-causing bacteria giving it immunity to the antibiotic used. This may root in the lack of sensitivity testing done prior to drug prescription or the harmful effect of word of mouth.

For example, patient A took antimicrobial A that has cured him. He then recommends the same drug to patient B that may have the same symptoms. However, patient B’s infection was caused by different bacteria, which is non-susceptible to drug A. This will now lead to AMR.

  1. Poor adherence

Some patients do not fully comply with the antibiotic therapy prescribed. Reasons such as inadequate information, financial situation or personal belief may contribute to their poor adherence.

- Inadequate information

Lack of information about the negative effect of non-compliance during antibiotic therapy is why patients do not complete the prescribed treatment. Patients have the tendency to stop taking medicine whenever they feel better or casually take their medication at a random time. This is a definite no in taking antibacterial drugs. The patient must follow the full course of treatment together with the correct time and dose to completely eradicate the source of infection.

- Financial situation

Antibiotics are costly and not everyone can afford to purchase a full course treatment.

  1. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

PDT is the latest non-invasive treatment used in dentistry using photosensitizers and light with specific wavelengths.This system produces singlet oxygen and reactive oxygen to eliminate infection-causing pathogens in the mouth.

PDT’s main advantage over antibiotic therapy is that it provides a broad range of action against pathogens without the threat of producing AMR.

PDT produces reliable results in the treatment of periodontitis. PDT also offers an effective and professional way to remove plaque and therefore reduces the incidence of caries, a method of primary prevention. 

Why include Lumoral to your oral hygiene routine

- Lumoral provides patented dual-light PDT. Dual-light PDT has shown excellent antibacterial properties in repeated use without resistance formation.

-  Lumoral is the first most reliable addition to brushing from biofilm management, resulting in a 99.9% bacterial reduction in tooth biofilm.

- Lumoral is proven effective against Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the main culprit of tooth decay and against periodontitis causing Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans bacteria.

- Lumoral is excellent for continuous use as the strong antibacterial cleaning effect is directed to dental plaque and it doesn’t cause a change in normal bacterial flora or bacterial diversity.

- This technology helps increase teeth’s smoothness resulting in a naturally bright smile.

Prevent gum diseases and take home your Lumoral Kit today

Lumoral is a professional-level personal oral hygiene device that can be used in the comfort of your own home. It is certified by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia (TGA), meeting Australian standards of quality, safety and efficacy. It prevents gum inflammation and eliminates unhealthy bacteria. Use Lumoral 10 minutes twice a week to take your oral health to a new level.

For more information, please contact us at info@lumoral.com