Is Doxycycline Good for Tooth Infection?

Doxycycline-for-Tooth-Infection
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mavra Farrukh

Overview

Doxycycline, belonging to the class of tetracycline antibiotics, is a prescription antibiotic used for tooth and gum infections. This medication operates by inhibiting bacterial growth when applied to infected tooth pockets. In this blog, we will explore the effectiveness of doxycycline in addressing tooth infections, exploring its mechanism of action and considerations for optimal dental health.

Dental infections can cause loss of teeth if left untreated. Get a doxycycline prescription to combat bacterial infection.

What is doxycycline?

Doxycycline is employed to address a range of infections caused by specific bacteria. It is also utilized in the treatment or prevention of anthrax, a severe infection that may be intentionally disseminated in a bioterror attack. Furthermore, it is effective against plague and tularemia, severe infections that could be deliberately spread in bioterror scenarios. Additionally, doxycycline is employed as a preventive measure against malaria.

In dental health, doxycycline is utilized alongside other medications to combat tooth infections. It belongs to the class of medications known as tetracycline antibiotics. Its mechanism of action involves impeding the growth and dissemination of bacteria, effectively treating infections. Specifically for dental concerns, it aids in eradicating the bacteria causing tooth infections.

It’s crucial to note that antibiotics, including doxycycline, are ineffective against colds, flu, or other viral infections. The unnecessary use of antibiotics raises the risk of developing infections that resist antibiotic treatment in the future.

Why is doxycycline used in periodontitis?

Doxycycline is a pharmaceutical intervention designed to manage bacterial gum infections, commonly called periodontitis. It falls within the category of tetracycline antibiotics, demonstrating its effectiveness in combating the bacterial components contributing to this oral condition. It is essential to emphasize that while doxycycline is potent against bacterial gum infections, it is not a remedy for viral infections such as colds or the flu.

This medication, recognized under Oraxyl and Periostat, is pivotal in treating periodontitis. Its inclusion in dental health shows its significance in addressing bacterial infections that can lead to gum infections. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist to gain a comprehensive potential application of this medicine, as it may have other purposes beyond its primary use in periodontitis management.

Confused about whether doxycycline is the right choice for your dental infections?

What does doxycycline do to teeth?

Doxycycline usage has been associated with the development of acquired brown discoloration on teeth. A recognized phenomenon, it is noteworthy that tetracycline and its derivatives, including doxycycline, have been identified as potential contributors to tooth discoloration, particularly when administered to pregnant women or young children under the age of 8.

How much doxycycline should I take for tooth pain?

The standard dosage ranges from 100 to 200mg, taken once or twice a day. Adjustments may be made, such as a lower dose of 40mg once a day or 20mg twice a day for conditions like rosacea or gum infections. Children under 12 might require a dosage lower than that recommended for adults.

Following specific dosage guidelines for optimal results is essential when managing tooth pain with doxycycline. Take the medication orally with a full glass of water, adhering to the prescribed dosage as indicated on the label, and maintain consistency in timing each day. Administer the medication on an empty stomach, ensuring a gap of at least 1 hour before and 2 hours after meals. Complete the entire prescribed course, even if symptoms alleviate before completion.

Avoid simultaneous intake of antacids or products containing aluminum, calcium, magnesium, iron, or zinc, and consult your care team for appropriate timing if necessary. Discuss with your healthcare provider for concerns or questions, especially regarding the medication’s use in children, as special considerations may apply. In the event of a suspected overdose, immediately contact a poison control center or seek emergency medical attention. Remember, this medication is for personal use and should not be shared with others.

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How long does it take for doxycycline to work for tooth abscess?

Doxycycline typically initiates its effects within as little as 2 hours after ingestion. However, the timeframe for observing its impact may vary, ranging from 24 to 48 hours (1 to 2 days), depending on the nature of the infection. While the complete resolution of an infection often takes 1 to 2 weeks, certain infections may necessitate up to 2 months for full recovery.

Is doxycycline stronger than amoxicillin for tooth infection?

As per effectiveness, amoxicillin is the first choice for treating tooth infections. However, many people develop resistance to amoxicillin and therefore, are prescribed alternative antibiotics like doxycycline for catering the bacterial infection. Therefore, it is better to consult a doctor for your tooth infection and he will prescribe the best antibiotic as per your medical history and body suitability.

Side effects

Doxycycline can impose the following side effects:

  • Allergic reactions include skin rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Severe headaches, vision changes, blurry vision, nausea, and vomiting indicate increased pressure around the brain.
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing
  • Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • Severe diarrhea accompanied by fever
  • Unusual vaginal discharge, itching, or odor

If you experience the following side effects, see a doctor immediately: 

  • Change in tooth color
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

Consult your doctor for any concerns about side effects or a doxycycline prescription.

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Other FAQs about Doxycycline

Is doxycycline a very strong antibiotic?

As per research, the efficacy of doxycycline in treating various infections, including those affecting the respiratory tract (such as atypical pneumonia), skin and soft tissues, and genitourinary infections like gonorrhea, syphilis, nonspecific urethritis, and prostatitis is quite high. It is also effective in managing intra-abdominal infections resulting from trauma or sepsis.

What should I avoid while taking doxycycline?

To enhance the effectiveness of doxycycline, it is advisable to refrain from consuming certain foods alongside the medication. Milk, butter, cheese, eggs, kale, and spinach may interfere with doxycycline absorption. To mitigate potential interactions, consuming these items either two hours before or four hours after taking doxycycline is recommended.

What painkillers can I take with doxycycline?

It is safe to take painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, concurrently with doxycycline. Have uncomplicated meals without rich or spicy elements. For optimal administration, consider taking doxycycline after a meal or snack or with a drink of milk instead of water. In case of nausea, taking small sips of water or squash is advisable to prevent dehydration.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Feres M, Haffajee AD, Goncalves C, Allard KA, Som S, Smith C, Goodson JM, Socransky SS. Systemic doxycycline administration in the treatment of periodontal infections (I). Effect on the subgingival microbiota. J Clin Periodontol. 1999 Dec;26(12):775-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051x.1999.tb02520.x. PMID: 10599904.
  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/20418-doxycycline-tablets-periodontitis
  • Rahmati M, Lyngstadaas SP, Reseland JE, Andersbakken I, Haugland HS, López-Peña M, Cantalapiedra AG, Guzon Muñoz FM, Haugen HJ. Coating doxycycline on titanium-based implants: Two in vivo studies. Bioact Mater. 2020 Jun 22;5(4):787-797. doi: 10.1016/j.bioactmat.2020.05.007. PMID: 32637743; PMCID: PMC7317637.

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