Are over-the-counter (OTC) medications available for periodontitis?

Periodontitis is the form of gum disease (periodontal disease) in which bacteria have infected the tissues below the gums and may have invaded the bone tissue as well. Over-the-counter medicines are not very helpful in treating this condition.

If you had gingivitis (gum inflammation) and have been told that it has progressed to periodontitis, your dentist may suggest a prescription medicine. As a first step, your dentist may prescribe a prescription mouthwash called chlorhexidine. He or she may also try one of several techniques after doing deep-cleaning procedures. One option is an antibiotic gel that is placed in the gum pockets (the areas of gum tissue that have been pulled away from the teeth). Another medicine is antibiotic microspheres. Like the gel, they are placed in the pockets to reduce the bacteria and help make the pockets smaller. A drug called doxycycline suppresses the amount of enzymes your body produces that can destroy gum tissue. Oral antibiotics are drugs that you take by mouth to treat a bacterial infection. Your dentist may prescribe this as a temporary treatment of periodontal infection.

If your dentist chooses to treat your periodontitis with medication, it will usually be treated with prescription antibiotics. However, there are over-the-counter mouthwashes that can help with your regular, at-home oral hygiene -- which can help prevent periodontitis. Speak with your dentist about what over-the-counter dental products might be best for you.

Continue Learning about Periodontitis


If you leave gingivitis untreated, it may spread to the ligaments and bones below the gums, becoming periodontitis. The bacterial inflammation causes teeth to lose support. Eventually the teeth will become loose and fall out. Some...

times the infection becomes so severe that it can cause a tooth abscess. This can be quite painful. Antibiotics can help, and treatment for the general condition includes cleaning and improved oral hygiene.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.