Low Dose Doxycycline Therapy

Some patients, even in the presence of good oral hygiene, continue to display symptoms of periodontal disease. Some have predisposing health factors such as diabetes or a smoking habit. Both of these can alter the immune response to bacteria present on the teeth (plaque) and in the crevice between the gums and tooth(gingival crevice or pockets) and make a patient more prone to gum disease. For patients with these predisposing factors and for some other patients for which more traditional gum treatments have not been successful , Low dose doxycycline therapy can be an option.

Doxycycline even in very low doses can inhibit collagenase, and enzyme which breaks down collagen, and patients taking doxycycline can have fewer infections in skin and gum tissue.

During low dose doxycycline therapy The patient takes 20 mg of doxycycline twice per day and continues this regime for a period of 6 weeks to 9 months(or longer). This dose is one fifth the normal antibiotic dosage (100 mg, twice per day). When this therapy is combined with the proper use of an oral b electric tooth brush and adequate intra proximal plaque control, previously uncontrolled periodontal disease can be placed in remission.

The patient is place on three month recall(cleanings every three months) and their progress is monitored by the dentist and the hygienist. I have often found that over time not only do their gums appear healthier, but bleeding on probing and pocket depths diminish. After a suitable period of time thedoxycycline usage is stopped and the patients is again monitored on three month recall.

If you have good oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist, but still have inflammed gums, speak with your dentist about low dose doxycycline thereapy. Keep in mind that there are health problems that predispose patients to periodontal disease (diabetes, smoking, blood discrasias,HIV are some)and patients might do well to visit their physician before starting low dose doxycycling therapy if only to rule out or treat any of these conditions

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