Metronidazole for Tooth Infection

Metronidazole (Flagyl) for Tooth Infection

By Nicholas White

Antibiotics are a group of medications used to treat common infectious diseases. Dentists prescribe them to people with dental problems and other oral conditions because they quickly destroy bacteria that cause inflammation. Drug choice (Metronidazole, Clindamycin, Azithromycin, Amoxicillin, etc.) depends on the type of pathogen and the severity of symptoms.

But identifying the pathogen is often quite difficult, so the doctor chooses broad-spectrum antibiotics, for example, Metronidazole. Read the Metronidazole review below and learn when and how to use it correctly.

What Is Metronidazole

Metronidazole was created by the French company Rhone-Poulenc for the treatment of trichomoniasis and began to be used in 1959 under the trade name Flagyl. It is an imidazole derivative widely used in modern medical practice as a synthetic antiprotozoal and chemotherapeutic agent.

This antibiotic is an effective remedy for the treatment of specific protozoal infections: giardiasis, trichomoniasis, intestinal and extraintestinal amebiasis, balantidiasis. It is active against many gram-negative and gram-positive anaerobes, including Bacteroides fragilis, B. Melaninogenicus, Eubacterium, Peptococcus, Fusobacterium, Campylobacter fetus, Clostridium perfringens, Peptostreptococcus, and Veilonella.

How Does Metronidazole Work?

Metronidazole works simply and clearly. The chemical chains of the medication penetrate the structure of the bacterial cell and slow down the synthesis of amino acids that provoke tissue growth and division. This way the infection dies. The same action occurs with protozoa.

What Causes Tooth Infections

Tooth infections, often caused by the adverse effects of certain types of bacteria (most often streptococci) or protozoa on dental tissue, can develop very rapidly. It all depends on immunity and the presence of provoking factors, including:

  • Failure to comply with hygiene rules, irregular or poor quality teeth cleaning;
  • Existing diseases of the stomach, esophagus, intestines;
  • Improper diet high in carbohydrates and poor in fresh vegetables and fruits;
  • Hypovitaminosis, etc.

Prevention of the disease requires eliminating all of the above conditions that promote the proliferation of harmful bacteria.


The dental infection symptoms include pain radiating to the ears, jaw, and lymph nodes. The patient may experience a sour taste and bad breath. The condition may be accompanied by a fever as the body tries to fight the infection. The person may find it painful to eat or drink cold and hot foods.

Can Flagyl Treat Tooth Infection?

Metronidazole for tooth infection is a good choice as it works well against a wide range of anaerobic bacteria and protozoa. It helps reduce inflammation, relieve toothache and other unpleasant symptoms.

Metronidazole vs Amoxicillin for tooth infection

Metronidazole is a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent. It is sold in the form of tablets, suppositories, gel, and infusion solutions. The therapeutic effect is due to synthetic metronidazole. It oxidizes aminoimidazoles, which stimulate processes affecting microorganisms, destroying them. The drug is quickly absorbed at the level of the stomach and enters the general bloodstream, spreading evenly throughout the tissues of the body. Metabolism occurs in the liver within 8 hours.

Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial antibiotic belonging to the beta-lactam group. It belongs to the class of penicillins. Has a wide spectrum of bactericidal action. Stable in acidic environments. Available in the form of suspension, tablets, and capsules. The bactericidal effect is carried out by disrupting protein synthesis in mycobacteria at the time of their division and maturation. The therapeutic effect occurs within 35 minutes and lasts up to 8 hours. The medicine is absorbed in the GI tract and excreted by the kidneys.

General features of Metronidazole and Amoxicillin:

  • Effective against the same groups of bacteria;
  • Enhance each other’s effects, so are often prescribed together;
  • Not compatible with ethanol;
  • Have similar signs of overdose: diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, allergic reaction.

Distinctive features of the drugs:

  • Release forms;
  • Composition;
  • Mechanism of action.

Therefore, Metronidazole and Amoxicillin have some similarities and differences. The decision on the choice of medication is made only by the dentist, taking into account the patient’s condition and the cause of the disease.

Metronidazole for Tooth Infections

In dental practice, Metronidazole in tablets and injections is used for anaerobic infections of various locations, periodontal diseases, and purulent-inflammatory processes in the maxillofacial area. A dental gel containing a combination of metronidazole and chlorhexidine is indicated for infectious and inflammatory diseases of the periodontium and oral mucosa.

A more detailed study of the default use of Metronidazole is presented below.

Dental Abscesses

A tooth abscess is an acute infectious disease that develops in the area of the tooth roots. Symptoms include pain when pressing on the tooth and chewing, pain in the gum area, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, headache, etc. The root canal is often damaged due to poor oral hygiene. If you want to prevent this, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Clear teeth retainers can also be helpful.

If the disease has already developed, Metronidazole tooth infection will help relieve inflammation.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gingivitis is a superficial inflammation of the gums around the tooth. With the further spread of inflammation, microbes penetrate deep into the tissues and periodontitis develops. Periodontitis is a consequence of untreated gingivitis. The disease is accompanied by the destruction of tissues that attach the tooth to the bone. Treatment with the antibiotic Metronidazole allows to eliminate microbial flora in the mouth.

Pre-Operative Care

Metronidazole used for tooth infection before surgery helps reduce the risk of infection in the surgical wound.

Adjunct Therapy

Metronidazole can be used as an adjunct therapy, complementing primary dental treatment and maximizing its effectiveness.


The above oral diseases are not a full list of conditions for which Metronidazole can be used. In fact, it works against any type of bacterial tooth infection, even severe purulent periostitis.

Metronidazole Dosage for Tooth Infection

The normal dosage of Metronidazole is 500-750 mg 3 times a day (it is important to wait 8 hours between taking each dose). The cycle duration is usually 5-10 days.

Safety Tips

There are several safety tips you should know about before taking the antibiotic.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem in the US, UK, France, Italy, and other countries around the world. Many clinical studies have reported that it is on the rise due to misuse and overuse of drugs. The condition occurs when the bacteria and protozoa causing the infection become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat it.

Alcohol Interaction

The simultaneous use of Metronidazole and alcoholic beverages or drugs containing alcohol is prohibited because it can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, headache, vomiting, and facial flushing.

Side Effects

Side effects antibiotics are very diverse. Metronidazole may cause nausea, dry mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vertigo, headache, etc.


So, will Metronidazole treat tooth infection? Yes, this antibiotic successfully copes with various bacterial infections, including dental ones. But it is advisable to use it in accordance with the doctor’s prescription and remember the safety tips so as not to encounter undesirable consequences of treatment.


Can I take Metronidazole for a tooth infection?

Metronidazole is effective against many anaerobic bacteria and protozoa that cause tooth infections, so you can take it.

What antibiotic to take for tooth infection?

Dental infections are successfully treated by using Metronidazole, Azithromycin, Amoxicillin, Clindamycin, or another antibiotic that fights the pathogen.

Does penicillin work for tooth infection?

Penicillin-class antibiotics work great for dental infections and are often chosen by dentists.

Can a tooth infection cause diarrhea?

Some tooth infections (for example, a dental abscess) can cause diarrhea.