Selective antimicrobial therapies for periodontitis: Win the “battle and the war”

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9 Scopus citations


Traditional antimicrobial therapies for periodontitis (PD) have long focused on non-selective and direct approaches. Professional cleaning of the subgingival biofilm by instrumentation of dental root surfaces, known as scaling and root planning (SRP), is the mainstay of periodontal therapy and is indisputably effective. Non‐physical approaches used as adjuncts to SRP, such as chemical and biological agents, will be the focus of this review. In this regard, traditional agents such as oral antiseptics and antibiotics, delivered either locally or systemically, were briefly reviewed as a backdrop. While generally effective in winning the “battle” against PD in the short term, by reducing its signs and symptoms, patients receiving such therapies are more susceptible to recurrence of PD. Moreover, the long‐term consequences of such therapies are still in question. In particular, concern about chronic use of systemic antibiotics and their influence on the oral and gut microbiota is warranted, considering antibiotic resistance plasmids, and potential transfer between oral and non‐oral microbes. In the interest of winning the “battle and the war”, new more selective and targeted antimicrobials and biologics for PD are being studied. These are principally indirect, blocking pathways involved in bacterial colonization, nutrient acquisition, inflammation or cellular invasion without directly killing the pathogens. This review will focus on current and prospective antimicrobial therapies for PD, emphasizing therapies that act indirectly on the microbiota, with clearly defined cellular and molecular targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6459
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2 2021


  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Antimicrobial therapy
  • Antiseptics
  • Dysbiosis
  • Exosomes
  • Inflammasomes
  • NLRP3
  • Periodontitis
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • Resolvins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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