Can Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Cause Dental Problems?

Author: 21 Comments Share:
Cipro Tooth Damage
Amid the long and growing list of side effects associated with the fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, Floxin/ofloxacin and a few others), dental problems seem increasingly prevalent but least understood. On the patient boards, dedicated to understanding the adverse reactions of these antibiotics, patients routinely report serious dental problems after taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

Susan, pictured above, age 50, reported the following:

“My top teeth started rapidly decaying after the Cipro, the bottom ones are going too, but at a slower pace. Over the summer, I had all my top teeth pulled, they were just snapping off, one by one. This is what they looked like just before having them removed.”

Christopher, also age 50, reported:

“Finally my teeth started to deteriorate and calcify as well. This happened very suddenly. My teeth then began cracking and breaking off at the gum line. Eventually I lost all of my teeth. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced in my life.”

One woman wrote the following about her mother, age 72:

“My mom has had several rounds of Levaquin over the years and it destroyed her gut. Along with other chronically prescribed medications, by the time we reached her last prescription of Levaquin, she was very ill and severely depleted in several key nutrients. Through much pain and suffering, we removed all unnecessary medications, which turned out to be all of them. It took 6-8 months to titrate some of the medications down gradually before complete cessation. During that time, we cleaned up her diet (mostly organic, no gluten, no sugar, no processed food) and added nutrient supplements (B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, coQ10, fish oil, and others). She swims regularly. As a result, I think she has mostly avoided the side effects of these drugs. Recently, however, her teeth began falling out – just falling out. She had really good teeth before this, no problems whatsoever. Each time a tooth came out, there was a period of what I think was nerve pain, but the dentist couldn’t find anything. Then, a couple days later the tooth would fall out. Three teeth have fallen out so far. We don’t know what to do.”

Becky, age 41, noted that,

“I have lost 3 teeth after being floxed! and they didn’t rot they were fine from the outside…They abscessed at the roots! I take good care of my teeth but now that I have put 2 and 2 together, I def believe it was from being floxed!!!”

None of the patients who experienced tooth loss had a history of methamphetamine use or any other known factor that would cause such extensive dental problems.

Possible Mechanisms for Fluoroquinolone Tooth Loss

Very little research has been done on the long-term effects of fluoroquinolones on dental health. There are several possible mechanisms for fluoroquinolone induced tooth loss, but none have been proven – or even examined as far as I can tell.  Here is what I was able to dig up.

On the web site Cipro is Poison, it is noted that “Cipro can calcify all of the nerves in your teeth as well as permanently dry out your mouth, promoting extensive tooth decay and/or tooth loss. There are people in their thirties who now wear dentures as a direct result of Cipro destroying all of their teeth from the inside out. Others have had teeth literally break off at the gum line after becoming floxed.”  The administrator of the Cipro is Poison site was 30 years old when he was “floxed” by Cipro, and reported experiencing “horrific neuropathic pain inside all of my teeth lasting for a good three or four years–it felt like the nerves inside my teeth had electric current running through them at all times.  All of my teeth also became extremely brittle.”

Peripheral and autonomic nervous system dysfunction have been reported from those suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity. Often, the autonomic nervous system dysfunction fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms display in ways that are similar to the symptoms of Sjogren ’s syndrome; such as dry mouth, dry eyes, skin rashes, joint pain, fatigue, etc.  As is noted on Cipro is Poison, perpetual dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. According to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, “Most Sjögren’s patients no longer produce sufficient quantities of protective saliva. Not only can that make our mouths feel dry, but also our teeth can be damaged. Most people don’t realize the protective value of saliva. They think it’s just moisturizing their mouth, when in reality it’s helping to recoat their teeth with important minerals that will slow down cavities and infection. Without saliva, you have a higher chance of infections and quick moving cavities.”

Fluoroquinolone toxicity and Sjogren’s syndrome are not one in the same (though there is more overlap than is generally recognized), but the common symptom of dry mouth may be the mechanism for tooth loss associated with both fluoroquinolone toxicity and Sjogren’s syndrome.

The fluoroquinolones might lead to dental problems through the destruction of the microbiome, the so-called good bacteria necessary for health and wellness. Fluoroquinolones are powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics that cause a massive amount of oxidative stress in the microbiome. The health of the microbiome of the entire digestive tract, including the microbiome of the mouth, plays a significant role in the health of teeth. Should the bacterial balance of the mouth be altered, like that of the gut, it is conceivable that tooth damage would arise (source).

Additionally, fluoroquinolones cause mitochondrial dysfunction  which leads to oxidative stress and cellular dysfunction on many levels. One of the downstream effects of cellular dysfunction may be the cause of dental problems among patients dealing with fluoroquinolone toxicity. Although, there is little research regarding its impact on teeth.

The chelation of magnesium from cells by fluoroquinolones may also have something to do with the loss of teeth experienced by victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity, but again, there is no research on the topic.

Dental Problems are Delayed Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Reactions

Most of the patients who reported tooth loss experienced dental problems months or years after administration of the fluoroquinolone had ceased. Susan, quoted and pictured above, noted that her teeth were fine 6-months after her experience with fluoroquinolone toxicity began. Becky noted that she lost a tooth per year after going through fluoroquinolone toxicity. Chris didn’t lose his teeth until the end of his 8-month course of Cipro. It should be noted also, that most patients suffer from a constellation of post fluoroquinolone symptoms, in addition to the dental problems.

Though studies documenting tooth loss were difficult to come by, the patient reports of dental problems after fluoroquinolone exposure are common and concerning. Losing teeth should not be a side-effect of antibiotics taken to treat urinary tract or sinus infections. If you or someone you know suffered from post fluoroquinolone dental problems, please leave a comment below and take few minutes to complete the fluoroquinolone side-effects study described below.

Information about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Information about the author, and adverse reactions to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin and Floxin/ofloxacin) can be found on Lisa Bloomquist’s site, www.floxiehope.com.

Participate in Research

Hormones MatterTM is conducting research on the side effects and adverse events associated with the fluoroquinolone antibiotics, Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and others: The Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Side Effects Study. The study is anonymous, takes 20-30 minutes to complete and is open to anyone who has used a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Please complete the study and help us understand the scope of fluoroquinolone reactions.

Hormones MatterTM conducts other crowdsourced surveys on medication reactions. To take one of our other surveys, click here.

To sign up for our newsletter and receive weekly updates on the latest research news, click here.

What Else Can I Do To Help?

Hormones MatterTM is completely unfunded at this juncture and we rely entirely on crowdsourcing and volunteers to conduct the research and produce quality health education materials for the public. If you’d like help us improve healthcare with better data, get involved. Become an advocate, spread the word about our site, our research and our mission. Suggest a study. Share a study. Join our team. Write for us. Partner with us. Help us grow. For more information contact us at: info@hormonesmatter.com.

To support Hormones Matter and our research projects – Crowdfund Us.

This article was published previously on Hormones Matter in December 2014.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share
Previous Article

Stroke, Birth Control and the Nelson Pill Hearings: What They Knew Then

Next Article

Endometriosis and the Journey to Advocacy

You may also like

21 Comments

  1. About 6 months or so after taking Levquin my gums became inflamed. I tried everything for gum infections, but nothing worked. Nothing. Then one tooth fell out. 5 years after taking my last FQ my teeth began breaking off at the gum line. I had and still have breaking teeth, inflamed gums, and horrendous unbearable nerve pain in every tooth on one side which extends to my ear and neck. I cannot solve this problem. My worst nightmare, aside from experiencing this nerve pain, is that I will have to have all my teeth surgically dug out from below the gum line and full mouth dentures! Because there are not two anchor teeth anywhere for a partial!!! I’m angry that sinus infections have destroyed my teeth… and my health.

  2. I took Cipro about 4 or 5 days ago, I took two 500mg tablets for a total of 1000mg before reading up on it and deciding not to take anymore. The past few days my teeth have felt extremely sensitive and hurting a little, and today it’s even worse. I’m nervous because the last time my teeth felt like this was when I used to use fluoride and had cavities. I actually stopped using fluoride toothpaste and avoided fluoridated water sources about 3 years ago because I’ve read that fluoride causes what it’s meant to prevent. This is true! Because my teeth have gotten whiter since I stopped using fluoride, have felt smoother, and I haven’t had a cavity since, of which I used to get frequently. Now I’ve mistakenly bombed my system with a fluoride analogue and I’m already noticing yellowing, calcium deposits, sensitivity and pain.

    I think the best thing anyone can do in this situation is to do what I’m doing. Don’t use fluoridated tooth paste, avoid fluoridated water, take supplements, and hope for the best. Of the research I’ve done on the subject, I’m currently taking these to counter many of the negative after affects of Cipro. Magnesium, vegan plant-based omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin E, plant-based iodine, as well as some Chinese medicines such as red sage, astragalus root, angelica root, and rehmannia root. I’d say the magnesium and iodine is most important for your nerves and teeth, and the omega-3 is the most important for joint health. It’s worth mentioning, my joints have been popping a lot more the past few days, so the Cipro has definitely affected my joints. This product needs to be taken off the market, it is bad news.

    I’ll keep you guys updated on my condition.

    1. I’ll just give you guys a quick update since it has been 3 months. The only long term affect I’ve noticed still occurring is that my joints have been cracking and popping a lot, though not quite as much as before. Regardless, this might be partially due to me skimping on my supplements lately.. only taking them here and there. I can still exercise without issues.

      Other than that my teeth are in great shape and no longer sensitive, and I attribute this primarily to not using toothpaste, drinking water with a minimum amount of fluoride (I bought a Propur water filter, absolutely love the thing) and keeping my shower time to a minimum (about 10 minutes). There’s also shower filters too, if you want to go that far. I may in the future. The magnesium and iodine probably played their part as well. Before my teeth were feeling sensitive, dry, and brittle.. even a tiny chunk came off. Now my teeth don’t feel sensitive at all, they are damp, smooth, and resilient. To put it short, they are healthy. Oh, they’re whiter, too. The calcium deposits are still there, but they’re dissipating. Much like when I used to brush my teeth with fluoride, it took a very long time for them to go away.

      I also want to make it a point from my experience, if you’ve brushed your teeth with toothpaste your whole life and you stop suddenly, your teeth may become more yellow for a while. This is only temporary. Your teeth are organs, and they will need time to adjust naturally. I initially stopped using toothpaste because I was getting cavities all the time, and I haven’t had a single cavity since I’ve stopped. We didn’t evolve to slap massive amounts of toxic chemicals on our teeth on a daily basis.

  3. I am almost 5 years out and i still have tooth issues that have been growing each year out vs getting better as the rest of my has managed to do. A recent thermal scan showed inflammation in my jaw at the root level of my teeth!!! So far oil pulling with organic coconut oil has kept the pain at bay BUT the pain InBetween while flossing is not going away. The decay and loss of my teeth after all I (we all) have suffered through after taking these drugs is almost more than I can bare. My beautiful healthy teeth are no more??? The things that keep me up at night are the other things we cannot see, being permanently altered in our bodies that will just fail one day….no warning, no precursors, just stop working!

  4. My gums definitely bleed which gets awkward at times. I only have one tooth that cracked right in the middle but the dentist says there’s not a cavity there so we’ve just been watching it. The only time my gums looked great was when I took some amoxicillin for strep but the bleeding gums came right back once I stopped taking the pills. I wonder if there is some super bacteria in there.

  5. I took cipro in November 2015 and now my teeth are loose and my gums are aching so bad….What should i do to save my teeth I am so afraid that they are going to fall out …..

    1. Hi Alicia,

      Mineral supplementation, especially magnesium, seems to help a lot of people going through fluoroquinolone toxicity. There are remineralization pastes that may help too. Natural anti-inflammatories may help too – things like turmeric and tart cherry juice. I hope that those things help! I’m not a doctor and I’m honestly just giving my best guesses as to what may help. I think those things are worth a try because they’ve helped other people with other fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms. There are more tips on http://www.floxiehope.com. I hope that your dental problems resolve!

      Regards,
      Lisa

      1. Hi Lisa,

        Going off wheat and taking lots of Vitamin C will help gum problems and minimise dental and gut damage apart from this terrible drug your describe.
        For more info re going off wheat – which is horrible for dental health – see wheatbellyblog.com.
        The doctor who wrote this book Wheat Belly also has a Facebook page.
        People who go off wheat and grains have much cleaner gums, reduce plaque and infection.
        Do check it out.

  6. I have had numerous medical issues the last 6 years. The main issues are pain and intestinal.
    I have been given several doses of antibiotics which ruined the balance in my intestinal tract. I’ve been treated w/ narcotics for pain due to paraplegia.
    This last 2 years I’ve experienced extreme dry mouth. I now have teeth rotting at the gum line and will have to undergo painful and expensive implants to correct my mouth.
    The more I looked into the association between dry mouth-antibiotics-pain meds-and tooth decay the more positive I am that dry mouth has caused these problems. I cannot go 15 minutes w/out something to drink, gum to chew or lozenges to suck.
    Since I cannot eliminate most of the meds used to treat my paraplegia, I can only treat the symptoms. The only good advice I can give is look under “Home Remedies” for dry mouth. There are several listed that are just as good as the prescribed treatments and are MUCH cheaper.

    1. Hi Zachary,

      the last time I went on antibiotics I asked for probiotics to help counteract the effects. There are certain ones you take at the same time as your antibiotics, ask a naturopath or look it up online.

  7. Around the time I developed a ton of AE’s from a delayed reaction to Cipro I noticed my gums would bleed. Mainly they bled from 2 places in my mouth but all of my gums are easy to stimulate blood from. There were many times at work I would be sitting there and taste blood and go to the bathroom and spit it out. I have had a few dentists take x-rays, do deep cleanings and try to determine the cause but they seem baffled with this. They wanted me to take Peridex which I did for awhile until it turned my teeth yellow. It seems to have gotten a little better but my dentist is still concerned about it. I had no problems before cipro.

  8. In the late 90s I took Cipro for tonsillitis. Right after taking it my teeth began to literally crumble and powderize, some wore down to the gumline and disappeared, some just fell out, some had the hard enamel wear away and only the soft part was left. I had to have all of my teeth pulled for dentures…..I was 26 years old. Prior to taking Cipro my teeth were fine. I also had no cavities when my teeth were pulled, they just were falling out and crumblind and wearing away. I’m 41 now and am having issues with my dentures, have trouble wearing them and I’m working on getting implant held dentures, at times I can’t wear my dentures and it’s upsetting and makes me self conscious. I had tried to go to a lawyer about this years ago but back then no one knew much about the side effects and I was told it would be hard to prove it was the medicine. It was most definately the medicine, no doubt in my mind. I will never be the same, I will never have my smile back. Still upsets me to this day.

  9. Fluoroquinolones cause a “double whammy” against our oral health.
    Besides the DNA damages, we have been so beat down by NO sleep due
    to the CONSTANT PAIN, that we become so depressed and basically too weak
    to fight the battle anymore much less take the best care of ourselves the way we used to.

    It’s truelly systemic, as when it hurts to stand, and hurts even worse on your back to lean
    over a Sink to scrub on you teeth…well common sense tells us our teeth are the last thing
    we can ever think of in our daily Pain Battles!

  10. I was prescribed high dosages of Levaquin prior to sinus surgery 18 months ago and my teeth are rapidly crumpling.

  11. Hi lisa before I got braces on my teeth I had no problems no pain no nothing just a overbite everyone kept teasing me about including my doctor who told me to get them or my teeth would fall out. After hi had them on for three years thats when the night mare of my oral health started I became a lab rat at the dentist root canals fillings wisdom teeth removing deep cleaning scraping at the teeth healthy teeth being drilled and lost 18 teeth. I was giving sodium fluoride mouth rinse ciproflax for infections and noticed my teeth became weak and started to chip away. I could not call no one because everyone is so trapped in a world of delusion it kept getting worse. Every where i go its money over healing.

  12. I only took Cipro for 7 days but started losing pieces of tooth almost immediately. I’ve been off Cipro for two days and lost two more small pieces of tooth. No food was being eaten, the chunks just broke right off into my mouth.

  13. Hi Lisa, I just wanted to add something about the comment by Bj. I was raised on a farm, we had well water…no fluoride. I have never been able to drink “city” water due to the nasty chemical smell/taste. From the time I was floxed, I either drank well water or bottled water. I’m positive that fluoride from drinking water played no part in the loss of my teeth.

  14. I really wish I knew, BJ. There is so little in the research literature about this issue that I don’t even know the mechanism, much less the cure. I have no idea if it is the right path or not, but I have been reading some interesting stuff about vitamin K2 lately. I wonder if magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 will help. I think that those supplements are worth a try, as they are good for many aspects of health, but I am not sure. I also think that an anti-inflammatory, low-sugar diet will be helpful because it’s generally good for dental health. If I find more solid answers, I’ll definitely let you know.

  15. Lisa fluoride in water calcifies and affects teeth and bone so strong link I would think. How about.we list ways to intervene or protect damage? Would probiotics and anti-inflammatory diet help? What else?

  16. Thanks, J.K.! We’re caught in the normal catch-22 for floxies – if it’s on the warning label, they claim that we were adequately warned and there is no possibility of justice. If it’s not on the warning label, it’s claimed that it’s not from the drugs. Grrrrrr! I agree – SHAME on both Bayer and J&J! There is nothing that is okay about this.

  17. Great article, Lisa. It should be noted that this horrific & costly side effect isn’t disclosed anywhere in the drug literature accompanying any of these antibiotics. Shouldn’t patients be privy to the fact that these drugs could cost them their teeth?? SHAME on Bayer and J&J! Absolutely disgusting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *