Clindamycin For Tooth Infection: What To Know

When a tooth becomes infected as a result of bacterial invasion, there is pus accumulation in the mouth which is called an abscess.

If this is your case, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading. The tooth will be treated either by doing a  root canal treatment or will be extracted depending on the severity.


An antibiotic does not have to be prescribed for every tooth infection but if your dentist recommends one, clindamycin may be one of them. Clindamycin is not usually prescribed except in cases of allergy to the commonly prescribed antibiotics.

This article is centered on all you need to know about clindamycin and its use for a tooth infection.

What Is Clindamycin Used For?

Clindamycin is a strong antibiotic that is used for treating and preventing many infections such as ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis, community-acquired pneumonia, tooth infections, joint and bone infections, infections in the stomach region and a host of others.


It belongs to a group of medicines known as lincosamide or lincomycin antibiotics and works by stopping bacteria from producing the protein they need to multiply and spread infection in the body. It is available in capsules, cream, suppositories and also injections.

Clindamycin And Tooth Infection

Antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin are most commonly used to treat tooth infections but in cases of allergy or when you haven’t had success with penicillin antibiotics, clindamycin becomes the drug of choice.

Also, it is active against a variety of bacteria and this is important because tooth infections often involve several types of bacteria. Clindamycin is also the drug of choice when the infection has spread to the jaw bone. This condition is called osteomyelitis.

How is Clindamycin Used?

• Clindamycin is available in pharmacies as the brand name Dalacin C or Cleocin. The usual dose for adults is 150-300 mg – that is one or two capsules to be taken four times daily for about a week or two. The dose is less than this if it is prescribed for a child.


Clindamycin can also be taken intravenously (through the vein) in severe cases for quicker action.
• Take your doses every six hours so that it is evenly spaced throughout the day. It can be taken before or after meals.
• If you miss a dose, take one as soon as you remember and do not take two doses at the same time to make up for missed doses.
• Don’t stop taking the antibiotic even if you feel your infection has cleared up. Continue taking it until the course is finished unless you are told to stop by your doctor. This is to prevent the infection from coming back and antibiotic resistance. The treatment usually lasts for about a week. It may be longer than this if you are taking clindamycin for infections that have spread to the jaw bone.

• Some people experience throat irritation when taking clindamycin, but swallowing the capsule with a full glass of water can help you avoid this. DO NOT take clindamycin with alcohol because it can increase the risk of side effects.

How Long Does It Take To Work?

Feel better

As soon as you start taking clindamycin, you will notice an improvement in your symptoms after the first or second day. If you are not getting better or your symptoms are not improving at all after taking clindamycin for a few days, make sure you contact your doctor.

What Are The Possible Allergic Reactions To Clindamycin?

Allergic reaction to clindamycin is a rare occurrence but if you notice any of these while taking the medication, it may be a sign of drug allergy.

• Rash

If you notice any kind of rash on your body while taking the medication, contact your healthcare provider as this may be an allergic reaction to clindamycin.

• Anaphylaxis

Also, it’s possible to have a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. These symptoms appear within 30 minutes of taking the drug and includes vomiting, chest tightness, difficulty in breathing, diarrhea, itchy red rashes and passing out. This is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment.
The chances of an anaphylactic reaction to clindamycin are very low but it is important for you to know these signs and how to recognize them.


What Are The Side Effects of Clindamycin?



As the case is with most drugs, clindamycin can cause a range of side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Taking clindamycin with a diet that is bland (not spicy, which may irritate the stomach) may help prevent nausea and vomiting that may occur.
Also, experiencing frequent, watery diarrhea while taking clindamycin is not normal so your doctor should be contacted before taking another dose.

In rare cases, clindamycin can also increase your risk of coming down with Clostridium difficile infection. This infection happens when there is a disturbance in the balance of bacteria in your intestines during treatment with certain antibiotics. This bacterial imbalance then leads to overgrowth of the Clostridium difficile bacteria, causing a serious infection.

Symptoms of C. difficile infection to look out for are watery diarrhea (up to 15 times that may contain blood or pus), loss of appetite, fever, abdominal pain, and nausea.

How Safe is Clindamycin?


Clindamycin is safe for everyone, including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. Look out for any signs for diaper rash in your baby if you are breastfeeding.
Taking clindamycin together with some other medications may cause an interaction so make sure you tell your doctor if you are also taking,
– Erythromycin
– Medications to treat diarrhea that contains loperamide and diphenoxylate/atropine
– Medications that relax the muscles which contain pancuronium and tubocurarine as active ingredients.

Causes of Tooth Infection

Tooth infection

Tooth infection is primarily caused by bacteria using any of the following means
1) Extensive tooth decay
2) Failed root canal treatment
3) Gum disease as a result of poor oral hygiene, diabetes or smoking.
4) Fractured tooth as a result of trauma.
5) Wisdom teeth that have not fully come out or trapped in the jaw bone.
6) Defective or faulty filling

In summary

Thumbs up

A tooth infection may or may not require antibiotics depending on the severity and your dentist’s recommendation. If clindamycin is prescribed, ensure that you take the full dose as required so as to prevent the infection from coming back.

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