What to Know About Taking Probiotics with Antibiotics for Root Canals

When you need a root canal, you might assume that you’ll be taking antibiotics as part of this procedure. Antibiotics are typically used for infections in other parts of the body. However, they’re not used much for tooth infections. Our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman, might recommend antibiotics for root canals in certain situations, but they’re not a routine part of this procedure. If you do end up needing antibiotics, taking probiotics might help lower the risk of experiencing digestive problems and other side effects. Find out more about taking antibiotics and probiotics for root canals.


Good vs. Bad Bacteria and Tooth Infections

Root canals are performed in order to treat infections inside teeth. During this procedure, Dr. Rillman removes infected material known as pulp from your inner tooth. This helps tooth infections clear up and reduces the risk of complications.

Tooth infections occur due to the presence of harmful bacteria. Keep in mind that your mouth also has good or beneficial bacteria. However, harmful bacteria can take over and lead to infections.


How Antibiotics Work

Antibiotics kill off bacteria, which eliminates infections. If you’re at risk of developing a secondary infection in your body or having a tooth infection spread, taking antibiotics might be recommended before a root canal. While this kind of medication is effective at stopping infections, it eliminates both good and bad bacteria. This can lead to gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, and other side effects. Taking probiotics along with antibiotics may offer a way to reduce the risk of these problems.


Benefits of Taking Probiotics and Antibiotics for Root Canals

Probiotics help restore beneficial bacteria in your gut. When you take antibiotics for a root canal, you might experience side effects, since good bacteria are destroyed along with bad bacteria. Your digestive system needs a healthy amount of beneficial bacteria in order to ensure proper digestion. Your body can gradually restore these bacteria. However, you might have an upset stomach, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal symptoms in the meantime.

Taking probiotics with antibiotics may help reduce the risk of these side effects. Probiotics fill your gut with beneficial bacteria that help you digest food. You can get probiotics in a couple of ways. Probiotic supplements and food sources can provide your body with these good bacteria. You should talk to your doctor before taking probiotics with antibiotics, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or health problems. If you do take probiotics, you might need to wait a couple of hours after taking antibiotics to ensure effectiveness.


Probiotic Supplements

Probiotic supplements offer a simple way to help restore good gut bacteria. A healthcare provider can recommend over-the-counter supplements that contain probiotics. Keep in mind that research findings indicate that getting probiotics from food sources is more beneficial than taking supplements.


Food Sources of Probiotics

You can get probiotics from natural food sources in your diet. The following are some of the top foods that contain probiotics.


Yogurt is made from fermented milk that contains beneficial bacteria. However, some types of yogurt don’t contain live or active cultures. The good bacteria in these yogurts are destroyed due to processing. Look for yogurt that contains live or active bacteria cultures, such as bifidobacteria or lactic acid bacteria.

Fermented Cheeses

Heavily processed cheeses usually don’t contain beneficial bacteria. Cheeses that are fermented do have these bacteria. Choose these cheeses, which include cottage cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, and Gouda, while taking antibiotics.


Sauerkraut is a fermented form of cabbage that contains lactic acid bacteria. Look for unpasteurized sauerkraut, since pasteurized versions don’t contain live cultures.


Pickles are actually cucumbers that are fermented in a water and salt solution. Those made using vinegar don’t have active bacteria cultures, so check labels when buying pickles.


Kombucha is a type of green or black tea that has been fermented. This tea contains beneficial bacteria that may help improve gut health.


Made from fermented soybeans, miso is a Japanese seasoning that contains good bacteria. Eating miso soup might help lower the risk of having digestive side effects while taking antibiotics.


Tempeh patties are made from fermented soybeans that have beneficial bacteria.


Kefir is a milk drink made from fermented kefir grains, which provides your body with lactic acid bacteria and other beneficial bacteria for proper digestion.


This Korean side dish is made from fermented cabbage or other types of vegetables and contains different types of good lactic acid bacteria.


If you need a root canal, Largo Endodontics can help. Our board-certified endodontist, Dr. Rillman, can examine tooth damage and determine if this procedure is the right course of treatment. Dr. Rillman can also let you know if you should take antibiotics for your root canal.