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The microbial etiology of gingivitis and periodontitis provides the rationale for use of adjunctive antimicrobial agents in the prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases. Although mechanical removal of supra- and subgingival calcified and non-calcified plaque deposits has been proved effective to control the gingival inflammatory lesions as well as to halt the progression of periodontal attachment loss, some patients may experience additional benefits from the use of systemic or topical antimicrobial agents. Such agents are able to significantly affect supra- and subgingival plaque accumulation and/or suppress or eradicate periodontal pathogenic microflora. Currently, properly selected local antiseptic and systemic antibiotic therapies can provide periodontal treatment that is generally effective, low-risk and affordable. This paper will briefly review the host-related conditions in which the periodontal preventive and therapeutic approaches may be effectively assisted by a local antimicrobial regimen. Potential future indications for adjunctive local antimicrobial therapy will also be discussed.