Toothpaste: Can It Prevent and Cure Gum Disease? Which Is The Best For Gingivitis And Periodontitis?

If you have gum disease, you might wonder whether toothpaste can prevent, treat and/or cure it. The good news is that while not a magic solution, toothpaste can help in your fight against gum disease at home when combined with excellent oral hygiene. 

The best toothpaste to use, if you have gum disease are those which are formulated with special ingredients designed to target the bacteria that trigger gingivitis and its progression to periodontitis. Some toothpaste also contains ingredients which help reduce the side effects of gum disease such as sensitivity. 

It’s worth noting, that toothpaste alone cannot prevent or cure gum disease, especially periodontitis. It requires a comprehensive approach including effective plaque removal at home, professional gum health treatments and in some cases surgery.

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What Causes Gum Disease?

Before we talk about toothpaste it’s essential to understand what’s caused gum disease, to explain why toothpaste isn’t a magic cure and why a holistic approach is needed.  

Gingivitis is triggered by plaque bacteria (some people can be more susceptible to this plaque than others), which progresses to periodontitis quite quickly when not treated. 

If you don’t know, plaque is essentially, a sticky layer of bacteria trapped inside a film (the fancy name is a biofilm) that coats the teeth and gets under the gumline (in advanced gum disease). 

How To Get Rid Of The Plaque?

As plaque is the cause, the best way to fight gum disease is to get rid of the bacteria. It’s actually impossible to eliminate it (it’s bacteria and it multiplies fast) but you can stop the plaque (or biofilm) from accumulating and having its ill effects by disrupting it regularly. 

The most effective way to do this is manually by brushing the teeth and using interdental tools. This can be done without toothpaste. 

Best Toothpaste for Gum Disease

The Role Of Toothpaste In Targeting Plaque and Gum Disease

Whilst toothpaste isn’t essential for disrupting plaque, some ingredients found in good-quality toothpaste have therapeutic properties that can help disrupt the bacterial film, inhibit bacterial growth and reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Here’s a breakdown of some useful properties: 

  • Anti-Bacterial: Ingredients like sodium fluoride and stannous fluoride inhibit or destroy the growth of bacteria.  More on this below.
  • Tartar Control: Tartar or dental calculus, is a hardened, calcified plaque. Tartar provides a nice smooth surface for plaque to build on and aggravate the gums. Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Zinc Citrate and Sodium Pyrophosphate are two ingredients that can help to keep tartar from forming on teeth.
  • Desensitizing Agents: Those with gum disease can experience tooth sensitivity, particularly when gums recede. Agents such as potassium nitrate, strontium chloride, stannous fluoride and Hyaluronic Acid can offer relief. 
  • Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients: Inflammation is synonymous with gum disease. Ingredients like stannous fluoride, aloe vera and chamomile can alleviate inflamed gums, offering comfort.
  • Promotion of Saliva Production: Ingredients that spur saliva production can be beneficial. Saliva neutralizes acids, cleans away food residues, and curbs bacterial growth—essential for gum health. Ingredients like Xylitol, Malic acid, Glycerin and Cetylpyridinium Chloride can be useful. 
  • Detergents: Sodium lauryl sulphate, for instance, fosters a foaming action that removes bacterial plaque and food particles, ensuring a refreshing mouthfeel.

If you have gum disease look for toothpaste containing Stannous Fluoride as it has many benefits. 

How Important Is Fluoride In Preventing Gum Disease?

Fluoride is primarily recognized for its role in preventing tooth decay by remineralizing tooth enamel and making it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria. But it also prevents the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Fluoride fights bacteria by messing up their energy-making systems and making it harder for them to survive in acidic places. Think of it as throwing a wrench into the machinery that bacteria need to function!

However, there are different types of fluoride and some of them are better at doing this than others. Stannous fluoride is better at this than Sodium fluoride (this is found in most toothpastes). Stannous is also great at reducing sensitivity caused by gum recession.  

So choose stannous fluoride if you can. But sodium fluoride is better than no fluoride.

Toothpaste Alone Can’t Cure Periodontal Disease But Can Be Helpful When Combined With An Effective Treatment Plan

To effectively beat gum disease you need to combine your toothpaste with daily performed self-care (brushing the teeth twice a day, ideally with an electric toothbrush and cleaning the interdental spaces).

A healthy diet, a clean healthy lifestyle and early detection are also recommended. In some cases where you have advanced gum disease, you may need professional gum health treatments to clean below the gum line. 

The Best Toothpaste for Gum Diseases

There are specific brands and types of toothpaste that dentists often recommend for gum health. These toothpaste usually contain ingredients that target plaque, reduce bacteria, and help with gum inflammation. When used twice a day they can protect against plaque and establish a barrier against harmful bacteria. They can also Actively fortify teeth by replenishing enamel.

Here are some popular brands and types often recommended:

  • Oral-B Pro-Expert Deep Clean Toothpaste
  • Crest Gum Detoxify and Pro-Health Advanced Crest’s Gum Detoxify Toothpastes
  • Paradontax Active Gum Repair

Regardless of the brand or type of toothpaste, it’s essential to look for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance if you’re in the USA, and the BDA (British Dental Association) approval if you’re in the UK. These seals indicate that the toothpaste meets specific criteria for safety and efficacy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Toothpaste Alone Cure Gum Disease?

No. Toothpaste alone cannot cure gum disease.  If you squirt it on your finger and rub it around your teeth and gums it will have little effect on the disruption of the plaque that’s caused the gum disease. You need to manually remove it by brushing and cleaning between the teeth. 

Can Toothpaste Reverse Gum Disease?

No, toothpaste cannot fully “reverse” gum disease, especially if the condition has progressed to periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. However, some toothpaste can help manage and reduce the symptoms of gum disease, especially in its early stages (like gingivitis) or if you have sensitivity from gum recession.

Are Natural Or Organic Toothpaste Effective Against Gingivitis?

Natural or organic toothpastes are increasingly popular, but scientific evidence on their efficacy against gum disease is limited. Some believe ingredients like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, aloe vera, neem, baking soda, and xylitol can support gum health when paired with proper oral care.

Are There Any Prescription Toothpaste For Advanced Gum Disease?

Prescription-only toothpaste is available. Chlorhexidine Gluconate Toothpaste (which contains Chlorhexidine an antimicrobial agent) is available on prescription in some locations to help treat gum disease. PreviDent 5000 Plus (which contains very high levels of sodium fluoride) is available for those at risk of cavities and this may help keep the gums healthy as well.

Sharon Fyles image

Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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