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There are more kinds of toothpaste being sold right now than ever and a lot of them claim to be the best. What is the truth? WHich is the best toothpaste out there for gingivitis and gum disease? We help you choose.

One of the most commonly asked questions to a dentist is about the best toothpaste for gingivitis and gum disease or decay or other problems. This is usually because of the wide range of toothpaste being advertised on television and in magazines each one claiming to have special ingredients that make it better than everything else out there.

Here is something you already probably suspected: 90% of it is just marketing to sell you more products and raise profits.

This, however, does not mean that the question itself is irrelevant. What is the best toothpaste for gingivitis and gum disease? Can it substitute for bleeding gums treatment? Gingivitis is caused by plaque [1] and so the best toothpaste would help slow down its accumulation on the surface of the teeth.

Best toothpaste for gum disease

Follow the crowd

It is not possible to go through each and every brand available on the market but let us try to help you narrow down the various choices.

First, avoid toothpaste that is not explicitly tested and approved by trusted dental organizations like the American Dental Association or the World Dental Federation or one specific to your country. There are many countries where herbal/ayurvedic kinds of toothpaste are sold without having been adequately tested.

If we don’t buy medicines or packaged food that is certified, then why would we do something different without toothpaste?

That will leave the big brand companies in the market and that is not a bad thing. These companies have the necessary resources to adequately research their products, are often selling the same products around the world. And have a lot more on the line to make untrue claims.

Look at the ingredients

Most toothpaste only varies from each other in very few ingredients. Triclosan is one of the important ingredients to look at while evaluating toothpaste to fight gingivitis and gum disease [2]. Triclosan is an antibacterial ingredient that has been shown to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in the plaque around the teeth for a period of 12 hours [3].

Theoretically, if you brush with such a toothpaste twice a day, then you are providing excellent protection to your teeth.

Different manufacturers will link Triclosan with different co-polymers which prevent it from being leeched out too early [4]. Gantrez is a popular one that Triclosan is linked with [5].

Chlorhexidine is considered to be the gold standard ingredient when it comes to fighting gum disease [6]. A few toothpaste manufacturers have started to find a way to incorporate Chlorhexidine in their toothpaste to help fight gum disease as well [7].

The reason why it is not done very commonly is that one of the side effects of chlorhexidine is to cause staining of the teeth. It is understandable that no toothpaste maker wants its products to be seen as one that increases the stains on your teeth [8].

Fluoride, although, not directly involved in fighting bacteria which causes gum disease is another very desirable ingredient in toothpaste. Fluoride helps fight decay by making the enamel of the teeth stronger [9]. Studies have shown that the normal hydroxyapatite structure of the enamel is changed to fluorapatite which is much better at fighting the acid attack from harmful bacteria [10].

If the teeth remain healthy, a lesser amount of food is going to be lodged within the teeth, and once again help prevent gum disease.

It’s not just the toothpaste

Here is a secret that the toothpaste manufacturers don’t want you to know: The toothpaste is not enough to prevent gingivitis or gum disease alone. Using a fancy toothpaste is not a substitute for gum treatment, surgical or non-surgical. 

Much more important than the kind of toothpaste being used is the frequency of brushing, the manner of tooth brushing, and consistency in maintaining good oral hygiene.

Plaque begins to form instantly on our teeth after brushing. This is why we have to constantly keep brushing to remove it from our teeth. The mechanical action of the brush is essential to this plaque removal and this is why people can keep their teeth clean just by using the brush without toothpaste but not the other way round.  

The toothpaste is an excellent additive to the brushing process because it helps the breath feel fresher, it has a few chemical ingredients that help in reducing the growth of harmful bacteria, and it makes the process of brushing more appealing.

Which toothpaste to buy to prevent gingivitis and gum disease?

Plaque builds up slowly and it takes about 48 hours before it starts to become calcified and start to form tartar. Once tartar forms, it cannot be removed with the brush, however hard you try. This is why brushing every day, twice daily, is very important.  

Buy a toothpaste that is easily available, not too expensive, manufactured by a reputable brand, and one that you enjoy using. Colgate Total [11] is one of the toothpaste that dentists commonly recommend and there are similar ones from other brands as well. Ask your dentist if you are not sure. 

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