What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. It happens when plaque builds up on the teeth and around the gum line, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. The bacteria in the plaque produce acids that are very irritating to the gum tissue, causing your gums to feel sore, inflamed and swollen. You might notice your gums bleeding when you brush or floss, too. 

If it's not treated, gingivitis can turn into another, more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis. This can lead to loose teeth or even tooth loss, and it’s associated with some serious systemic health problems too. For that reason, proactively tackling gingivitis is important to stop the disease from progressing.

How a Toothpaste for Gingivitis Can Help

The best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to develop a solid oral hygiene routine that includes twice-daily toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste. An over-the-counter toothpaste with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance is a great place to start, as these products have been tested to verify their safety and effectiveness.  

Some toothpastes also feature ingredients to help you fight gingivitis. These ingredients kill the bacteria that cause plaque, helping to reduce inflammation and irritation, and preventing bacteria from building up again. Some also contain ingredients to help with associated symptoms of gum disease, like tooth sensitivity.

What to Look For in a Gingivitis Toothpaste

When choosing the best toothpaste for gingivitis, here are some ingredients to look out for: 

  • Stannous fluoride. Fluoride is essential for strong teeth, and a good toothpaste will feature this important ingredient. However, most general daily toothpastes have sodium fluoride. If you have gingivitis, choose a toothpaste with stannous fluoride instead. This ingredient is more effective at killing plaque bacteria and reducing plaque build-up, and it forms a protective layer over the tooth to reduce sensitivity. 

  • Triclosan. This antimicrobial ingredient disrupts the membrane of plaque bacteria. Together with fluoride, it helps to reduce gingival bleeding and inflammation from gingivitis. 

  • Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC). CPC is an antimicrobial ingredient that prevents plaque from maturing and reduces the symptoms of gingivitis. 

  • Hydrogen peroxide. This powerful antimicrobial agent kills bacteria and gently cleanses the gums with a soothing, bubbling action. This is ideal for those with sore gums caused by gingivitis. 

  • Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX). Your dentist or hygienist may prescribe a toothpaste with CHX. This broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent is very effective against plaque bacteria, quickly reducing irritation and bleeding caused by gingivitis and supporting the gums to heal.

How to Brush With Gingivitis Toothpaste

So you’ve found the best toothpaste for gingivitis, and you’re ready to brush that plaque away. Now it’s time to make sure your brushing tools and technique are up to the task: 

  1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that's small enough for those back molars.

  2. Add your trusted bacteria-fighting toothpaste to your brush.

  3. Hold your toothbrush at a 45° angle against the gum line.

  4. Move the toothbrush over each tooth in a light, circular motion, taking care to gently brush the gum line too. 

  5. After getting all your teeth, brush your tongue as well.

  6. Do this twice a day, for two minutes at a time. 

Complete Oral Care for Gingivitis

Brushing is just step one. To really show gingivitis the door, add the following to your oral hygiene routine, too: 

  • Floss or clean between your teeth to catch any plaque and bacteria missed by brushing. 

  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash specially formulated with ingredients that kill plaque bacteria. Your dental professional can prescribe a CHX rinse, but you can also buy mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide, CPC, and other anti-plaque ingredients over the counter. 

  • See your dental professional every six months for a professional cleaning. This will get rid of any stubborn plaque or tartar (hardened plaque) that has built up between visits. 

Your gingivitis cure begins with taking ownership of your oral health. Finding the best toothpaste for gingivitis and implementing these healthy habits will help you take care of this condition and prevent other more severe conditions from developing.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.


What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay


What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay