Does Stannous Fluoride Prevent Gum Disease?

There are so many varieties of toothpastes it can be hard to choose which one is best for you. Whitening, fluoride, desensitizing, plaque and tartar control, and antibacterial, the combinations and brands available seem almost endless. So how do you make the best choice?

First, start with a toothpaste bearing the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. A list of products approved by the ADA can be found on their website. This is important, because toothpastes with the Seal are required to meet standards based on clinical and laboratory studies.

Second, you may have seen advertisements about a new toothpaste that claims to prevent gingivitis and bleeding gums. The question is, do you need a special toothpaste, such as Parodontax to prevent gum disease? This is an interesting question because, based on advertising alone, it may seem like a special toothpaste is the only way to prevent gum disease, with no mention of the importance of flossing. So let’s consider what’s so special about Parodontax and similar toothpastes and why they are not “magic in a tube.”

Parodontax falls under the antibacterial category of toothpastes because it’s active ingredient is stannous fluoride. Not all toothpastes contain the same kind of fluoride and not all fluorides are created equal, however all do provide a certain amount of protection against tooth decay. Stannous fluoride is a form found to have notably superior antibacterial properties, better inhibiting plaque development and the gum inflammation that causes bleeding. Although this has been known for some time, sodium fluoride is still preferred in most toothpastes, primarily because it tastes better. If people don’t use toothpaste, it can’t help them, and taste is a factor in whether they use it or not.

Parodontax is not the only brand of toothpaste to contain stannous fluoride; Crest and Colgate also make varieties containing stannous fluoride. But is it necessary to rush out and buy a tube? If you have dry mouth or are undergoing treatment for oral or throat cancer, it may be advised. These diseases and other problems increase the risk of gum disease and tooth loss, making a stronger toothpaste advisable. Nevertheless, for most of us the three foundations for maintaining gum health have not changed:

  • Proper brushing twice a day and flossing every day
  • Use toothpaste or mouthwash containing some type of fluoride
  • Biannual dental visits for cleanings and checkups with the Placerville Dental Group

Maintaining a daily oral care routine is the best way for your mouth to remain healthy and problem free. Toothpastes containing stannous fluoride provide extra benefits, but flossing and regularity are still important for preventing gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease. If you have further questions about stannous fluoride, feel free to ask our Placerville dentists!


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