Updated: Oct 14
In order to determine the best toothpaste for receding gums, we need to understand what causes gum recession and the symptoms that result as a consequence of it. The toothpaste needs to address all of these symptoms for it to be considered the best and most effective.
Therefore the best toothpaste that you should use for gum recession should have these three qualities:
The best toothpaste that does not cause receding gums
The first characteristic of a good receding gums toothpaste is one that does not cause further gum recession. If the toothpaste makes them recede more then, that toothpaste is absolutely useless. Therefore, this is one of the most important traits of what it should have.
What typically causes gum recession is due to an improper aggressive brushing technique. The combination of a heavy hand, hard bristles on a brush, and an abrasive toothpaste is a recipe for disaster. Basically what you want to do is avoid all of these three factors as much as possible.
What you should do is brush with gentle motions and switch to a toothbrush with soft bristles. That should take care of two of the factors but that leaves the last factor which is the abrasiveness of your toothpaste.
You may not have known but all toothpastes come with an RDA value (relative dentin abrasivity). It basically measures how abrasive, gritty, or rough the the texture of your paste is.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is a threshold of RDA that you should not exceed.
Toothpastes that are below a 250 RDA value are considered safe.
Toothpastes that are above 250 RDA may cause harm.
Here is a chart of some common toothpastes and their relative dentin abrasivity:
Basically, the more abrasive the toothpaste is, the higher the probability of causing the gums to recede if you brush with it. The less abrasive it is, the less likely it would be to damage the gums. Therefore, the best toothpaste in regards to minimizing the chances of causing recession would be a low abrasive toothpaste.
The lowest abrasiveness toothpaste
Based on the chart above, the most gentle thing you can brush with is actually just a wet toothbrush with water but that disqualifies it as a toothpaste. The second most gentle on the list is actually plain baking soda.
That's right, you can simply wet your toothbrush and then brush your teeth with some plain old baking soda. Although if you prefer to not make your own toothpaste everyday, you can simply buy some Arm & Hammer brand of toothpaste. It is essentially the same thing since it is make of baking soda.
Well, there you have it, the best toothpaste that does not cause receding gums is plain baking soda.
The best toothpaste that prevents teeth sensitivity as a result of gum recession
Once the gums recede, the root will be exposed and that can be extremely sensitive. Most patients with receded gums often complain of their teeth being sensitive to cold water and various other cold foods like ice cream.
Therefore, a good toothpaste for receding gums should be able to minimize the amount of teeth sensitivity. There are only two ingredients on the market that can decrease sensitivity.
Potassium nitrate. Studies have shown that patients who undergo teeth whitening, which can cause extreme teeth sensitivity will tolerate the sensitivity better if they use a toothpaste with potassium nitrate. Basically how it works is that the ingredient will clog up the dentinal tubules and that prevents your teeth from feeling sensitivity.
Hydroxyapatite. Studies have shown that hydroxyapatite when used during whitening can reduce teeth sensitivity significantly. How it works is that the hydroxyapatite actually create a layer that is similar to your tooth enamel over your entire tooth. This additional layer gives you extra protection against cold sensations.
In conclusion, a very good receding gums toothpaste should contain one of the above two ingredients. Here are a couple of common toothpastes, which contain that.
Sensodyne - contains potassium nitrate
Apagard Premio toothpaste - contains hydroxyapatite (HAp)
Davids toothpaste - contains hydroxyapatite (HAp)
Risewell - contains HAp
Boka Ela mint toothpaste - contains HAp
There are many more but just make sure you read the label and it says it contains either potassium nitrate or hydroxyapatite. In regards to sensitivity, both will work and we're pretty much brand agnostic so you can choose whichever one you like.
The best toothpaste that can restore the gums
Last but not least, wouldn't you want a toothpaste that can repair your gums like make it grow back? That would certainly reverse the receding gums and solve all of your problems. If there is a toothpaste that can restore your gums, that would essentially make it the best paste for gum recession.
Unfortunately there isn't a toothpaste on the market that can regrow your gums. In fact, it is physically impossible to do that with a toothpaste alone. Currently with the extent of our dental technology, the only way to restore your gums would be to see a gum specialist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum disease such as gum recession.
Here are some surgical techniques that your dentist can use to regrow your gums:
Connective tissue graft. Your dentist will harvest connective tissue from the roof of your mouth to cover up the recession.
Free gingival graft. Similar to a connective tissue graft, the top layer from the roof of the mouth is used.
Pedicle graft. Instead of harvesting tissue from a faraway site, gums from an adjacent site will be pulled over to cover the recession.
Pinhole Surgical Technique. This is a recent technique that was invented to restore a lot of gum recession at the same time.
Taking into account all of the information above, there is no toothpaste that can restore your gums so the next best option would be to find one with a low abrasiveness AND one that can decrease teeth sensitivity. Based on the chart above, the toothpaste that contains both combinations would be the Sensodyne Pronamel.
The best toothpaste for receding gums is the Sensodyne Pronamel due to it having a low RDA value and also anti-sensitivity effect. Just to be clear, this is the best one if you live in the United States. There is a toothpaste that is slightly more gentle than the sensodyne pronamel but it is a german brand called Elmex sensitive toothpaste. If you live in Europe, you can give the Elmex a try instead!
Author: Written by Dr David Chen, a long island city dentist.