Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of polymicrobial origin that affects the tooth-supporting tissues. With the spread of antibiotic resistance among pathogenic bacteria, alternative strategies are required to better control infectious diseases such as periodontitis. The aim of our study was to investigate whether two natural compounds, A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins (AC-PACs) and licochalcone A, act in synergy against Porphyromonas gingivalis and the host inflammatory response of a macrophage model. Using a checkerboard microtitre test, AC-PACs and licochalcone A were found to act in synergy to inhibit P. gingivalis growth and biofilm formation. Fluorescein isothiocyanate-labelled P. gingivalis adhesion to oral epithelial cells was also inhibited by a combination of the two natural compounds in a synergistic manner. Fluorometric assays showed that although AC-PACs and licochalcone A reduced both MMP-9 and P. gingivalis collagenase activities, no synergy was obtained with a combination of the compounds. Lastly, AC-PACs and licochalcone A also acted in synergy to reduce the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced secretion of the pro-inflammatory mediators IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-8 in a macrophage model. A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins and licochalcone A, natural compounds from cranberry and licorice, respectively, act in synergy on both P. gingivalis and the host immune response, the two principal etiological factors of periodontitis. The combined use of AC-PACs and licochalcone A may be a potential novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease. © 2012 The Authors Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.