Human β-defensin 3 (hBD3) is a cationic peptide with immunomodulatory effects on both innate and acquired immune responses. Periodontitis, an inflammatory disease that extends deep into periodontal tissues, causes the loss of supporting structures around the tooth. The present study assessed the effects of hBD3 as a monotherapy for periodontitis in mice and explored its potential mechanism. In vivo, hBD3 inhibited the levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin-6, and matrix metalloprotease-9 in periodontium exposed to Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.g) in a mouse periodontitis model; reduced osteoclast formation and lower alveolar bone loss were also observed. In addition, hBD3 was related to the expression of polarization signature molecules in circulating monocytes. In vitro, hBD3 notably suppressed the production of TNF-α and interleukin-6 in RAW 264.7 cells stimulated by the lipopolysaccharide of P.g. Moreover, hBD3 attenuated polarization of RAW 264.7 cells into the M1 phenotype, with reduced activation of nuclear factor-κB signal transduction. In conclusion, hBD3 exhibits potent anti-periodontitis properties both in vitro and in vivo, and this effect may be correlated to inhibition of the nuclear factor-κB pathway and macrophage polarization.