Gum disease isn’t like a scab that can go away on its own. When unhealthy gums aren’t treated properly, they can lead to severe consequences for your oral health, such as infected teeth and even early tooth loss.
Although many people around the world are able to get their gums treated at the first sign of trouble, there are others who may not realize their gums are in bad shape. One oral health problem that many don’t often notice is the formation of gum pockets.
Gum pockets, also known as gingival or periodontal pockets, are infected spaces or gaps that form around the teeth. Harmful bacteria that were once kept at bay can accumulate in these pockets and eventually destroy connective tissues, resulting in loose and unhealthy teeth. Although gum pockets sound like a scary problem that can sneak up on you any time, they can easily be treated by your dentist. You can also prevent the formation of vulnerable gum pockets through proper oral hygiene and other smart lifestyle changes.
What are the Signs of Gum Pockets?
Gum pockets aren’t easy to spot with just a bathroom mirror. The best way to determine whether or not you may have them is to visit your dentist. He or she will use a special probe to measure the spaces between your tooth and gum tissue.
Spaces that are 1-3 millimeters in size are usually normal and harmless. However, spaces that are bigger than that are usually good indicators of periodontitis. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), 4 or 5-mm gum pockets that have formed around two teeth strongly indicate moderate periodontal disease. A 5-mm pocket that’s formed around one tooth, and 6-mm pockets that have formed around at least two teeth, are very much signs of advanced periodontitis.
Swollen, bloody gums, and bad breath may also indicate the formation of gum pockets. You might also want to watch for gums that have receded and pulled away from your teeth. If you’ve begun to experience any of these problems, it’s best to visit your dentist. He or she will be able to check for gum pocket formation, as well as prescribe a good treatment plan to follow at home.
Types of Gum Pockets
Gum pockets can be classified as either gingival or periodontal.
Gingival pockets form without harming the underlying tissues, and they may be caused by the accumulation of plaque around your teeth. When gingival pockets form, the sulcus (i.e. the space between your teeth and surrounding gum tissue) may deepen in depth. Although you might not be at risk of tooth loss if you have gingival pockets, allowing this problem to go untreated may result in other serious consequences for your oral health, such as bacterial infection.
Periodontal pockets form below the alveolar bone (i.e. the part of the jawbone that keeps your teeth in place). These pockets are caused by the destruction of supporting periodontal tissues and bone. Periodontal pockets can lead to lost teeth, as well as further bone loss and the formation of dental calculus when left untreated for far too long.
Eliminating Gum Pockets
Unfortunately, gum pockets can’t be removed with just brushing and flossing. You’ll need to have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist. He or she will need to get rid of existing bacteria and tartar to ensure that your gums properly heal around the tooth. If you’ve experienced some bone loss, your dentist might need to get rid of areas where harmful bacteria can hide. That way, your gum tissues can heal and form without any problems.
You’ll only need to get proper dental scaling and root planing if you haven’t lost any healthy bone. But if you’ve experienced severe bone loss due to periodontal pockets, you might need to get a tooth extraction or other surgical treatments. This will restore your gums to a much healthier state and prevent any complications that may occur due to serious bone loss.
The Best Ways to Prevent Gum Pockets
1. Brush and floss every day
Responsible daily maintenance is key to preventing gum pockets. You can keep your gums firm and strong enough to support teeth by brushing properly twice a day using clean, soft-bristled toothbrushes and fluoride toothpaste. It’s also important to floss between your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque, food debris, and bacteria stuck in places where your toothbrush may not reach. If you have trouble flossing because of braces or retainers, you can use interdental cleaners to keep your oral health in good shape.
2. Avoid bad habits
Smoking and vaping always come with consequences. Each puff you take only increases your chances of getting painful oral health diseases in the not-so-distant future. Tobacco and e-cigarettes often cause periodontal disease and tooth loss for many young people, so it’s much better to quit while you’re ahead. You can consult your dentist, as well as helpful support groups, for healthy ways to quit smoking and recover from nicotine addiction.
3. Maintain regular cleanings
It’s much easier to sit in a dentist’s chair for a regular cleaning than for invasive surgery. During regular cleanings, your dentist will be able to recognize signs of gum disease early. He or she will also be able to get rid of plaque, tartar, and sticky calculus before they cause trouble for your teeth and gums. By getting regular cleanings, you lower your chances of suffering from painful diseases and getting hour-long, expensive dental treatments in the future.
4. Rinse with mouthwash
Mouthwash is a valuable ally to have in the war against bad oral health. It can reduce the amount of plaque stuck to your teeth, keep your gums from swelling, and eliminate food debris and bad bacteria from areas that aren’t easy to brush or floss. Mouthwashes without any alcohol content are much better to use for your daily oral hygiene routine since these won’t melt away enamel or wash out good bacteria from your teeth.
You can also take charge of your oral health before things get worse by using a top-quality dental scaler at home. Meeteasy’s dental scaler removes plaque, sticky tartar, and stubborn food debris from below the gum line, as well as between and behind teeth. This valuable tool keeps your teeth and gums well protected from serious problems through safe, painless, and 100% effective daily cleaning. Give your teeth the star treatment they deserve and order yours from our online shop today!