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Taking care of your teeth is important for your overall well-being. Many common dental problems can be prevented by brushing and flossing every day, as well as annual visits to the dentist. One of the most crucial parts of dental hygiene is gum care. The importance of healthy gums cannot be understated when discussing oral hygiene. When you stop caring about your oral hygiene, bacteria can fester and build within your gums. 

This can lead to serious problems like gum pockets.

What are Gum Pockets?

Gum pockets are spaces between the gums and the teeth. Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth without any gaps. Pockets occur when the supporting tissue and bone structure in your mouth are destroyed by periodontal disease. The gums will begin to pull away from the teeth, leaving space that’s difficult to clean. Without regular cleaning, these areas become infected.

What Causes Gum Pockets?

A few main factors contribute to getting periodontal pockets. When you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, plaque and tartar build-up and cause gum disease. Poor oral hygiene allows the bacteria to sit in your mouth and cause infection. The infection then releases toxins which cause the immune system to respond and inflammation to occur.

Once the bacteria get into the pockets, it continues to dig deeper until it penetrates into the gums and deep within the jawbone. This worsens periodontal disease and can even result in tooth loss. 

Other Risk Factors

Gum pockets make periodontal disease worse because they allow bacteria in. Other than poor dental hygiene, some other factors may cause gum pockets:

  • Old Age – According to the CDC, about 68% of elderly people (those aged 65 or older) currently experience some form of gum disease. 2 Older people may have increased risk depending on access to dental insurance, socioeconomic status, and any other ailments or disabilities.
  • Tobacco use – Smoking has adverse effects across the entire body. One of which is weakening the immune system, putting you at a higher risk for gum pockets. According to the CDC, Tobacco users have twice the risk of gum disease compared to non-smokers.3
  • Crooked teeth – Crooked teeth can be challenging to clean, causing bacteria to grow and inflammation. If your teeth are positioned in a way that makes them hard to clean, make sure that you have an effective tooth flosser to prevent bacteria from growing. 
  • Genetics – Some gum disease is inherited. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, especially aggressive periodontitis, you are at a higher risk for gum problems.

Symptoms

Healthy gum tissue is firm and pink. The earliest warning signs of periodontal disease and gum pockets are:

  • Red and inflamed gums 
  • Bleeding that happens easily, even when brushing and flossing
  • Dental pain, especially between the teeth
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding Gums 
  • Loose teeth 

Many people assume that their dental hygienist causes bleeding in the mouth from abrasive cleaning techniques, but this is a sign of gum inflammation. When the dentist removes infection-causing bacteria, it is like removing something lodged in your skin. The bleeding is actually a good sign because it means the foreign object was removed.

How to Reduce Gum Pockets Naturally

As gum pockets grow in size, the bacteria go deeper into the gums, which can create severe dental problems. The bacteria can cause an infection deep below the gum line; in which case it must be treated by a dental professional. Here are a few steps to take if you want to know how to reduce gum pockets naturally:

How to Clean Gum Pockets at Home

The best preventative measure that you can take when it comes to gum disease is brushing and flossing regularly. Consider your daily routine. If you are one of the many people who don’t include flossing in their morning and evening rituals, prevent serious dental problems by finding a flossing tool that you will use. 

One alternative option is a water flosser. They often do a better job than traditional string flossers because they clean a higher surface area. One downside of a water flosser is that they get messy and take up counter space, so in-shower water flossers like the ToothShower can be a great alternative. The ToothShower is a convenient option because it hooks onto the shower wall and runs on the same water.

Professional Cleaning

It is also critical to get a thorough cleaning at least once per year. Your dental hygienist will remove layers of plaque and tartar that haven’t been taken care of by your oral hygiene routine. Also, they will be able to diagnose if there is an infection that indicates periodontal disease.

Medication

If you suffer from gum pockets that cannot be treated by good oral hygiene and professional cleaning, your dentist may prescribe medication like antibiotic gel. An antibiotic gel prescribed for pockets contains doxycycline. This helps to shrink gum pockets and control the growth of bacteria. These are typically placed directly in the gum pockets after a scaling and planing procedure.

Preventing Gum Pockets

Knowing both what are gum pockets and what causes gum pockets is the first step of prevention. Remember that gum pockets are a sign of worsening gum health, and it’s best to treat any issues as early as possible. This can be done with a combination of consistent oral hygiene and a regular checkup once per year.

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