In a healthy mouth, the gums snugly fit around each tooth. The distance between the gum line and its attachment point to the tooth being around three millimeters. People with gum disease have periodontal pockets, deeper spaces around the teeth. If this condition isn’t treated, these pockets can cause tooth loss. However, you can keep your teeth for a lifetime with early diagnosis and treatment.
How does a periodontal pocket form?
Your mouth is full of bacteria, which are constantly trying to form a sticky film of plaque on your teeth, particularly near the gum line. When this plaque isn’t removed, it will harden into tartar over time. Regular brushing can’t remove tartar, only professional deep teeth cleaning at your dentist’s office can do the job. If you don’t get this tartar removed, it can lead to inflammation in your gum tissue, causing a condition known as gingivitis.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the swelling and inflammation from tartar can lead to pockets forming between the gums and teeth. Once the gums pull away from the teeth, it opens up more room for plaque and tartar to grow. This will make those pockets even bigger, threatening the bone around your teeth.
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
There are certain warning signs that can signify a problem with your gums. The symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, red and swollen gums, and gums that have pulled away from the teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your dentist right away.
How to Eliminate These Pockets
The first step in the treatment of gum pockets is to get your teeth professionally cleaned. This process is also sometimes called scaling and root planing. When you remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and under the gums, you will allow the gums to heal tighten back around the teeth. If you do this procedure early before any bone loss occurs, this may be the only treatment needed.
But for those with very deep periodontal pockets, surgical treatment may be recommended by your dentist to treat your periodontal condition. After getting surgical periodontal treatment, you will need to visit your dentist more frequently for your deep teeth cleanings.
Home Care for Prevention
Periodontal disease is the easiest oral condition to prevent. By regularly visiting your dentist for teeth cleanings and following proper oral hygiene practices at home, you will never have to worry about periodontal pockets. Here’s how you can keep your gum pockets in check.
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure to gently brush around the gumline where plaque usually gathers.
- Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every couple of months or whenever the bristles start to wear down. Consider using a special tartar-control toothpaste if your tartar builds up quickly.
- To prevent gum disease, it’s just as important to floss once a day as it is to brush your teeth. Make sure you use the proper flossing techniques.
It’s important to note that if you diagnose and treat your periodontal disease at an early stage, you will avoid severe gum disease and bone loss. So make sure to always pay attention to your oral health to avoid any problems from progressing.