When it comes to oral health, it’s not just your teeth that matter, but your gums as well. Gum pockets, the spaces that form between the teeth and gums, can be a significant issue, often leading to tooth loss if not addressed. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help shrink gum pockets and keep your mouth healthy. In this blog post, We’ll discuss the potential causes and how to shrink gum pockets.
What are Gum Pockets?
Gum pockets, or periodontal pockets, are spaces that form between the teeth and gums. They are a sign of periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease characterized by the destruction of the gums and supporting structures of teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth, but when periodontitis develops, the gums pull away from the teeth creating a gap between the tooth and gum. A pocket depth of 3 millimeters or less is considered normal, but anything deeper than that is an indication of periodontitis. The earlier gum pockets are detected, the easier they are to shrink.
Causes and Risk Factors
The main cause of gum pockets is poor oral hygiene. Bacteria in the mouth form a sticky film known as plaque, which can accumulate on teeth and gums if it is not removed by brushing and flossing regularly. The bacteria in plaque feed on sugary foods, producing acids that eat away at the enamel and irritate the gums.
Over time, the gums become inflamed and can pull away from the teeth, creating pockets of 4 millimeters or more in-depth.
Other factors that can contribute to gum pockets include:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Certain medications that decrease saliva production
- Some medical conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Why I Need To Shrink Gum Pockets?
Gum pockets are a sign of periodontitis, if left untreated, can lead to:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding and tenderness
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Pus discharge and bad taste in the mouth
- Shifting teeth and loose teeth
- Aesthetic changes in the shape of your smile
The deeper the pockets, the worse the damage to your teeth and gums will be, so it’s important to shrink them as soon as possible. The good news is that with proper treatment and diligent oral hygiene, you can shrink gum pockets.
Home Remedies to Shrink Gum Pockets
The best way to shrink gum pockets is to visit a dental professional for an evaluation and treatment plan. In the meantime, there are steps you can take at home that may help reduce the depth of your pockets:
- Brush and floss regularly, especially after every meal.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to avoid further irritating the gums.
- Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing and flossing to help reduce plaque build-up.
- Saltwater rinses can reduce inflammation and improve healing. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a warm cup of water and rinse your mouth with the mixture for 30 seconds, then spit it out.
- Eat a diet high in vitamins and minerals to help support your body’s healing process.
- Quit smoking or using other tobacco products to give your gums a chance to heal.
- Natural remedies like oil pulling using coconut oil or clove oil may also help reduce inflammation and improve healing. The research on oil pulling is currently limited, leading to ongoing debate regarding its true benefits.
- Chew sugarless gum to increase saliva production
Home remedies can’t cure gum pockets, however, they may provide some temporary relief from symptoms. Also, they can be used in conjunction with professional treatment to shrink gum pockets and reduce the risk of further damage.
Treatment Options To Shrink Gum Pockets
The treatment depends on the severity of your gum disease and pockets, and your dentist will create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs. Common treatments for gum pockets may include:
- Professional teeth cleaning: A professional cleaning done by a dentist or oral hygienist can help remove plaque and tartar build-up that brushing and flossing cannot. During the procedure, the dentist uses a scaler for tartar breaking off teeth.
- Scaling and Root Planing: A deep cleaning procedure used to remove plaque and tartar from beneath the gums. It helps reduce inflammation and encourages healing. Some people may experience discomfort or pain after deep cleaning of teeth.
- Antibiotics: May be prescribed to fight off bacterial infection and reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: In severe cases where gum pockets are too deep to be treated with conservative methods, your dentist may recommend surgery, such as pocket reduction surgery, to remove the affected tissue and restore health to your gums.
Professional treatment can shrink gum pockets in conjunction with improving oral hygiene habits.
Prevention and Home Care
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum pockets. Here are some tips for proper home care:
- Brush twice daily with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss regularly using an appropriate flossing tool.
- Use an antiseptic or fluoride rinse if recommended by your dentist.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Have regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings every six months or as recommended by your dentist.
How to Shrink Gum Pockets – Conclusion
Gum pockets, known as periodontal pockets, are a common sign of gum disease. If left untreated the infection can spread to other areas of the mouth and cause further damage.
Home remedies like brushing and flossing regularly, salt water rinses, and oil pulling may help reduce inflammation and improve healing. However, these remedies are not a substitute for professional treatment.
The treatment depends on the severity of the condition, including scaling and root planing, antibiotics, and surgery in severe cases.
If you think you may have gum pockets, speak with your dentist right away. With proper treatment and regular home care, the condition can be managed to keep your gums healthy and prevent further damage.