Gum Pockets Treatment At Home

Gum Pockets Treatment At Home

If you’ve recently been told that you have periodontal or gum pockets by your dentist you might be wondering what you can do about this at home

Or maybe you’ve noticed that your teeth are a bit more loose than normal and on closer inspection, you’ve noticed that you have red, swollen and inflamed gums. They also look a bit puffy and you have gaps between your teeth and the gums.  If this sounds familiar you might be wondering why this has happened. 

The gum pockets or spaces between your gums and teeth are a sign of periodontal or gum disease. Your gums are not as healthy as they could be. 

Whilst it can be concerning and upsetting to realise you have a problem with your oral health, it isn’t the end of the world, as the disease can be stopped in its tracks. By developing good oral hygiene, ensuring that the interdental spaces are cleaned and most importantly, you clean into the pockets you can focus on keeping the gums healthy and making a start on treating the gum pockets at home

Find out the best way to clean the gum pocket spaces and develop first-class oral hygiene at home here.

The goal of this post is to explain what gum pockets are and what caused them, in order to detail how to treat the gum pockets at home.   We’ve also included some information on how a dental clinic would diagnose and treat gum disease. 

How Do You Know You Have Gum Pockets

Whilst the only way to know for sure if you have unhealthy gums is to visit the dental clinic, if you have the following symptoms there’s a high probability that you have gum pockets. 

Symptoms of Gum Pockets

  • Red, swollen and inflamed gums that may bleed on brushing
  • Receding gum line
  • Wobbly/ loose teeth
  • Halitosis in combination with the above

What Causes Gum Pockets?

Bacteria is always the ultimate trigger of gum pocket development.  Let us explain why.

Over 500 types of bacteria live in the mouth. Daily brushing of the teeth and interdental cleaning removes this bacteria from along the gum line.

The bacteria live in a sticky film that dentists refer to as a ‘biofilm’. This is difficult to remove without manually brushing it away twice daily. When it isn’t removed it builds up and we know it as plaque.

The bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums causing the signs and symptoms of gingivitis, and early gum disease. If we ignore (or did not notice) the signs and fail to remove the plaque, it builds up further, some of it becomes hardened and we call it tartar or calculus. 

The calculus is a great surface for more bacteria to stick to. It’s also really hard to remove at home and stops the gums from laying flat against the teeth, so bacteria can get down the back of the gums. 

The irritated gums begin to peel away from the teeth and pockets develop. This is called periodontitis or periodontal disease. There are different stages of periodontitis depending on how deep the gum pockets are, and some people are more susceptible to more aggressive forms of the condition than others.

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The Consequence of Untreated Gum Pockets

Failure to treat periodontitis in its early stages enables bacteria to get into the gum pockets and start to infiltrate the soft tissues. The pockets get bigger, the gaps get bigger meaning more bacteria can get behind the gum tissue. 

Not only is it difficult to clean the bacteria from the pockets, meaning that the periodontitis just keeps getting worse but our immune system springs into action in an attempt to get rid of the bacteria. The immune cells accidentally damage and destroy the alveolar bone around the teeth.   

As the bone is destroyed the level of bone around the teeth decreases and the gums shrink back meaning that there’s less tissue to hold the teeth in place. 

Imagine a tree root surrounded by soil, as the ground is eroded away, there’s less soil to hold the tree in place and the tree falls over. This is essentially what happens to your tooth, it falls out. 

Risk Factors for Gum Pockets

As we mentioned above, poor oral hygiene is the major cause, however, there are a few things that increase your risk of developing these gum pockets.

  • Consuming sugary drinks and food frequently throughout the day
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Eating foods and drinks that put you at risk of a dry mouth – eg caffeine 
  • Hormonal changes (pregnancy, puberty, menopause)
  • Poor diet 
  • Stress
  • Genetics

How Are Periodontal Pockets Diagnosed?

A dentist will be able to tell when they look at your gums if you have gum pockets but to confirm their presence and determine the severity they will use measures to find out their depth.

At the dental clinic, the dentist or hygienist will measure the depth and size of the gap between your gums and teeth in millimeters (mm). You might hear them shouting out the numbers.

Measurements of 1-3mm are considered normal healthy pockets.

If the depth measured is 4mm or greater you probably have gingivitis or periodontitis and professional gum health treatment may be required.

One question we often get asked is, are these measurements are accurate.

Professional Treatments For Periodontal Disease

If your pockets are measured at less than 5mm a professional gum health detox may be all that is needed. The hygienist will clean under the gum line to remove plaque and tartar. With good Oral Hygiene at home, the pocket depth should reduce to less than 3mm. Even with gum pockets treatment at home alone, you’ll probably see a vast improvement of your periodontal health.

However, if your gum pockets are measured at greater than 5mm you may need more advanced gum health treatment such as pocket reduction surgery procedure in order to remove plaque and bacteria from the roots.

If there has been severe destruction to the alveolar bone or gum recession it might be necessary for gum or bone grafts to be carried out.   

For any of these procedures to be effective, it’s essential that you maintain good oral hygiene. Professional treatment will be ineffective if you do not adequately clean your pockets from home.

How to Treat Gum Pockets at Home

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The aim of the treatment is to shrink the gum pockets, so the gum becomes tight, firm and pink and it adheres to the teeth. It ensures that bacteria and food debris cannot get below the gum line. The bacteria cannot damage the bone and soft tissues that secure the teeth in place. 

The best way to for gum pockets treatment at home is to develop and maintain good oral hygiene. This removes bacteria each day, preventing bacterial build-up, plaque and tartar. 

When all plaque and bacteria are removed, the bacteria can no longer irritate the gums and the destruction of alveolar bone will stop. 

Gum pockets will shrink and the risk of your teeth becoming wobbly and falling out is reduced.  

For gum pockets treatment at home, there are a few things you can do:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with a small, soft toothbrush
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Carefully clean the interdental spaces with a single tufted toothbrush, floss, interdental brushes or water flossers

And most importantly, clean down into the pockets

For this you need a Gum Pocket Brush. The bristles are specially designed at a 45 degree angle to allow cleaning into the pockets. This will remove the plaque and debris and allow your gum to stick back onto your tooth, reducing the pockets and reversing the effects of gum disease.

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Want to Reverse Gum Disease and Help With Gum Pockets Treatment At Home?

If you want help learning the technique behind gum pockets treatment at home, the expert dentists behind this the Gum Pocket Brush are able to offer further help and advice which will help you clean the interdental spaces and under the gumline helping you achieve healthy gums. It’s the perfect way to treat your gum pockets at home.

Gareth Edwards image

Written by Gareth Edwards

Co-Founder & GDG Dentist

Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS (RCPS Glasgow) is GDG Co-Founder and Gum Disease Expert.

He is a practicing dentist based in Bournemouth, UK and has treated thousands of patients with gum-related diseases.

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