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What Causes Tooth Pockets?

Posted on 6/15/2024 by Everett Office
A 3D rendering of gums with pockets due to gum disease
Periodontal pockets are gaps around the teeth below the gum line. They can collect harmful bacteria that cause infections. These pockets are a sign of gum disease, a severe oral infection. With proper oral care or dental treatment, periodontal pockets can be treated and even reversed. However, if left untreated, they can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Understanding Tooth Pockets

Typically, teeth are securely held in place by the gums and bone in their sockets. However, when gum disease develops, the tissues can erode, leading to small gaps called pockets forming around the teeth. These pockets can trap bacteria, potentially causing harm to the bone supporting the teeth.

Periodontal pockets are measured in millimeters, with one millimeter being approximately the width of a credit card. It is important to note that not all pockets pose an immediate threat to oral health.

Causes of Tooth Pockets

Failing to brush and floss your teeth regularly, at least twice a day, significantly raises the likelihood of developing periodontal disease. This risk is further heightened if you consume a diet high in sugar, as sugary foods and drinks can speed up tooth decay and contribute to gingivitis.

Several other factors can also increase the risk of periodontal disease. These include habits like smoking cigarettes, vaping, or chewing tobacco, as well as taking medications that cause dry mouth. Additionally, hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause, insulin resistance related to obesity or being overweight, and high levels of stress can all play a role in elevating the risk of developing periodontal disease.

Prevention of Tooth Pockets

Preventing these pockets can include things such as professional cleaning of your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth helps to eradicate harmful bacteria that may be trapped in your mouth. Scaling and root planning also help to eliminate plaque and bacteria in your teeth. The treatment required to reduce the size of periodontal pockets depends on factors such as pocket size, gum health, and bone condition. Treatment options vary from professional cleanings to more advanced surgical procedures. Failure to address periodontal pockets can lead to severe infections and potential loss of teeth or bone.

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Everett, WA 98208-5147

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