Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 19:27:02 -0300
From: Paul Stewart <stewart.CYCOR.CA>
Subject: Re: Gum pocket
> I just found out I have a small gum pocket behind my last upper molar (Yuk!). The dentist said to clean the pocket daily with a pointy rubber tip (the kind you can buy in the drug store). When I asked if I could do anything else to help the healing process, he said Listerine couldn't hurt.
> Any advice on how to heal my pocket?
Here's the scoop from my dad, a dental surgeon for over 30 years. The pocket is staying flaccid because of a chronic low-grade infection of bacteria that don't need much oxygen (anaerobes) This probably smells like hell sometimes too!
To tighten up the elastic tissue in the gum, you need to take the inflammation down. Buy a water pik and irrigate the pocket with warm salt water (1 tbsp in 3-4 cups warm water), 2-3 times /day, especially before bed. In a week you should see lots of improvement. And, no matter how tempting, don't use picks or fingernails to dig the pocket clean. Secondary infection will be sure to result. If you can't afford a water pik, use a syringe (no needle!) or large eye-dropper. Rinsing vigorously for at least 1 minute will do it too. No offense to your DDS friend, but mouthwashes used excessively will reduce the "good" bacteria in the mouth and dehydrate the inflamed tissue, slowing healing and begging for more infection, since the natural bacterial flora of the mouth prevent decay - and disease - causing bacteria from spreading. Good luck, and tell me how it goes.