Tour of Your Mouth
Your teeth sit in pockets in your gums. The roots of your teeth are safely imbedded in bone and the exposed top portions of your teeth are protected by a hard coating of enamel. The mid portion of a tooth, that portion, which occupies a pocket in the gum, is relatively unprotected and most vulnerable to the many dangers lurking in the oral environment.
In a healthy mouth pockets are very shallow, only 3 millimeters in depth, and relatively easy to keep clean. In the pocket region, gum tissue hugs tightly to the tooth but is not attached to it. Below the pocket area, tooth and gum are attached, but that attachment can be disrupted by bacterial invasions associated with poor oral hygiene. Such a reduction in the extent of gum-tooth attachment can result in deeper pockets and better hiding places in which bacteria can set up housekeeping, can cause inflamed and bleeding gums, and ultimately can require painful and expensive attention of a periodontist. Keeping pockets clean is a most important responsibility.
Mother Nature has provided a mechanism for cleansing healthy pockets of contaminating materials coming from the mouth. Secretions originating at the bottom of pockets constantly flow outward, rinsing contaminants from pockets back into the mouth. The pocket flushing system can fail when pockets become obstructed by bacterial colonies, food particles, etc.
The problems which may arise from badly infected gums can be far reaching. That is because healthy gum tissues are the only barrier between the mouth and the extensive network of blood vessels found in the gums. Bacteria can move from severely infected gums into the circulatory system and from there throughout the body. Such a scenario is believed to be the cause of some types of heart problems.