Sufferin’ Sulcus- How Does Gum Disease Form, and What Is It?


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It would be easy to go into a long clinical description explaining gum disease and oral bacterial growth, but that would put you to sleep faster than a freshman accounting class

This is what you really need to know about brushing

Where you see the gum line next to your tooth is NOT where the gums attach to the tooth. The gums actually attach to the tooth about 3mm below the gum line. This difference creates what is clinically known as the sulcus, or in laymen’s terms, the gum pocket. No worries, it is supposed to be there and is part of the normal architecture of your mouth. The problem is that this small pocket collects bacteria and serves as the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth. It’s why we want you to brush 45 degrees into the gum line.

The true objective of brushing is to clean out the sulcus

So you decided to start taking care of yourself and opted for the low calorie lunch option with a mineral water, but guess what? Bacteria is still going to find its way into the sulcus and do what it does best…multiply.  48 hours later these bacteria will have multiplied to such an extent that the body’s immune system will identify the bacteria and say, “Hey that some toxic stuff there, I better do something”.  Since your body is not equipped with a built-in toothbrush to mechanically remove the bacteria (your job), it will do the next best thing… increase the blood flow to that area. This is why gums bleed and swell with gum disease. Bloody swollen gums are an indicator of bacterial growth and the war the body is fighting to remove these bacteria. This increased blood flow has specialized cells that act like small soldiers and fight off the bacteria. Have you ever seen somebody that has a red halo right on the gum line? Well that’s a sure sign of gum disease.

Every time you eat, these bacteria are replenished

If you don’t clean out the sulcus often this leads to what we call in the buisness as ‘chronic inflimation’. Something has to give. Have you ever seen a football field after two rival teams go head to head for 4 quarters? The turf has been utterly destroyed and usually requires some high dollar maintenance. Well in this case the football field is your gums. This constant battle between the bacteria and your body’s immune system will weaken the gums so much that they will start to detach from the tooth and break down on a cellular level. This is when gingivitis turns into periodontitis.

With Periodontal disease, the bacteria are starting to smell victory. Remember the gums are detaching from the tooth which increases the depth of the pocket and allows even more bacteria to enter the sulcus. The normal 3mm pocket is now 5mm or more, due to the game going into double overtime.

But wait, it gets worse

5mm below the gum line is where the bone that holds the teeth in your head begins. So now to put it into perspective, there is nothing in-between that low carb option that feeds the bacteria and your bone. So, the war continues except now in addition to the gums breaking down, the war has moved onto the hard court of your bone.

Gum disease is progressive in that as the disease gets worse, it also speeds up. The structural damage being caused is also helping to accumulate more of the bacteria.

Bottom line: you need to help

The way you brush, and the technique you use while brushing, will determine if you get gum disease or not, and it won’t matter if you brush 5 times a day with the latest $200  brush. If you are not actively TRYING to clean out the gum pocket…your chances of getting gum disease increase dramatically.

Also worth mentioning is that as gum disease forms, your risk for the associated systemic diseases goes up.

Brushing technique is everything, and it why we created the MD Brush. We are trying to change the behavior of brushing, what you are thinking while brushing, and how you are using your arm. Start brushing with precision today; learn about the MD Brush and the BASS brushing technique.

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