Image of jeans pocket close Up

How Pocket Lint Creates Bleeding Gums
courtesy wikipedia and Craig Sommer DDS

Pocket Lint Can Be The Death Of You

Ever thrust your hand into your pocket to pull out a ringing phone and it hurt? Ouch! What the heck was that? In spite of your slower, cautious second effort you are stung again, this time with a bleeding finger to show for it. Never? You are fortunate you’ve never broken your glass screen.

Since this morning, after getting dressed, I recall putting my keys in my right hand pocket and eye drops and my cell phone in my left. Keys out at the car and back into my pocket again at work. While getting into my car I noticed a business card I’ll need later and into my shirt pocket it goes. That’s three pockets so far.  At work keys go back into my pocket in the parking garage and out again as I enter my office. Inside my office the keys go into my desk drawer and the cell phone goes next to my office phone.

All of that in and out generates lint. Bits ands pieces of pocket fabric, and anything stuck on your keys or hand. Paper from the business card etc. You know the drill.

Got Lint In Your Pockets

Lint is always found in pockets. Whether it’s a shirt or blouse, pants or an old jacket. Brand new pockets have less lint but older pockets can have considerably more. I’ve been known to leave a facial tissue in a pocket before, only to discover the mess it creates in the clothes dryer and inside the pocket. It takes forever to clean up afterward. I have done it more than once.

I’ve found old receipts and airline tickets, parking stubs, and the occasional surprise of cash all washed and nicely dried, minus a little lint clinging to the inside of the pocket. Sometimes it can be quite fun exploring what’s in your old pockets.

It’s Like An Archeological Dig

It is almost like an archeological dig. One find leads to another and soon you are off to the races of discovery. Venturing where no man has gone before. Or very few at least. Maybe you’ll discover a new fossilized dinosaur species. Probably not.

The usual discovery is indeterminate fuzz or lint. Unrecognizable accumulations of debris.

No Signs Of Life-Usually

I have never discovered signs of life searching through any of my pockets to date, but I know it’s possible for something to wriggle into a pocket and set up a comfortable home. Sounds creepy.

Moral of the story: Don’t leave stuff in your pockets.

Earlier I alluded to the risk involved in the pocket search for the vestiges of day to day life and never knowing exactly what you’ll find.

Now, previous stung by your attempts to extract your cell phone, you work it up from the outside of your pocket. Pushing it up gently, not letting that happen again. As it peaks above the edge you see the problem. The shattered screen has a few glass fragments missing. Glass lint in my pocket. Infrequent, but it happens.

It’s Not Glass That Causes Bleeding In Dental Pockets

Let’s shift from the familiar pockets to the dental variety. From a dentists viewpoint the “lint” considerations still apply. Here we are talking about little crevices around teeth and the turtle-neck-sweater of gums around each tooth.

These pockets reside inside the turtle-neck, next to the tooth and also accumulate their own kind of “lint”. I occasionally find recognizable bits of debris too, such as spinach, apple skin, popcorn hulls, plastic remnants  from cleaning aids, chewing tobacco and hair.

I also see an indeterminate fuzz or lint in gum pockets as well. It too is mostly unrecognizable accumulations and debris, until you look at it under a microscope. Then it comes to life.

Everything Is Wriggling and Squirming

On a microscopic level everything in the fuzz is moving and squirming and wriggling. Some wriggling creatures are relatively harmless and others, destructive, leading often to severe medical conditions.

Regular tooth brushing and flossing has the potential to remove much of the “living-lint.” Adding a water squirter device, or irrigator will chase out even more. It’s like a pressure washer for the mouth.

Pockets With “Living Lint”-Not Good

If the destructive “living-lint” critters (bacteria) are allowed to accumulate, they start killing gum tissue. This leads to dying flesh odors, bleeding gums and worse. They create an open door for the bacteria to invade the rest of your body using your gums as the entry point. Incredible but true.

So, whenever you put you hand in your pockets think about when the last time was that the pockets around your teeth were checked for “living-lint” by a holistic dentist. He can give you a status update on the health of your gums, and it’s influence on the health of your body. It could add years to your life.

To help find a holistic or biological dentist in your area go to