Sinus drainage through gums

Seeing mucus, pus or liquid draining from your gums can be alarming. But when this discharge originates from your sinuses, it’s usually not a major cause for concern. Due to the close connection between your sinus cavities and upper teeth, it’s possible for sinus fluids to drain through the gums.

The sinuses and teeth share a complex network of nerves and pathways, allowing for the intermingling of fluids under certain conditions. When sinus cavities become congested or inflamed due to allergies, infections, or other factors, the natural drainage pathways may redirect sinus fluids.

Due to the intricate interconnection of these pathways, these fluids can find their way down through the gums, leading to the unexpected discharge. While this occurrence might cause concern, it usually indicates an underlying sinus issue rather than a severe dental problem.

However, it’s essential to pay attention to accompanying symptoms such as persistent pain, swelling, or foul odor. If these symptoms are present, consulting a healthcare provider or dentist is crucial for a comprehensive evaluation.

Understanding this sinus-gum connection underscores the complex interplay between different parts of the body, emphasizing the importance of holistic healthcare approaches.

Sinus drainage through gums

Anatomical Link between Sinuses and Gums

Your maxillary sinuses are located within the bones of your cheeks, positioned just above your upper molars and premolars. The floor of the sinuses lies directly adjacent to the roots of these upper back teeth.

Small openings in the sinus lining allow mucus to drain from the sinuses into the nasal cavity. But when congestion blocks this pathway, secretions can redirect down through the tooth roots and exit out through the gumline.

Signs of Sinus Draining into Mouth

Here are indicators that suggest the liquid coming from your gums is originating from congested sinuses rather than a dental infection:

  • Discharge is thin and watery – Resembles mucus more than pus which is thicker.
  • Color – Clear, white or yellow rather than green.
  • No gum pain, swelling or sensitivity
  • Symptoms improve with decongestants or nasal irrigation.
  • Congestion and facial pressure accompany drainage.
  • Upper back molars test normal to temperature with no decay.

Sinus rinse to clean the mouth from sinus drainage

Saline sinus rinses can help clear mucus and other irritants from the sinuses, preventing them from draining into the mouth and causing discomfort.

You can make a saline rinse at home by mixing non-iodized salt and baking soda in warm, distilled, or sterilized water. Use a neti pot, squeeze bottle, or nasal irrigation system to gently flush the saline solution through your nasal passages.

Here’s a simple recipe you can use:

Homemade Saline Nasal Rinse Solution


  • 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (such as kosher or sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of warm distilled or sterilized water
  • A sterile container (like a neti pot or squeeze bottle)


Prepare the Water:

  • Use distilled or sterilized water. It’s crucial to avoid using tap water, as it may contain impurities that can cause infections.
  • Warm the water to a lukewarm temperature. It should be comfortable to the touch but not too hot.

Mix the Solution

  • In the sterile container, combine 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Add the warm water to the container. Stir the mixture well until the salt and baking soda are completely dissolved.

Perform the Nasal Rinse

  • Stand over a sink or in the shower.
  • Tilt your head to the side over the sink at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Gently insert the nozzle of the neti pot or squeeze bottle into your upper nostril, creating a good seal.
  • Slowly pour the saline solution into the upper nostril, allowing it to flow out of the lower nostril. Breathe through your mouth while doing this.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Clean the Equipment

  • After using the saline rinse, clean the neti pot or squeeze bottle thoroughly with distilled or sterilized water. Let it air dry completely between uses.
  • Always follow the instructions provided with your specific nasal irrigation device, and if you experience any discomfort or worsening symptoms, consult a healthcare professional.

How often should I perform a saline nasal rinse?

The frequency of saline nasal rinses depends on your specific situation and the advice of your healthcare provider. However, a common recommendation is to perform nasal rinses once or twice a day. You may need to do it more times as needed especially if you’re dealing with sinus congestion, allergies, or respiratory issues.

Other Natural remedies for sinus drainage

There are several natural remedies that can help alleviate sinus drainage besides a saline rinse:

  • Steam Inhalation – Inhaling steam can help clear sinus passages. Add a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or tea tree oil to hot water and inhale the steam for relief.
  • Warm Compress – Applying a warm compress over your sinuses can help reduce inflammation and promote drainage.
  • Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Hydration thins mucus and can prevent it from becoming thick and congested.
  • Spicy Foods – Spicy foods like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which can help open nasal passages and promote drainage.
  • Humidifier – Using a humidifier in your room adds moisture to the air, preventing dryness in your nasal passages and promoting sinus drainage.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Some people find relief by mixing a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water and drinking it. The vinegar’s acidity can help break down mucus.
  • Elevate Your Head – Keeping your head elevated, especially while sleeping, can encourage sinus drainage.
  • Ginger Tea – Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking ginger tea can help reduce inflammation in the sinuses.
  • Avoid Irritants – Stay away from smoke, strong odors, and other irritants that can worsen sinus drainage.

Remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to find the remedies that work best for you. If sinus drainage persists or worsens, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

When to Seek Treatment

In most cases, sinus drainage through the gums is not a major health threat. But you should contact your dentist if you notice:

  • Thick or greenish discharge signaling infection
  • Persistent bad odor indicating a sinus or gum infection
  • Discomfort, bleeding, swelling or sensitivity in gums
  • Tooth pain in the upper molars, especially with temperature changes
  • No improvement after using decongestants and sinus rinses

Proper diagnosis and treatment prevents more serious complications like advancing dental infections.

Final note

Don’t panic if you notice mucus or liquid seeping from your gums around the upper back teeth. With the sinuses situated so closely to the maxillary teeth, it’s reasonably common for congestion to find an outlet through the gum tissue. Relieving the sinus pressure should resolve this benign issue. But see your dentist promptly with any concerns to rule out infection.


  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

  • Lilly

    Lilly, aka, Liza Lee, is a passionate community oral health officer and our lead writer. She's not only well-versed in performing a multitude of dental procedures, including preventive, restorative, and cosmetic, but also an avid writer. Driven by the significant oral health burden all around her, Lilly strives to build capacity and promote oral health. She envisions making a lasting impact by advancing research, prevention, and promotion efforts to alleviate oral health disparities. Please share your views and opinions on my posts.

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