Pyorrhea, more commonly understood as “gum disease,”is the single,
most important cause of tooth loss in man!

Infact,more people wear dentures because of the ravages of this
affliction than for all other reasons combined.

Nine out of ten adults will develope some degree of gum disease at
some time in their lives. Gum disease is the most common dental
problem that exists in the adult population today.

Pyorrhea developes slowly and painlessly and quite often, no
previous symptoms will appear until the disease is well advanced
and the loss of one or more teeth is prevalent.

The tragedy here is that many of these teeth were once sound,
healthy and free of cavities.

The term “Pyorrhea”….literally means the presence of pus. It has
become an obsolete term and is now more accurately referred too as
periodontal disease of the tissue and supporting structures of the
teeth.

In the more advanced stages of Pyorrhea,the gums may appear red,spongy,
shiny, bleeding ,festering and oozing with pus!

Gum disease (Pyorrhea) is also one of the most prevalent causes
of “bad breath” (Halitosis)…… for obvious reasons!

A chronic, annoying discomfort will usually accompany periodontal
disease as it runs it’s course. Overall, the mouth will feel
uncomfortable. Bleeding of the gums upon brushing will be evident
and the teeth may feel weak and tender to chew on.

If untreated in the early stages, Pyorrhea will eventually
weaken and destroy the periodontal ligaments that attach the roots
of the teeth to the jaw bone,the surrounding gum tissue and
ultimately the alveolar bone that supports the teeth.

As one might expect, this progressive destruction of the perio
dontal (around the tooth)ligaments, and bone loss eventually
causes the teeth to become loose.

Periodontal disease is still probably the worlds most widespread
disease among people over the age of thiry-five !

Many people today still believe that Pyorrhea is a contagious
disease, inherited and incurable….. All of these beliefs are
absolutely……..”FALSE.”

Likely, the foremost cause of periodontal disease is neglect
of good, daily oral hygiene. This permits a build-up of “dental
plaque” around and between the necks of the teeth.

This plaque left around the teeth, evetually gets hard and is then
called ” calculus.” As the calculus is allowed to accumulate and
build-up, it makes its way towards the gum area and eventually down
the root surfaces of the teeth involved.

This hard calculus not only supplies mechanical pressure on the gum
tissue but also supplies both bacterial and chemical irritants that
cause the alvolar bone to resorb and retreat.

Pyorrhea in the early stages is called “Gingivitis.” The gum tissue
may appear to be red and as it progresses, it will appear to be puffy
and swollen. You will probably notice traces of blood on your tooth
brush after brushing your teeth….. you more than likely will not feel
any discomfort at this level.

Over time, the infection destroys the gum tissue that is attached to
the tooth. This is called ” Gingival Attachment Loss .” Although you
may notice swelling, bleeding and color changes of the gum tissue,the
REAL damage is not visible to the naked eye!

Eventually, so much bone loss has taken place that the teeth become
lose and are in danger of falling out, making chewing very difficult.
At this stage of the disease, ……The Damage has become IRREPARABLE!

This is the reason why dentists and hygienists will recommend
that brushing and flossing is absolutely essential to maintaining
and preventing that dreaded gum disease and eventual premature
tooth loss.

Just think about this for a minute. Pyorrhea and premature tooth
loss is totally PREVENTABLE! All it takes is a soft tooth brush,
some dental floss and a few minutes each and every day!

How good is that ? Just think of the money and grief you could save
yourself by having good oral hygiene habits!
………………..Best of all…its FREE!

There are other causes that can contribute to periodontal disease
and I will continue to discuss them in my next weekly blog .

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