Here is an interesting ailment, interesting because people suffer from it and don't even know about it until it is too painful and one has to undergo treatment for pyorrhea or periodontitis. In a survey published by the National Library of medicine with about a lac people in India, it was found that more than half of the participants suffered from some form of periodontitis. While the incidence at the national level may vary, the survey only indicates how common the prevalence is.
What is periodontitis or pyorrhea?
It is a progressive disease that starts with simple plaque formation. Plaque is a thin layer or film that forms on the teeth and houses bacteria. Over time, with the release of acids and the layer of plaque converts to tartar, a hard covering over the teeth. This is the onset of periodontitis and what comes next is the first out of the four stages of periodontitis.
2. Early or initial periodontitis
In this stage the tissues connecting the bones and the teeth gets affected and the gums start to recede. This creates pockets to house bacteria further accelerating the ailment. This stage is where bone loss also begins, although it is very little (less than 10%)
3. Moderate or mild periodontitis
In this stage, the teeth begin to become loose owing to loss of bone support. This stage shows a 20 to 50% bone loss. There may also be some inflammatory response throughout body at this stage.
4. Advanced or progressive periodontitisIn this stage, most of the tissues between the bones and teeth are destroyed and one is likely to start losing teeth. The bone loss also is to the extent of 50-85%. Also, this stage is characterised by pain even while chewing, bad breath and a continuous foul taste in the mouth.
What causes pyorrhea / periodontitis?
A disease that ranges from bad breath to losing teeth starts because of as simple a thing as poor oral hygiene. When one doesn't brush and floss the teeth properly or doesn't brush in hard to reach places, following things happen:
- The bacteria growth builds up in the mouth to form the plaque
- The deposit of minerals and release of acids by the bacteria causes the plaque to become tartar
- This further makes it difficult to clean the bacteria and makes them grow faster
- Gum inflammation is the body's response to the bacterial growth
- This is the beginning of gingivitis and then the further stages of periodontitis
Who is more likely to be affected by periodontitis?
Periodontitis affects people of all age groups. In certain cases, the chances of periodontitis are higher than other. They are:
- Smoking - this is one of the biggest risk factor for periodontitis
- Conditions that affect the immune system of the body like HIV or leukaemia
- Hormonal changes in women that make the gums more sensitive; typically pregnancy, menstruation or menopause.
- Poor nutrition and lack of vitamin C
- Medications such as antihypertensive drugs or vasodilating agents—which relax and dilate the blood vessels—immunotherapy drugs, and medications that reduce saliva can all increase the chance of this gum disease
While there has been a lot of overlap between periodontitis and heart diseases and respiratory diseases, which one causes the other is to be established. Either way, one would want to stay from periodontitis.
What is the prevention and treatment for pyorrhea / periodontitis? Can pyorrhea be cured?
Prevention of pyorrhea is simple - good oral care (brushing teeth twice a day correctly or after a meal with lot of sugar and flossing) and regular check up with the dentists. If the oral care is maintained, there is little to no chance of the bacteria multiplying and hence the chances of suffering from pyorrhea are slim.
If one suffers from pyorrhea though, depending on the stage of detection, the cure can range from change in brushing techniques to surgery.
- As far as stage 1 or before, the disease can be cured by brushing properly, flossing and use of medicated mouthwashes as prescribed by the dentists. It is advised to get professional cleaning and checkup done at least once in six months
- Antibiotics or gels or specialised tooth pastes that can be recommended by the dentists for stage 1,2 and early parts of stage 3.
- Surgery - Flap surgery is common if the disease crosses stage 3. In this surgery, the gums are "lifted away" and the bacteria is cleaned before suturing the gums back in place under the influence of local anaesthesia. Bone grafting may also be required depending on the loss of bone.
Is there an ayurvedic treatment for pyorrhea?
Many herbs in ayurveda are known to help with the dental health thereby preventing periodontitis. "Datoon" has been used since ancient times, which is essentially bark and twigs of medicinal plants, to clean the mouth for oral hygiene. The Good Herbs also has worked with some of these herbs and provides an ayurvedic dant manjan for oral health care, Good 4 Teeth.
Without any artificial flavours, this product tastes of the raw herbs. There has been a lot of recent "education" on tooth pastes that are minty are good. They also provide a burst of freshness. While they may provide freshness, they might increase the growth of bacteria owing to lowering of temperatures in the mouth.
If one still insists on having the "fresh" toothpaste in the morning, we suggest using Good 4 Teeth at night, before going to bed to inhibit the growth of bacteria thereby maintaining the required oral hygiene.
If you would like to read more some other ailments related to the gut like Constipation, GERD, Bloating, Bile reflux or Irritable Bowel Syndrome / IBS, or oral care concerns like bad breath or Gingivitis, or some chronic ailments like Tuberculosis, Asthma, Arthritis, Frozen shoulder, Anaemia, Bronchitis, muscle dystrophy, or filtration organ ailments like Urinary Tract Infection or UTIs and Kidney Stones, or ailments for sexual wellness like Erectile dysfunction or ED, Oligospermia, please click on the relevant ailment to know more.