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What is Pyorrhea?

If you were born in the thirties and forties, you know this word, which rhymes with “diarrhea”. There are, however, no similarities beyond this point. Pyorrhea was a disease that made your gums red and swollen, then caused your teeth to loosen. Bad breath was common, as was pus around the teeth. When enough damage was done, the remaining teeth would be removed. Then people would wear dentures for the rest of their lives, or their gums became their chewing mechanism.

Habits and heredity play a role in whether you’ll get pyorrhea, now called “periodontal disease” or “periodontitis”. Often, I hear patients call it “gum disease”, which is simpler than all of the aforementioned. Many products claim to control or reverse gum disease, but always usually fall short. The real cure is keeping your teeth clean twice daily and seeing our hygienist for regular cleanings.

The Risks of Developing Periodontitis

There are several factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing periodontitis. These include heredity, hormonal changes, diabetes, poor fitting partial dentures, excessive or prolonged tobacco use (including smokeless), and poor oral hygiene. Just because you brush your teeth for thirty seconds each day and use mouthwash, it doesn’t mean that you take adequate care to avoid periodontitis. It requires you to carefully brush each tooth to get the bristles further between the teeth, and the dental floss in the areas where the toothbrush won’t fit, at a minimum.

Periodontitis is not inevitable, it is actually preventable. That is the best path to follow if you want to minimize your risk of strokes, heart attacks, and eating peanut butter rather than beef in your later years.

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out if your bad breath is related to periodontitis.