Pyorrhoea or periodontal disease to give it a proper medical term is a disease of the teeth socket. It is one of the most widely prevalent diseases these days. It affects the membrane surrounding the teeth-root, with loosening of the teeth, pus formation and shrinkage of the gum.
This disease is the primary cause for tooth loss among adults.
Pyorrhoea affects persons of all ages. About half the adult populations over the age of 18 suffer from early stages of this disease. Even children of 5 years or so may have signs of the disease. It progresses with increasing age. Unless treated properly, it may lead to loss of supporting bone of teeth and ultimately to tooth loss.
The gum become tender and on pressing pus oozes out along the margin of teeth. Pus from the cavities continually finds its way into the stomach. When the disease is far advanced the gum become swollen and the stomach, being dosed with increasing quantities of pus, does not function properly. Sepsis may appear in various forms, digestion is disturbed, liver trouble sets in and the whole system is adversely affected.
Pyorrhoea is trigged by bacterial activity. A thin layer of harmful bacteria is continuously building up in our teeth. If it is not removed by tooth cleansing, especially after meals, it forms an organised mass on the tooth surface in a short time. This is referred to as a “bacterial plaque” when accumulated, bacteria in plaque produce many toxins which irritate the gums, cause them to become inflamed, tender and bleed easily. The bacterial activity is, however, facilitated by the lowered vitality of the system caused by acidosis as a result of wrong feeding habits. The habitual use of white bread, white sugar, refined cereals and much meat, leads to swamping of the blood and tissues with acid waste matter and to the development of the disease in one form or another. Pyorrhoea is one of the many forms this swamping of the system with acid impurities takes.
Other factors contributing to the development of pyorrhoea include injury to the gums and supporting structures by physical and chemical irritants in the mouth, wrong brushing, stagnation of food particles and improper use of tooth picks. In many cases, prolong tension and even allergy can lead to this disease. In some cases, the use of the pill and pregnancy can give rise to or aggravates the condition.
Any treatment for pyorrhoea, to be effective, should be constitutional. It should aim at cleansing the blood and tissues of the acid impurities which are at the root of the trouble. The extraction of the teeth affected with the disease will not help clear the systemic toxaemia.
The patient should begin the treatment with a short juice fast for three to five days. The juice of a fresh orange diluted with water on 50 : 50 basis, should be taken at two-hourly intervals from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during this period. If the orange juice does not agree, carrot juice may be taken.
The bowels should be cleansed daily during this period with a warm water enema. If constipation is habitual, all steps should be taken for its eradication.
After the juice fast, the patient should spend a further three to five days on an exclusive fresh fruit diet. IN this regimen, he should have three meals a day, at five-hourly intervals of fresh juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grape-fruit, oranges, pineapple and melon. If losing much weight on the all-fruit diet, those already under weight may add a glass of milk to each fruit meal.
Thereafter the patient may gradually embark upon a balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits, green salads, whole meal bread, properly cooked vegetables, cheese, nuts, and milk.
White bread, white sugar and all refined and tinned foods must be completely given up. Condiments, sauces, alcohol, coffee and strong tea as well as meat and other flesh foods should also be avoided. The patient should also keep away from starchy and sticky foods.
The teeth and gum, like other parts of the body require exercise. This can be achieved by eating hard and fibrous foods. Wheat is especially valuable in the prevention and treatment of pyorrhoea. It takes time to eat wheat chappaties and as it is generally taken with other foods, it compels the chewing of other foods also. This not only provides the needed exercise for the teeth and gum but also a great aid to digestion.
Chewing unripe guava is an excellent tonic for teeth and gums. It stops the bleeding from gums due its styptic effect and richness in vitamin C. Chewing its tender leaves also helps in curing bleeding from gums and keeps the teeth healthy. A decoction of root-bark can also be beneficial used as mouth- wash for swollen gums.
Lemon and lime are also useful in pyorrhoea due to their high vitamin C-content. They strengthen the gums and teeth and are very effective for preventing and curing acute inflammations of the gum margins.
Raw spinach juice is another valuable food remedy for the prevention and treatment of pyorrhoea because of its beneficial effect on the teeth and gums. This effect is generally enhanced if the spinach juice is taken in combination with carrot juice. A permanent aid for this affliction has been found in the use of natural raw foods and in drinking an ample quantity of carrot and spinach juice.
The daily dry friction and hip bath and the breathing and other exercises should form a part of the morning routine. A hot Epsom-salt bath taken twice weekly will also be beneficial.
As regards local treatment, the teeth should be cleansed every morning and night with a little lemon juice squeezed on the toothbrush, after it has been dipped into warm water. Afterwards mouth should be well rinsed with warm water containing lemon juice. The forefinger of the right hand should be rubbed gently over the gums for a minute or two after each brushing.