Periodontal disease is the inflammation or degeneration of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It usually starts as gingivitis and develops progressively into periodontitis. Poor oral hygiene is the single greatest cause of gingivitis. It is caused by the build up of dental plaque that forms tartar.
It is bacteria in plaque that causes infection in the gums. Gingivitis is a common condition during puberty and pregnancy because it may be linked to endocrine factors. Gingivitis is also associated with coronary disease.
A more severe case of gum disease that comes on suddenly is a disease known as trench mouth. Trench mouth, or necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, is also known as Vincent’s infection which was a serious problem with troops in World War I. These days trench mouth is more prevalent with teenagers and young adults under stress, particularly during examinations. The inflammation can also spread to the tissues of the face and neck.
In Chinese medicine, periodontal disease is called by the following names:
Ya Xuan for gaping gums
Ya Lou for leaking gums
Ya Nu for bleeding gums
The belief is that periodontal disease is the result of profligate living with reckless eating and drinking, continuing disease, general debility due to age, and outside contractions of wind heat toxins.
Chinese medicine believes that the gums are nourished by the liver. If body-toxins overwhelm the liver’s ability to cleanse them, then the result is disease in other parts of the body including the gums. In Chinese medicine, the liver is the font of the blood from where it is circulated as vital energy to the muscles, gums and joints.
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