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pyorrhea

pyorrhea (pĪərēˈə) [key], inflammation and degeneration of the gums and other tissues surrounding the teeth. The onset of the disease is marked by bleeding of the gums. As the disease proceeds, the gums recede from the teeth, loosening of the teeth occurs, and the bone supporting the teeth is resorbed. Pus is discharged from pockets in the gums, which are formed as the jawbone recedes from the roots of the teeth. Pyorrhea, known medically as pyorrhea alveolaris, is most common in persons over 40. There are numerous possible causes, toward which therapy is directed, including poor nutrition, poor oral hygiene, ill-fitting dentures, and irritation of the tissues by dental tartar.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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