Gum Disease and Gastrointestinal Ulcers: Are They Related? Part 1

Welcome back, returning readers and newcomers to our blog!  If you are new to this blog site, you may not be aware that Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who loves to engage his readers and patients in discussions about a variety of health conditions which concern all of us.  He especially likes to educate his followers with these health maladies as they relate to overall oral health and gum disease. Today, we are beginning a new article series on gum disease and gastrointestinal ulcers, and how they are connected.  As we embark upon this journey over the next several weeks, you’re invited to join us.

Gum Disease

Before we get started, let’s first review briefly so that we all understand what gum disease is and what is so dangerous about it. The most straightforward description of gum disease is: it is inflammation, caused by food and drink deposits left behind between the teeth and along the gum line which, if not properly removed, can cause bacterial growth, not all of which is good. There are both good bacteria as well as harmful bacteria in your mouth, coexisting in that lovely moist environment.  An ongoing battle waged between these types of bacteria, and sometimes the bad guys overrun the good guys, kind of like the fighting between the cowboys and Indians in the old West movies some of us grew up watching on television. 

The Why of this Battle

You see, when you chew food and drink liquids, pieces and films remain on the internal surfaces of your mouth, teeth, tongue, and gums. These foreign particles get lodged between the teeth and along the gum line, where bacteria naturally abide. The problem arises when this foreign material is not adequately removed by the brushing and flossing that is part of a good oral health regimen. When not suitably cleaned, bacteria begin to feed off it and grow, festering into an infection (also known as inflammation). This inflammation gets down below the gum line, eventually getting into the bloodstream, where it is transported to all parts of the body, into every organ and tissue type, wreaking havoc wherever it goes.

Next time, we will take the next step toward the connection between gum disease and gastrointestinal ulcers.  Until then, we encourage you to make your next step getting established with a great dental professional.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and in the role, he can identify and treat gum disease in your whole family.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him online at and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.


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