Peptic Ulcers and Gum Disease: Can You See a Connection? Part 2

Welcome back! We are so grateful to all of our faithful followers who continue to read our blog and to those of you who are joining for perhaps the first time.  As some of you already know, this blog site has a reputation for educating our readers on a variety of dental and medical conditions, especially as they apply to the overall general health of our readers.  Our Dr. David Scharf, a Periodontist in Long Island, loves to inform not only his patients but also his blog followers, in how the many biological systems in our bodies work together and depend upon each other for our best health.  Today, we are picking up where we left off last time, discussing another common cause of peptic ulcers…so come along with us as we talk more about gum disease and peptic ulcers.


In these busy times, many people suffer from myriad stressors, ranging from job responsibilities to child rearing to marriage and friendly relationships and health issues … and the seemingly endless list of stressors goes on and on.  All of these stressors, whether independently or combined, can wreak havoc on the functional efficiency of any of the systems which keep the human body running smoothly. How this interference with the normal functioning of any particular system or group of them occurs begins with the development of inflammation.  Unfortunately, avoiding some inflammation is physically impossible because it is part of the body’s immune system, designed to protect and heal when and where needed — think of it as the body’s first aid kit, white blood cells being dispatched to any and all parts of the body in which a foreign substance has been detected or where an injury has occurred. These cells do their repair job and then move on to the next weak spot.  

Certain pain medications

So, as you can see, inflammation of and by itself is not a bad thing.  It becomes a problem when this healing process becomes chronic and keeps growing where it isn’t performing its designed function, impeding the normal operation of any system.  Health conditions like coronary artery disease, arthritis, gum disease, and kidney problems are just a few of the resulting maladies which beset the human body when inflammation rages out of control.  Modern medicine and pharmacology have utilized some amazing technology to develop new medical procedures and medications to help fight this ongoing conflagration called chronic inflammation. Unfortunately, some of the medications developed for this purpose, as well as some formulated to treat those aforementioned maladies which spin off from chronic inflammation, can cause or exacerbate the very demon they’re trying to control.

What are those medications?

The medications to which we refer are found on both sides of the pharmacy counter — prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.  When it comes to OTC medications, it is important to remember that they have been formulated not only of natural ingredients but also contain chemical ones.  Common remedies like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, etc.), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox, and others), and ketoprofen are considered non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and have the ability to irritate the stomach and intestinal lining, causing the inflammation which is so damaging.  This list does not include Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Also, it is important to note that peptic ulcers are more commonly found in older adults because they use many of these medications for the treatment of osteoarthritis and the inflammatory symptoms associated with it.

NSAIDs are not the only substances which increase the risks of developing peptic ulcers and, next time, we will talk about a few more of them.  In the meantime, we urge you to get established with a dental professional who can identify and treat gum disease in your entire family. Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and in the role, he can identify and treat gum disease in any stage of development for any member of your family.  Contact us to schedule an appointment for gum disease treatment with a laser instead of a scalpel.

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