Greetings, to all of my recent and returning readers! In keeping with our reputation for educating our readers on a variety of dental and medical conditions, especially as those conditions apply to the overall general health of our patients and readers, we are continuing with another installment of this most recent article series on peptic ulcers. As you may already know, Dr. David Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island and loves informing not only his patients but also his blog followers, in the many health conditions which affect both our physical overall health as well as our general dental health. We have been discussing the various causes of peptic ulcers, and today, we are picking up where we left off last time, discussing another common cause of peptic ulcers…so join us as we talk more about gum disease and peptic ulcers.
A Brief Review
As you know, in our past segments, we have discussed several over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, other NSAIDs and aspirin which are drugs which irritate the lining of the intestinal system, creating a break in that lining which introduces the perfect environment for the development of peptic ulcers. We also talked about several medications which, when taken along with NSAIDs, can dramatically increase the risk of peptic ulcer development. As you may recall, those drugs were:
- Low-dose aspirin
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Alendronate (a.k.a. Fosamax)
- Risedronate (a.k.a. Actonel)
As promised in our last installment, today, we are going to spend a little time on some of the non-medication causes (risk factors) that are pretty much lifestyle choices. As we proceed with this portion of our series, it is important to point out that, while these choices don’t necessarily cause the ulcers, they certainly create an environment which can enable them to worsen when they develop, not to mention making them much more challenging for your physician and your body to heal. Here are some of the most common major non-medical risk factors for the development of peptic ulcers:
- Do you smoke? Smoking is an increased risk factor for those who are infected with the H. pylori bacteria.
- Do you drink alcohol? Consumption of alcohol is another way in which the mucous lining of your stomach can become irritated and eroded. This lifestyle choice also increases the production of stomach acid.
- Do you suffer from untreated stress? This life situation can take many forms — ranging from personal, employment, marital, and familial to environmental — and causes your body to engage in the uncontrolled inflammatory process which was intended to heal but, when left untreated, invades every tissue and organ in the body. This stress, left unchecked, begins to irritate the mucous lining of the stomach, the blood vessels, and eventually every organ in the human body.
- Do you eat spicy foods? While spicy foods don’t cause peptic ulcers, they introduce spices which can “add fuel to the fire” of the inflammatory process, adding to an already less than desirable intestinal condition.
Sometimes, the stress doesn’t have to create the inflammation, but rather it can simply exacerbate what is already brewing; i.e. the inflammation which begins in your mouth when oral hygiene isn’t up to par (a.k.a. gum or periodontal disease). Hence, the reason we continually encourage our readers to get established with a good dental professional who can identify and treat gum disease effectively. Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and, in that role, he can care for the oral health of your entire family. Call him at (631)661-6633 so he can tell you how he treats gum and periodontal disease with a laser rather than a scalpel. Contact us today!