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WNY experts offer New Year's resolutions advice

Dr. Lisa Yerke, clinical assistant professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics, UB School of Dental Medicine and a member of University Dental Associates

Resolution: Better oral care

We may not realize how important a daily ritual of oral hygiene is to our overall systemic health and well-being. Many of us floss to prevent tooth decay between our teeth. However, we also floss to prevent periodontal disease, which is the loss of the jaw bone and gums that support and stabilize our teeth. Many of those with periodontitis are not aware that they have it, since pain and tooth loss may not be obvious signs until the disease is very advanced, which can take years to decades. The bacteria-driven destruction of bone and supporting tooth structures that occur in periodontal disease creates a significant amount of bacterial byproducts and inflammatory factors that are released into the circulatory system and travel throughout the body, negatively impacting our overall well-being. For example, diabetics with periodontitis have greater difficulty maintaining glycemic control. To make matters worse, periodontal disease has also been associated with heart disease, obesity, asthma, esophageal and gastric cancer, prostate cancer, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and stress, among others. Our overall health, so closely tied with our oral health, requires a conscious daily effort.

source: The Buffalo News