Feb 25, 2015
As seen in Glow Magazine, Spring 2014
Dr. Gerry Curatola has been practicing his unique brand of dentistry over the span of thirty years. His insights, experience and unwavering dedication to “getting the word out” on the link between oral health and living longer are well documented. Renowned for his brilliant aesthetics of some of the world’s most famous smiles, Dr. Curatola feels his greatest contribution is educating the public on the fact that their overall health is a function of oral health. Always engaging, thought provoking and continually inspiring us to rise above the status quo, Dr. Curatola sits down with GLOW to challenge our thinking with his top ten messages on building better health through your smile.
1) Creating a beautiful smile continues to become minimally invasive
Advances in cosmetic dentistry have made it possible to create a beautiful smile with more con-servative treatment approaches that preserve tooth structure, lessen discomfort and reduce cost. Invisalign clear removable aligner trays now satisfy a wide range of conditions correcting crooked and misshapen smiles, and malocclusions, without the inconvenience of fixed and often unsightly appliances. Porcelain laminate veneers involve minimal removal of tooth structure as opposed to full crowns. Advances in dental im-plants have eliminated the need for inclusion of more adjacent teeth or expensive bridgework, and teeth whitening proce-dures have become quicker, less costly and more convenient.
2) A healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body, but also a “healthy wallet.”
In 2006 Aetna Insurance Com-pany and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine conducted a study that found a relationship between peri-odontal (gum) treatment and the overall cost of care for sev-eral chronic diseases. The results of the study, which included approximately 145,000 patients, demonstrated that improving the health of the mouth, translated into an average of a 21% reduction in medical costs for the treatment of diabetes, coro-nary artery disease (CAD), and cerebrovascular disease (CVD) or stroke. The Aetna Research went on to show that up to 90% of whole-body illnesses could show their first signs in the mouth. These include Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and pre-mature births linked to the negative impact of gum disease on a healthy pregnancy.
3) Building a better smile starts with collecting the facts.
Dr. Curatola believes in treating not just the symptoms of dental disease, but also identifying its cause. He is your internist’s best friend. Did you know that there are a number of important tests for heavy metals, parasites, and important hormone levels through saliva, urine, blood and stool? According to Dr. Curatola, “Most people are unaware of the presence of heavy metal toxicities that exist on a cellular level.” Conventional blood tests often do not uncover the presence of these conditions. More descriptive tests such as a provocative urinalysis can identify the true measure of heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum and lead. Specific blood tests can reveal important inflammatory markers in the body. A simple stool sample can check for parasites and fungal problems like Candida that may have been in your body for years. He believes your dentist can be on the front lines of causality through focusing on referring patients for more thorough medical analysis to insure a lasting smile through a healthy body.
4) Don’t become the Mad Hatter. Beware of dental amalgam mercury fillings.
Dr. Curatola was recently fea-tured as a guest on the Dr. Oz show in a segment entitled Toxic Fillings. He informed viewers that “Mercury is one of the most neurotoxic elements on earth and silver-colored amalgam fillings are actually greater than 50% mercury.” The mercury in your mouth is susceptible to being released under various circumstances such as drinking hot liquids or heavy chewing. Over time it has been shown to slowly leak into your system. The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland was a characterization of prevalent mercury poisoning in the late 1800’s among top hat makers — eventually recognized as an occupational hazard. Their felt work involved prolonged exposure to mercury vapors resulting in a host of neurological symptoms. Signs and symptoms range from tremors and memory loss, to skin and digestive problems — even infertility.
Integrative physicians and integrative dentists agree that there isn’t any amount of mercury that is good for you. There are many alternative restorative materials, including many new dental ceramics that offer nontoxic option — clearly an advantage when compared to dental amalgam. Dr. Curatola adheres to the International Academy of Oral medicine and Toxicology protocol when removing failing dental amalgam fillings. He considers it essential to find a dentist who follows a safe mercury removal protocol since the greatest amount of mercury exposure happens when fillings are put in and when they are removed.
5) Fluoride as Dentistry’s preventative “gold standard” is being reevaluated.
Fluoride was once touted as one of the greatest public health initiatives of late 20th century. But did you know studies have now shown 4 of 10 adolescent children have damaged teeth from a condition called fluorosis? Dr. Curatola explains. “Teeth and bone are made of the same elements. Simply put, fluoride is a highly reactive and toxic element, and fluoride exposure has been linked to a broad range of serious health problems from a decreased IQ to cancer.” While fluoride was initially shown to increase smooth surface hardness of teeth and bones, studies have also shown fluoridated teeth and bones to be more brittle as well. Any beneficial effects of fluoride have become increasingly skeptical. Some studies have emerged showing some fluoridated communities having an even higher rate of decay than non-fluoridated communities. “I believe the true value of fluoride was overestimated and the onslaught of emerging evidenced-based research is causing many dental professionals to reevaluate fluoride’s application and use.” Dr. Curatola adds, “The National Research Council has issued a lengthyreport documenting ‘huge gaps in fundamental research on the effectiveness of flouride’.”
6) Nutrition is an essential cornerstone for Oral Health.
Although we are privileged to live in a country where we have an abundance of food choices, many of us are malnourished because of our toxic diets. Dr. Curatola refers to “frankenfoods” when speaking about genetically engineered foods that are ubiquitous. “Food products that contain hormones, pesticides, or have been genetically modified have been shown to have negative effects on DNA”, says Dr. Curatola. In a country where 1 of 6 children are morbidly obese, the prospect now exists that this generation may not live as long as their parents. “Our addiction to sugar, even artificial sugars cause stress on endocrine system insulin
and cortisol.” In response, Dr. Curatola continues to promote his Triple A Diet (see next page) with safe, friendly foods that can help reverse this negative trend.
7) Stop washing your mouth out with soap!
Mosttoothpaste was developed by “soap makers” over 100 years ago. “While the idea of brushing your teeth with a detergent is distasteful, most people are unaware that they have been doing this for most of the last century”, says Curatola. Even tooth powders to brush with were originally designed as a “mouth soap” to clean your teeth and gums. Since that time, a number of additives have found their way into the detergent toothpaste bases, including fluoride and other chemicals, such as antimicrobial and whitening agents. The flavoring of toothpaste to make it less bitter and more acceptable has also had many unwanted effects such as swallowing, which was highly toxic to young children. This
precipitated the FDA to mandate a “Poison Control Warning” on toothpaste labeling for all toothpaste containing fluoride since 1998. Dr. Curatola adds that “even so-called natural toothpastes have a similar detergent base, albeit without artificial color or flavors.” He believes that any detergent is disruptive to the natural ecology of the mouth. In fact, the most common detergent agent, sodium lauryl sulfate, is a known dermatological irritant and has been linked to an increased incidence of painful ulcer sores in the mouth.
8) Take advantage of new dental technology. “Dentistry is very technology driven.
It’s what attracted me initially and what keeps me excited about what I do.” Today the leaps in digital dentistry are nothing short of astounding. “I became involved in digital CAD/CAM dentistry (computer aided design and manufacture of ceramic restorations) as far back as 1991.
By using a special camera over a tooth preparation, computercan design the perfect sized filling, crown or veneer restoration while the patient was in the chair — in one visit. It’s amazing.”
Systems such as the Sirona CEREC CAD/CAM digital dental ceramic system, enable dentists to fabricate ceramic inlays, onlays, crowns, and now-even bridges in one visit. “The precision and speed are remarkable. Don’t automatically assume there is no time to visit the dentist”, adds Dr. Curatola. Technology continues to advance offering ceramic materials that have greater strength and more beautiful aesthetics. At Dr. Curatola’s practice, CAD/CAM dentistry is being integrated with the use of 3-D CT scans where full mouth reconstruction with implants can be designed by computer and performed on a patient, in one day.
9) The future of Dentistry is closely linked to amazing advances in Regenerative Medicine.
This area of medicine has made many advances in the application of dental stem cells, one of the richest sources of mesenchymal stem cells in the body, to heal, repair and even regenerate human tissue and organs. With the possibility to heal traumatic brain injuries, Parkinsonism, or Diabetes, dental stem cells also have a myriad of potential applications in the mouth including “growing new teeth.” Dr. Curatola notes that dental stem cells can be harvested and “banked” from extracted baby teeth, wisdom teeth and teeth that are removed for orthodontic purposes. He now offers his patients the ability to harvest, and cryogenically freeze, their dental stem cells with a “stem cell banking program” known as Save-A-Tooth by Provia Labs. This program actually performs a quantitative and qualitative analysis of stem cells harvested from teeth prior to cryogenically freezing these cell for future application and use.
10) It’s time to get out of the pesticide business.
Known as antimicrobials, with triclosan copolymer being the most popular one in the leading toothpaste brand, this pesticide-based approach to “kill germs” in the mouth has been shown to not only be ineffectual, but harmful by disrupting the important natural ecology of the mouth. According to Dr. Curatola, overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobials are also breeding virulent resistant germs in our environment such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus). “Recent science on the Human Microbiome has uncovered the essential symbiotic relationship that exists between man and microbes. This science has made it clear that the bacteria in our mouths, actually help keep us alive, protecting us as an essential part of the oral immune system.” Dr. Curatola says trying to wash it away or even “kill it” with pesticide-oriented and detergent-based oral care products is not only ineffectual, but harmful. He says, “What I am promoting is organic gardening for the mouth!” He explains that dental plaque is actually an unhealthy expression of the mouth’s natural ecology, which quickly “rebalances” when we use a formulation that does not disturb or disrupt this essential environment.
Dr. Curatola has also “put his money where his mouth is” by spending the past 16 years researching and developing a oral care formulation, NuPath Bioactives, composed of key nutritional components, homeopathic microminerals and herbal ingredients that restore and replenish the oral ecology, promoting balance or homeostasis of the oral biofilm resulting in healthy gums and whiter teeth. The first product from this formulation, a toothpaste called Revitin, promises to be a “game changer” in the oral care products arena with remarkable efficacy demonstrated in clinical studies.
Dr. Curatola stresses that “it’s time we respect the microbial environment both in and on our bodies, and also in the environ-ment around us.” He agrees that there exist harmful bacteria and viruses in our environment, but we need to rethink trying to “sterilize our world.” Dr. Curatola advocates the use of a new breathable fabric barrier created by a company known as Intellident, makers of the toothbrush, mouthguard and pacifier shield so certain bacteria are not introduced into your mouth. “The key is to protect yourself in the environment without sterilizing. Bacteria are smart, they share information and then create superbugs. Simply put, don’t sterilize but do shield.”