Dr. Gerry Curatola: The New Science of Oral Health

Understanding the microbiome with the pioneering dentist.
Dr. Gerry Curatola, the father of biologic dentristry. Photo: courtesy of Rejuvenation Health

By Cristina Cuomo

With over 40 years of experience, and dental practices in New York and East Hampton, internationally acclaimed restorative and cosmetic dentist, bestselling author, pioneering researcher and humanitarian Dr. Gerry Curatola is often referred to as the “father of biologic dentistry,” and is a leading expert on the new science of the oral microbiome. Purist joins him to learn more about his dental philosophy and his groundbreaking research. 

PURIST: For a good part of a professional career that has spanned more than 40 years, you have promoted what you call a “biologic approach” to dentistry. How does this differ from traditional dentistry?

Dr. Gerry Curatola: Like most dentists, when I graduated from dental school, I felt very prepared to be a good “mechanic of teeth” instead of a physician of the mouth. Biologic dentistry is a philosophy and approach to practice that raises our consciousness and awareness of the mouth as both a mirror and a gateway to health and disease in the entire body. For example, I love doing cosmetic dentistry, and the ability to improve a smile and self-image of a patient. However, the bonding materials we use in that procedure may often contain BPA (bisphenol A) resins that can disrupt the endocrine system and are also linked to a possible higher risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. As a biologic dentist, we use materials that are safe and compatible (eg., BPA-free) with the human body, understanding that over 80 percent of toxicity and inflammation may originate from the mouth. 

PURIST: What is the oral microbiome?  

GC: In the mid-aughts, our entire understanding of what it means to be “human” changed with the emergence of research from the Human Microbiome Project, launched in 2007. We discovered that there is a symbiotic relationship between man and microbe that is foundational to our ability to stay alive and thrive with countless bodily functions. In the mouth, this unique community of mostly bacterial organisms, known as the oral microbiome, is an intelligent, semipermeable membrane that performs vital functions to help keep mouths healthy—from mineralizing teeth to oxygenating gums and strengthening the systemic immune system. 

PURIST: You have been a pioneer in the research and development of oral care formulations that respect the new science of the oral microbiome. This resulted in your development of Revitin toothpaste. How does Revitin work?

GC: I’ve spent over 15 years in the development of Revitin, the world’s first prebiotic toothpaste that nourishes and supports the essential and beneficial ecology in the mouth known as the oral microbiome, and promotes it in a balanced state. We found that prebiotics are far more effective in the mouth than probiotics, which have less efficacy as the oral microbiome is as unique as our DNA. Prebiotics make it inhospitable for good or bad bacteria to “set up shop.” 

PURIST: What are some of the new advanced technologies in dentistry that enable the detection of disease?

GC: The three most important new advances in disease detection (diagnosis) are the 3D Cone Beam computed tomography (CBCT), the WatchPAT home sleep study and the Viome RNA-analysis salivary test. The 3D Cone Beam has made conventional 2D dental X-rays obsolete. The WatchPAT home sleep study provides a great deal of information for the diagnosis and treatment of OSA, which is often related to inadequate airway space in the nose, mouth and throat. Viome, a leading scientific research company, has developed an RNA analysis technology with 95 percent specificity for the early detection of oral and throat cancers. Early RNA-analysis detection enables over 90 percent survival when detected early. For more information or consultation with Dr. Curatola, go to rejuv-health.com or call 212.355.4777. Follow Dr. Curatola on Instagram @drgerrycuratola, @rejuvenationhealth or @revitin.