September 25, 2013

Types of Systemic Diseases That are Associated With Oral Infection

In our last two blog posts we have discussed the relationship between gum disease and coronary artery disease and diabetes.  We are continuing the discussion of the oral-body link by introducing the results of research that has found a connection of gum (periodontal) disease and other systemic illness.

Stroke is a disease affecting the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.  A stroke happens when a blood vessel bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is clogged.  Gums that have periodontal disease release inflammatory chemicals and bacteria into the bloodstream.  This release can result in clogging of the arteries, affect blood platelets, and contribute to the onset of a stroke. Research studies have shown that poor oral health, assessed by dental index, was more common in patients with cerebral infarction (an area of the brain with restricted blood supply).

Infective endocarditis is a bacterial infection of the heart valves or the heart lining.  It occurs when bacteria in the bloodstream lodge on abnormal heart valves or damaged heart tissue.  Endocarditis rarely occurs in people with normal hearts, but people who have certain preexisting heart defects are at risk for developing endocarditis when there’s a bacterial infection circulating in the bloodstream.  Infective endocarditis is a serious and often fatal systemic disease that has been associated with dental diseases and some treatment of periodontal disease. 

Pregnancy can influence gum health and gum health can influence pregnancy.  Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy promote an inflammation called pregnancy gingivitis.  This type of gingivitis may happen without changes in plaque (bacteria levels).  Oral contraceptives can also produce changes in gum health.

Gum disease is a gram-negative infection and may have the potential to affect the outcome of pregnancy.  During pregnancy the ratio of these anaerobic bacteria versus aerobic bacteria increases in dental plaque in the second trimester and the effect has been in some cases, low birth weight babies.

The research continues to uncover more links between oral disease and our overall health.  Studies are also implicating a connection with Alzheimer’s disease, as well.

For information about other dental topics and to get your free copy of our brochure, “The Mouth-Body Link,” visit

September 18, 2013

Diabetes And Gum Disease

Did you know that people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without diabetes?  This is probably because a person with diabetes is more susceptible to contracting infections.  Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums.  In fact, gum disease is often considered a complication of diabetes.  Uncontrolled diabetics are especially at risk.  When someone has uncontrolled diabetes, they usually have periodontal disease in a moderate to severe form.

Research has suggested that the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease goes both ways – meaning gum disease may make it often difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.  We see this all the time, that when someone treats their gum disease and gets it under control, their blood sugar levels stabilize and often we see that less medication for diabetes, or no medication for diabetes is needed any longer.  What an impact on someone’s life!  To think that someone with diabetes who is on medication, can become a diet controlled diabetic, just be controlling their gum disease.

Severe gum disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body has to deal with and process high blood sugar.  This puts diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications.

People with diabetes need to take extra special care with their brushing and flossing routine at home and need to make sure they have regular dental checkups.  Someone with gum disease requires regular dental checkups every three months to exercise maximum control of their periodontal disease and the related diabetes. Dental hygiene visits every 12 weeks ensures that the maturation of the bacteria in the plaque that are responsible for the gum disease, is interrupted.  A professional cleaning at this interval disrupts the progression of gum disease.

For information about the connection between our oral health and systemic health, visit, where you can download a copy of our free brochure, “The Mouth-Body Link.”

September 11, 2013

Connection Between Periodontal Disease and Coronary Artery Disease

For some reason we have been programmed to think of our mouth as isolated from the rest of our body.  People who may otherwise be health conscious, might not necessarily place the same priority of care on their dental health, and that’s a mistake.  The mouth is obviously part of the body, and the disease that exists in the mouth is affecting the rest of our body, and the disease that is present elsewhere in our body may be reflected in the mouth.

The original research on the oral-systemic health connection related to the connection of gum disease to heart disease.  Some researchers have suggested that gum disease may contribute to heart disease because bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream, attach to blood vessels, and increase clot formation.  It has also been suggested that inflammation caused by gum disease may also trigger clot formation.  Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, thereby causing an elevation in blood pressure and increasing the risk of a heart attack.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with periodontal disease (gum disease) are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease (heart disease).  One study found that the presence of common mouth problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

When patients present with gum disease and have blood tests performed to determine the degree of inflammation present in the system, those readings are high.  However, after the gum disease is treated and is under control, the inflammation markers shown in blood tests is greatly reduced.  When patients are being treated for heart disease and blood tests reveal high levels of inflammation, there is a decrease in these levels after successful treatment of gum disease.

This information, and more on this subject, present a wakeup call to the people in our population who are victims of the false belief that dental and overall health aren’t connected.  We hope it sheds light on the importance of regular dental checkups which include evaluations for periodontal disease, and the subsequent treatment of it.  If you have not seen a dentist in a few years we recommend that you schedule a check up with your Short Hills NJ family dentist to get your teeth cleaned and to make sure that everything is in order.

We have been committed to sharing this information when it first appeared quite a few years ago in 2005.

September 4, 2013

Restoring Dental Function

At Tavormina Dentistry we do the most basic general dentistry to the most advanced reconstructive dentistry available.  It’s an interesting thing, but when patients come to us because they can’t function, we restore them to full function, of course, but, they also receive the benefit of having the beauty of a brand new functional smile.

We find that so many people are in a position where they literally are dental cripples.  What’s a dental cripple?  Someone who cannot chew their food properly, someone who can’t eat the foods that they enjoy, someone who can only eat basically baby food, someone who suffers with constant pain because of ill-fitting dentures or partial dentures, or someone who suffers from pain from decayed and infected teeth that need extraction or root canal therapy.  There also are social ramifications to all the functional problems.  Too many people can’t smile with freedom because they are too embarrassed to show their teeth, or they don’t have any teeth at all.  There are people who can’t or won’t socialize or eat out in a restaurant, because they can’t chew their food or are afraid their teeth will move or fall out.

We are so thankful that we can make a difference in these peoples’ lives by restoring their dental function and beauty at the same time.  When people find themselves with limited function and they are ready to do something about it, we have a full arsenal of dental procedures to come to their rescue.  We are comprehensively trained in all aspects of dental implants, which are designed to replace missing tooth roots and act as the foundation for an entire new functional dental life.  Depending on the age of the patient and the amount of remaining bone, regular dental implants or mini dental implants can be used as a solution to missing teeth.  Of course, there is always conventional crown and bridgework available, when that’s the best way to restore function.  We do provide removable dentures and partial dentures when necessary, but always aim for restoring our patients to function as closely to how Mother nature intended, and to be able to smile freely and with confidence.

To find out more about how Tavormina Dentistry restores and protects our patients dental function and beauty, please visit, or call 973-761-5090 to personally start experiencing the love and commitment to relationship that drives the care of our patients – our dental family.