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Dr. David Scharf

How Much Do You Love Your Gums? Part 3

Welcome back for the next installment in this very important article series. If you have been following us, you may recall from the two previous installments, we have been exploring the fact that more than 65 percent of American adults aged 30 years or older have been found to suffer from periodontal disease in some degree. We have also been examining the fact that this statistic has increased at such an alarming rate that it now surpasses diabetes in prevalence in the U.S as well as likely worldwide. I am a licensed Periodontist in Long Island and today, I want to continue this series with more information about what periodontal disease is and what signs and symptoms you'll notice in your mouth that will cause you to know that something is going on. So, if you love love your gums gums, then I invite you to follow along with me now.

Gum Disease - A Simple Definition

Gum disease can be a very complicated process to explain so I’ll keep it simple by saying that gum disease is basically any inflammation found in the gum and oral tissue. It is usually a chronic condition that starts with an irritant or some sort; i.e. plaque or some nasty bacteria. Once the irritant gets established, the body's natural immune system kicks in to fight the offender and the battle that ensues results in an inflammatory condition that usually festers and proliferates under the gum line where you can't see it. The battle that is being waged under the gum line can continue for years before signs and symptoms get bad enough to send you to your medical doctor. He or she will then likely send you to a dental professional for evaluation and treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

So, what signs do you see in your mouth to tell you there is something wrong? How about the "pink toothbrush"? You know, the one your mom probably told you as a child that it's just your gums bleeding because you brushed too hard. So you change to a softer toothbrush and consciously lighten up on your brushing approach ... and still the "pink toothbrush". Do you really think that "pink toothbrush" is a pretty thing?

What about those swollen, puffy red gums? Are they healthy? Are they normal? Are they sensitive to hot and cold beverages and food yet? If not, hang on because they will become sensitive to temperature extremes as well as to some food textures as your gum disease progresses.

Are you noticing loose teeth, or, perhaps you have already lost some teeth? Is your mouth full of cavities, repaired or otherwise? As gum disease worsens, these are the symptoms that will cause you to seek medical care and ultimately dental intervention.

Next time, we'll talk about how that inflammation eats away at the very foundations of your teeth and how the nasty bacteria that is responsible for that inflammation has a cause and effect relationship with other systems and vital organs in your body. In the meantime, call your Periodontist in Long Island and get the oh so important comprehensive periodontal exam.

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What Is a CPE and Why Do You Need It?
CPE...are these just random letters? What do they represent? Today, we are going to talk a bit about what the initials “CPE” actually mean and why they should mean something to you.  I am a licensed Periodontist in Long Island and I care enough to want to help you understand what a comprehensive periodontal evaluation is to you. So let’s get started with our discussion today.
What is a CPE?
First of all, as you can see above, the initials “CPE” represent comprehensive periodontal evaluation.  The is an examination of your oral tissues and it assesses your periodontal health by looking very carefully at your teeth, and existing plaque, gums, bite, bone structure and various risk factors.  This comprehensive periodontal evaluation is done at your initial visit with your dental professional and is generally repeated at least annually to follow up on what is found at the initial visit.
Who does the CPE?
The CPE, or Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation, can be done by a dental professional like a periodontist, your general dentist or a dental hygienist. These professionals will use x-rays, gum probing and visual examination to determine the condition of the aforementioned teeth, plaque, gums, bite, bone structure and risk factors.  Once the evaluation is completed, a plan of action or treatment will be developed by which any gum disease, tooth decay or oral deterioration can be repaired.
Why is a CPE important to you?
Over the past few decades, there has been a great deal of research done into determining if there is a link between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions. This research has established an association between periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, and serious health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even respiratory diseases! Also, this research brings to light the fact that the prevalence of periodontal or gum disease in the United States could be quite a bit higher than previously thought.  Couple this with the fact that conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases are potentially life-threatening and are being found to be present in younger and younger people, it becomes imperative that you take steps to protect yourself and those you love.
The first step for you is to identify the oral conditions which may lead, or have lead, to gum disease and remedy those conditions before they advance to the most severe gum disease known as periodontitis.  I can help you accomplish that goal.  Call me, Dr. Scharf, your Periodontist in Long Island at (631)661-6633 or visit me on the web at and let me tell you how I can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel. 

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Read all reviews @

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Ladies, How Much Do You Know about Periodontal Disease and its Impact on Your Health - Part 1

Hello to all of my faithful readers.  Today I want to share with you some important information.  While the subject of this article series is specifically directed to the ladies, some of what you will learn may be of interest to those gentlemen who frequent my articles on this site. Guys, if you have a lady of any age in your life, perhaps you can share some of this information with her.  Since this is an uncomfortable topic of discussion for most guys, perhaps you can guide her to look into it on her own.  The topic that I am addressing today is simply questioning just how much do you know about periodontal disease as it relates to the women's health? Our discussion will include puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and post-menopause.  We’ll talk about how periodontal disease can have an effect on women's health in each of these life stages.   We’ll cover this topic in two parts.

If you are female or have a female in your life, I’m sure you can confirm that hormones fluctuate throughout the lifetime of a lady and puberty is just the beginning of the roller-coaster ride that she rides until the day she meets her Maker!  The main hormones causing this roller-coaster ride are progesterone and estrogen and they begin fluctuating during puberty and wax and wane over the life time of the lady in question.  This fluctuation of hormones increases the blood flow to the gums.  The increased blood flow presents as increased sensitivity of the gums and this increased sensitivity leads to a greater response to any irritation.  This irritation could come in the form of particulate matter from food and from plaque formation.  When this irritation occurs, the response from the gum tissue is swelling, redness and tenderness.

The next stage of hormonal change occurs at menstruation.  When a girl's "periods" begin, “menstruation gingivitis” can begin. In this condition, bleeding gums, bright red gum color, swelling in the gum tissue and sores in the mouth on the inside of the cheek can wreak havoc in her life.  This condition is cyclic as the symptoms present right before the ladies’ period begins and resolves once the period has begun.   This is something else to look forward to every month, right ladies?

Good Oral Hygiene is Vital
You can hardly watch TV or listen to radio without hearing about good oral health and how vitally dependent it is on good oral hygiene, even though there may be some genetic predisposition to some oral conditions.  Granted you may little to no control over those oral health conditions that are genetic, or that run in your family, but you can help to lessen the impact of those genetic conditions by keeping your oral tissues as healthy as possible.  

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Do You Know How to Keep Teeth Enamel Strong as You Age? Part 4

Welcome back! This is the final installment of this article series.  If you have been with us previously, you’ll probably recall that, over the past few weeks, I have been discussing the enamel of the teeth and its importance in keeping your mouth healthy.  Following in that vein, over the past few weeks, I have been discussing some steps you can take in your lifestyle and eating habits that will ensure you keep the teeth enamel of you and your entire family strong and healthy.  I am a licensed Periodontist on Long Island and, today, I am going to finish our discussion on this topic with two final points: dry mouth and teeth grinding.  So, come along with me while I finish this article series on keeping teeth enamel strong.

Beware of dry mouth

Why beware of dry mouth?  Dry mouth is a condition that indicates the normal levels of saliva are decreased.  Let me first point out that saliva is more than just “spit” because it is used by the mouth to wash away food particles and residue and even the bacteria that can lead to the development of cavities.  Saliva also washes away the acidic residue left behind when we consume some of those acidic foods and drinks we talked about in previous segments of this article series.  Drinking water more often will help to keep your mouth clean and moist.  This water issue and dry mouth issue is even more important if you exercise hard.  Additionally, there are some medical conditions and some medications can cause dry mouth.  If this is you or your situation, please talk this over with your medical doctor.  A pleasant way that you can help to keep your mouth moist is to chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to help keep the saliva flowing and doing its job.  

Are you a teeth grinder?

Attention Teeth Grinders: if you are a teeth grinder, you need to read on. I don’t have to explain what this is to known teeth grinders; but, for those of you who aren’t or have never heard the term, allow me to explain.  Teeth grinding is an activity, most often an unconscious one, in which one grinds or rubs their upper teeth against their lower teeth.  This can happen especially in your sleep.  The problem with this habit is that, over time, the grinding can wear away the teeth enamel as well as cause tiny breaks or fractures in the teeth enamel which will lead to further damage below the enamel layer of the teeth.  If you know you are a grinder, or suspect that you might be, talk it over with your dental professional. He or she may suggest a custom-fitted mouth guard that can protect your teeth against this damage.

Another way to keep your teeth enamel strong is keeping up with regular dental exams. This a key way to keep the teeth enamel and all of the oral tissue in your mouth strong and healthy.  I want to be your Periodontist on Long Island and I can help you and your entire family with all of their dental needs.  Call me, Dr. Scharf, at (631)661-6633 or visit me on the web at and let me tell you how I can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

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Do You Know How To Keep Teeth Enamel Strong as You Age?

Welcome back to the next segment of this article series in which we have been talking about a variety of things and lifestyle changes that you can make to keep your teeth enamel strong as you age. I speak on behalf of a licensed Periodontist on Long Island who is interested in helping you protect this tough outer surface of your teeth. As you may recall, we talked about how important this layer is in protecting the underlying layers from suffering damage from bacterial penetration that occurs when the enamel surface wears away. Today, I want to discuss some physical / emotional issues and swimming pools. Come along with me and we'll get started.

Are you a heartburn or GERD sufferer? How about eating disorders?
While we all suffer from heartburn and acid reflux from time to time, and we all know how uncomfortable it can be, the condition to which I refer is a chronic one in which the acids produced in the stomach that aid in the digestive process are able to escape and ultimately make their way to your mouth. Once this acid gets into your mouth, the acidity begins to wreak havoc on the enamel surface of your teeth.
And, what

And, what about eating disorders? The specific one to which I refer in this article series is bulimia. As I'm sure most of you are aware, this condition involves eating whatever foods you wish, in whatever quantity desired and then vomitting or purging that food from your body. This action will bring both food and stomach acids into your mouth.

Both of these situations introduce foreign substances into your mouth and your oral tissues can suffer damage, including the teeth enamel. If you suffer from either of these conditions, it is very important that you seek medical / emotional help from the appropriate medical professionals.

How about chlorinated pool water?

Most of us have most likely have had some experience in swimming pools and chlorinated water. I know you're probably wondering what swimming pool water has to do with protecting your teeth enamel. The problem with swimming pools isn't the chlorine but rather the lack of it. If the water isn't properly chlorinated, then the acid levels in the water are not properly controlled. Since we talked previously about acidity levels in the mouth from the foods and drinks we consume and how the acid eats away at the enamel surface of our teeth, then your teeth are prime targets for damage from any pool water that finds its way into our mouths.

There are a few more things that I want to discuss with you and we'll do that in our final segment next time. In the meantime, call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

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Children and Gum Disease

This article is for those of you who are parents and for those of you who know that being observant of the oral health of your children is vital to their good general overall health. 

I am a Periodontist on Long Island and I want you to know that there are several gum diseases which begin in childhood, progress through the teenage years and into adulthood which can cause overall general health problems for your children as they age.  Because preserving the good health of your child is so important, I'm asking you to come along with me while we talk about some gum diseases that you'll want to watch for in your everyday interactions with your child. 

Today in part 1 of this 2-part series, I want to talk with you about chronic gingivitis, aggressive periodontitis and generalized aggressive periodontitis.

Chronic Gingivitis
This is a type of gum disease that is very common in children.  As a rule, I see it in swollen gum tissue which also turns red and bleed easily.  The good thing about this gum disease is that it is preventable and treatable by simply adopting a regular habit of proper brushing and flossing at home.  Professional dental care should also be included in this regimen because, if this disease remains untreated, it can develop into more serious types of gum and periodontal disease. I can provide you with a great regimen for every member of your household.

Aggressive Periodontitis
In this form of gum disease, young people are usually affected and these young people can have otherwise good general health.  This localized aggressive periodontitis is generally more prevalent in teenagers and young adults and has been found to affect the first molars and incisors. The signs I see for this condition are characterized by a significant loss of alveolar bone but, believe it or not, there is usually very little plaque or calculus formation noted.

Generalized Aggressive Periodontitis
This particular form of gum disease is usually found to start around puberty and seems to include the mouth in its entirety.  In this condition, the major characteristics include inflammation of the gums and significant accumulations of plaque and calculus.  All of this will, in time, cause the tooth to loosen.
So what are the signs to note?
There are four basic signs that can signal to you that things aren't quite right in the mouth, whether it's your mouth or your child's.  These signs will signal to you that professional evaluation must be sought.
Bleeding gums:  this occurs while brushing and may present as a "pink" toothbrush.   This bleeding will also be noted when flossing as well as at any other time.
Puffiness:  this occurs to the gum tissue and will present as swollen and bright red colored gum tissue.
Recession:  here you are assessing the gums in relation to the base of the tooth.  Gums that have recessed or receded are away from the teeth and may even expose the tooth roots.
Bad breath:  if you're noticing that your child's breath always smells badly, and if you don't notice an improvement with brushing and flossing, then you should consider a trip to me, your local dental professional.

There are a couple more important points that I would like to make but space doesn't permit appropriate coverage of these points.  So...I am going to make this a two-part series and will bring the remaining two important points to you next time in part 2. In the meantime, be sure to keep up with those oh so important dental checkups. Call me, Dr. Scharf, your Periodontist on Long Island, at (631)661-6633 or feel free to visit me on the web at and let me tell you how I can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

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Oral Health for Men – What Are Your Risks? Part 2

Welcome back to a very important topic of discussion. As you may recall, last week we talked briefly about recent research that has found increased risks for certain serious medical conditions for men over women and how those risks are associated with poorer oral health in men. I am a licensed Periodontist on Long Island and I am concerned about how your oral health affects your overall general health. Let’s talk today about a couple of those serious health conditions for which men are at higher risk than women.

Prostate-Specific Antigen

This prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is defined as an enzyme that is produced by the prostate and is usually found in blood work in very small amounts under normal circumstances. However, when inflammation from infection, inflamed prostate or from cancer are present, the amounts found in blood work is higher. If you are of the male gender, then I am sure you have had your PSA levels tested at least once in your life by your medical doctor or primary care physician – and this is done more often as you age. This recent research has found that men having the periodontal disease indicators, which include bleeding with probing, and prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate, have higher levels of PSA than those men who had only one of these conditions. The significance of this is the fact that they have strongly suggested that there is a similar relationship between periodontal disease and elevated PSA levels as that which exists between periodontal disease and diabetes – one definitely affects the other, especially as one progresses or exacerbates.

Heart Disease

Yes, gentlemen, we are going to talk about yet another study that supports your gender’s higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those of the women in your life. Research abounds that clearly establishes the link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease; that having periodontal disease increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The researchers believe that the link is the fact that both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are chronic inflammatory conditions and it is this inflammation that provides the basis for the link between gum disease and heart disease. So, gentlemen, I highly recommend making some changes in your oral hygiene habits in an attempt to improve your oral health to reduce the risks you face for heart disease.

I sincerely hope you’ll come back for the next installment on this topic. Next time, we are going to talk about impotence and cancer and how your risks are affected by periodontal disease. In the meantime, call me, Dr. Scharf at (631)-661-6633 or visit me on the web at and let me tell you how I can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.
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