Worried About Gum Disease? Would You Prefer Cabernet Or Merlot

Worried About Gum Disease? Would You Prefer Cabernet Or Merlot?

For many years now scientists have linked the beneficial positive effects of moderate amounts of red wine consumption with prevention of heart disease and cancer. But now they have also discovered that drinking the fruit of the vine could help with the prevention of gum disease!

The heroes here are compounds called polyphenols (found in grape seeds and red wine) which appear to have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing inflammation, it is theorized that polyphenols may limit the amount of inflammation in the gum tissue, helping to prevent the common disease known as gingivitis.

“Our findings demonstrate that red wine polyphenols have potent antioxidant properties,” concluded the study authors from the Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, who presented the study at a meeting of the American Association for Dental Research.

Eighty percent of Americans have some type of gum disease, and it is estimated that 15 percent of Americans between the age of 21 and 50 suffer from an advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. After age 50, 65 percent of Americans will suffer from this chronic gum disease and the risk is higher in smokers, diabetics and people who take steroids and oral contraceptives.

The author of the study, Dr. Fatiha Chandad, stated that more investigation is needed to determine exactly how effective the beverage will be in fighting gum disease. “Consumption of any fruits or vegetables rich in polyphenols could have beneficial effects on the maintenance of good oral health,” she adds.

So should you drink up now and not worry about proper brushing, flossing, and visits with your dental hygienist? We sure don’t think so! But it is nice to know that red wine enjoyed in moderation could have a positive effect on your dental health.

At Falmouth Dental Arts we take your oral health very seriously and want to make sure that gum disease does not rob you of your teeth as it has done to millions of Americans. We check for this condition every single time we do an examination. If you are due to see us or have any questions about gum disease or any other condition, please give us a call right away at 207-781-5900. We’re here for you!

And remember – along with the possible positive effects of red wine, it can really stain your teeth!! Brush and floss often and don’t forget your professional cleanings!!


Until recently most dentists tell you to floss and brush and your gum health will be ok. We even used to do that! But now the relationship between gum health and systemic disease is becoming a scientifically proven fact. Indeed, the bacteria under your gums are the same ones found in the heart vessels, the pancreas and many other organs. It is now thought that they create inflammation that helps destroy the lining of the blood vessels allowing plaques to collect on them and affect the blood flow. The body’s reaction to this inflammation is linked to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many other chronic problems.

How do you find out if you have these bacteria? In our office we use a phase microscope to look for the presence of the bacteria. This shows us what the ecosystem of your plaque is – and whether the good or bad bugs are present. We also use a new test called the BANA which tells us if you have 1 or more of the bad bacteria under your gums. Then, combined with other factors we know whether you should be flossing and or water-picking. Also what type of mouthwash (or medicament) would work best for your situation. Of course, cleaning the bacteria or biofilm off the teeth is also a major piece of the healing process.

And, by the way, you can pass the bacteria back and forth to each other through kissing! There are known cases where a human has actually contracted them from kissing their dog!

Dentistry is becoming more and more a “whole body” profession and we strongly believe in this “gum/heart” connection. If you are not one of our patients, please ask your dentist about these new tests and the microscopic study


Stop Being So Darn Sensitive!!

We’ve all noticed it from time to time – have some ice cream followed by good hot coffee and OUCH! – your tooth is telling you not to do that! But how do you know if your tooth sensitivity is a sign of (pardon the pun) a deep rooted problem?

Let’s start with a little quiz. What is the hardest substance in the human body?
a) Fingernails
b) The thigh bone, also known as the femur
c) Your hard-headed uncle’s skull
d) Tooth enamel

If you guessed tooth enamel, you’re not only on your way to a winning appearance on Jeopardy but you’re ready to understand tooth sensitivity.

The enamel that covers your teeth is an extremely hard substance and acts as a great protectant. Inside the enamel is something called dentin, which is a bit softer and actually has small hollow tubes leading right into the nerve chamber. Irritate that layer and your tooth will let you know! So if the enamel on your teeth is worn away, sensitivity can set in. The roots of your teeth are in a similar situation, and receding gums which cause the roots to be uncovered can cause sensitivity as well. So what can you do?
First of all, be gentle when you brush and always use a soft toothbrush. Lots of pressure and stiff bristles don’t clean your teeth any better and actually can wear away enamel and gums.
Some people find that acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes can cause sensitivity, so avoid those if you are in that category.

Also, there are over-the-counter products, such as special toothpastes and rinses; that can help. Let us know and we’ll be glad to recommend the right one for you.

Unfortunately, many of the causes of tooth sensitivity are also signs of much larger dental problems. Things such as cavities, defective fillings or crowns, receding gums due to gum disease, grinding, and many other conditions can cause sensitivity and all of these things definitely need attention from a dental professional.
At Falmouth Dental Arts (portlandmainedentists.com and knockoutsmiles.com) we want you to be comfortable and have healthy teeth and gums! If tooth sensitivity or any other dental issues are causing you concern, please give us a call at 781-5900 and we will be glad to see how we can help. We want to get you comfortable again!

Hey – Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

Hey – Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

Legend has it that comedian Rodney Dangerfield once asked his dentist for advice.

“Doc – my teeth are yellow. What should I do?”

To which his dentist replied: “Wear a brown tie!”

Fortunately, these days we can give much better advice than that.

Most of us begin life with beautiful sparkly white teeth, but just as the years bring wrinkles, sags, bags and more – the age fairy can make our teeth much more yellow or brown than they used to be. Why does nature add this cruelty to her bag of tricks?

Here is a brief primer on yellowing teeth. The outer coating of our teeth is made of enamel – a beautiful smooth sparkling white surface. On the inside is a material called dentin, a darker material which makes up the core of our teeth. Normal activities such as chewing and exposure to acids in foods cause microscopic cracks in our enamel, allowing the yellow dentin to show through.

As most of us know, certain foods and drinks can also stain our teeth, contributing to a darker appearance. Smoking makes things much worse (and it’s not too good to the rest of your body either!)!

Basically there are two types of tooth stains – extrinsic stains (those that form on the outside of the teeth) and intrinsic stains (those that come from within).

Simple extrinsic stains can be removed by a good professional tooth cleaning and polishing. As these become more complex, tooth bleaching – either professional or over-the-counter, will be required.

Intrinsic stains, those that come from the inside of your teeth, are more difficult to remove and typically involve treatment from a dental professional.

A question that we are often asked at Falmouth Dental Arts is “Do those whitening kits I can buy at the drug store actually work?” The answer is: Maybe!

For easy to remove light staining, in some cases they can do the trick. Best of all, it certainly won’t hurt to try them! However, we find that most of our patients achieve mush better results with professionally supervised whitening. Not only are the materials stronger, but in many cases we fabricate a custom application tray which fits your teeth perfectly, allowing the whitening materials to work at their maximum.

The good news is, you no longer have to put up with yellow unsightly teeth! Modern tooth whitening techniques are one of the greatest, easiest to use, most predictable and economically comfortable advances we have seen in dentistry in a long time! At Falmouth Dental Arts we would be happy to discuss your teeth whitening options with you. Give us a call at 207-781-5900 and we’ll happily bring you in for a free whitening consultation. Our goal is to give the you biggest happiest smile possible!

When to Bring the Kids In

Here are two of the most frequent questions we are asked at Falmouth Dental Arts:

The first one is “Do you see children here?” and the answer is a resounding “YES! We love kids!”

The second is “When should I schedule my child’s first dental visit?” and the answer to that one is: “As soon as their insurance kicks in!”

Actually – that’s not true. We like to see kids usually by their 3rd birthday. Many times a child’s first dental visit involves just a quick peek at their teeth, wiping the teeth and gums with a piece of gauze and giving them a ride up and down in the dental chair. Of course everyone will tell them how good they are and how much fun it is to see the dentist – and that may be the most important part of the visit!
Studies have shown that many people avoid visiting the dentist purely out of fear – and we want to make sure that for the up and coming generation that is a thing of the past. With so many modern ways to make dentistry more comfortable, there simply is no reason to be afraid! But unfortunately, television shows and movies continue to depict things in a negative light. At Falmouth Dental Arts, it is our goal to let children (and adults!) know that dental health is a comfortable, important and even fun part of our overall well being.

Here are a few more easy and important tips to pass along to those with infants or older children:

• Never nurse a baby to sleep or allow them to go to sleep with a bottle. This can cause a very harmful and serious form of cavities. If a baby must go to sleep with a bottle, only water should be used.

• Use a small-headed soft bristle toothbrush with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth. Do it twice a day, and always before bedtime.

• Even though they will eventually be lost, “baby teeth” are very important. Not only do they help children to speak and chew, they also set a straight path for the permanent teeth to erupt. If they are lost prematurely, the adult teeth can be compromised.

• Sealants are a fast, easy and effective way to prevent cavities. Be sure to ask us if your child is ready for them.

At Falmouth Dental Arts, we strive to provide the best and most comfortable treatment possible for patients of all ages. Should you have any questions about children’s dental care – or anything else – feel free to give us a call at 207-781-5900.