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Talking hockey? This dentist is all smiles


Dr. Joseph Gambacorta has been a huge Sabres fan since he was a child growing up in North Buffalo (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)


Dr. Joseph Gambacorta loves hockey so much he’s helped the Buffalo Sabres with some of the exhibits in First  Niagara Center.

He hopes that’s just the start.

His bigger plan involves building a Buffalo hockey museum.

It’s no passing fancy, either.

He is organizing an exhibit at the Buffalo  History Museum early next year to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Sabres superstar Tim Horton (Gambacorta has the last jersey he wore) and a 2015 exhibit on Sabres captains (he has some of their old gear, too).

“I probably have the biggest collection of items from the old Aud,” Gambacorta told me recently during an interview for WNY Refresh. It includes a slab of the old facade of the Aud, which leans against a wall in his third-floor office on the UB South Campus, not far from a photo of Gambacorta, his son, Patrick, and Phil Pritchard, curator of the Stanley Cup, posing with the Cup about five years ago when it came to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

You can also find a growing number of bumper stickers in the region that read
BLEEDFORTHEBLUEANDGOLD.COM, the website address that shares Gambacorta’s plan for the Buffalo Hockey Experience  Museum.

Gambacorta, 47, of Kenmore, is a homer. He got his bachelor’s and dental degrees from the University at Buffalo and closed his Harlem Road dental office after two decades last year to take a full-time job at his alma mater, as assistant dean of clinical affairs at the University at Buffalo Dental School. He’s been collecting Sabres memorabilia since he was 8 or 9, while growing up in North Buffalo.

He says he has more than 100 Sabres game uniforms and more than 200 hockey sticks, along with an array of other items.

Here’s what he told me about good eating habits when it comes to keeping healthy teeth:

What’s your philosophy of eating?

You want to eat five fruits and vegetables a day and stay away from sticky, sugary treats, anything that bathes your teeth in sugar all day: soda, caramel, hard candy, anything that’s really hard to chew. I wouldn’t eat anything that can expose my teeth to sugar for a half-hour.

What foods do you eat that are good for your teeth?

Your yogurts, your cheeses, anything that has calcium. Fruits, vegetables. Water, too, is really good. A dried-out mouth can lead to decay.

What are the staples of your diet?

Yogurt, cottage cheese, chicken, fish. Nuts. Oatmeal, I love that stuff. Pasta, unfortunately. I’m Italian. Pasta breaks down into simple sugars and starches, so it can cause problems.

The food you can’t resist?

I love M&Ms. It’s my favorite candy and it doesn’t help that my wife keeps them out in a bowl. After I eat them, I brush right away. At times, you can enjoy something but you’ve got to get bulky substances off and away from your teeth. If you can’t brush, like if you’re at a party or something, take water and rinse really well. I know some dentists who recommend wrapping a paper towel around one of your fingers and wiping your teeth.

– Scott Scanlon

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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