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National Bike Week

It’s National Bike Week, and that means it’s time to hit the streets (or the bike trail, if you prefer). At Victoria Dental, we’re also thinking about the implications of this week. Believe it or not, there is actually evidence to suggest that exercise has an effect on your dental and oral health.

Exercise and dental care might be the last two subjects you associate, but it’s true. Like many other aspects of health, taking care of your body and taking care of your teeth go hand in hand.

Lower Risk of Gum Disease

A study by the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey came to a fascinating conclusion: people who exercise at least five times a week significantly cut back on their risk of developing gum disease. This is important since gum disease can lead to a huge number of other health problems. Untreated, it can lead to gingivitis, swelling and irritation, and pain. Severely advanced cases can even result in loss of teeth, cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

This is good news for athletes. A moderate workout (such as a bike ride) five days a week can lessen your risk of these health problems. Alternatively, a high-intensity workout three days a week has the same effect.

The Link Between BMI and Your Mouth

But that’s not the only effect that exercise has on your oral health. There is also evidence to show that your body mass index or BMI also impacts your teeth for better or for worse. Obesity gives rise to a host of health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. These, in turn, are known for their effect on the health of your teeth and gums.

Studies show that people with a normal BMI — especially those who exercise regularly and follow a proper diet — have a 40 percent reduced risk of developing periodontitis.

How to Protect Your Mouth While You Exercise

It’s great to exercise regularly. But there are also some ways that athletes’ oral health can suffer. This isn’t because of the exercise itself but rather because of habits connected with exercise. To protect your teeth while getting your workout in, there are a few simple steps you should follow.

Firstly, be mindful of the way you breathe while you work out. It can be tempting to try to breathe through your mouth as your heart rate accelerates, but this spells disaster for your teeth. Mouth breathing leads to a loss of saliva and a drier mouth. This is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which results in tooth decay. Make sure to breathe through your nose and hydrate as much as possible.

You should also be cautious about drinking sports drinks like Gatorade. These may be a good choice to hydrate and replenish electrolytes, but they’re also extremely high in sugar. Try to find a balance between getting the nutrients you need and protecting your teeth from sugary drinks. Some sugar is important after working out, but it is possible to overdo it.

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What to Get Your Mother For Mother’s Day (That Isn’t Candy)

Spring might be a festive season, but it’s not exactly a good time for teeth. If you are looking ahead, you know that Mother’s Day is coming up. Your mother has done everything for you, so you can’t forget her! Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to give her something unhealthy. Traditional Mother’s Day gifts might include flowers, cards, and chocolates, but let’s face it, you can do better!

Studies show that more and more, people are turning to gifts that have practical purposes or are meaningful. So what are the best gifts for Mother’s Day that are thoughtful, unique, and won’t wreck Mom’s teeth?


  1. An Experience for the Two of You to Share

Let’s face it: Your mom always wants to spend more time with you, and your life probably gets far too busy to make that happen as often as she’d like. Why not think of her favourite hobbies and book a time for you to enjoy them together? Maybe your mother loves to paint and would enjoy a paint-and-sip class with you. Or maybe she’s a fan of salsa dancing and would love to spend an evening at a local ballroom. Whatever her interests, taking the time to enjoy them with her will earn you the title of Favourite Child.

  1. A Gift with Meaning 

Anyone can buy an expensive gift, but mothers would rather have a homemade gift that comes from the heart. This is an especially great choice if you are running low on cash. There is no need to spend a lot of money; just remind her of a fond memory! Whether that means a framed photo of the family at a special event or a collage of postcards from all the trips you’ve taken together, be creative. Making a gift from the heart will mean so much to your mom. If you think you’re too old to be making collages for your mother, ask her what she thinks of the idea. We bet you’ll see some waterworks.

  1. A Gift That Helps Her Relax

Show your appreciation for all the hard work that your mother does by treating her to some TLC. Whether this means a day at the spa, a massage, or a special bubble bath mix, there are tons of options for helping your mother kick back and take a break. Let her know that you are grateful for all those late nights, homework assignments, and home-cooked dinners by helping her get off her feet.

If you want a gift that keeps on giving, consider signing her up for a self-care subscription. There are companies that will deliver monthly packages right to your door, filled with lotions, bath bombs, and other self-care products. No one works as hard as a mom – and that’s why no one should relax as hard as a mom.


This Mother’s Day, you don’t need to rely on kitschy cards or unhealthy sweets. Show your mother that you care with a more personal gift!

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Mother Goose Day

National Mother Goose day takes place this week and, believe it or not, that means something incredibly important. Mother Goose day celebrates reading while also lending an opportunity to incorporate educational elements. For example, both reading and dental care are vital to children, and it’s important to teach them about these topics when they’re still young. But how can you get your strong-willed toddler or grumpy kindergartner to brush their teeth? Why not encourage them with a book? Here is a list of the best dentist- and Mother Goose-approved books for kids about brushing their teeth.


  1. Brush, Brush, Brush! By Alicia Padron

This clever board book is for toddlers who are just starting to learn the concept of keeping their teeth clean and healthy. Set to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” the book is easy to sing and easy for kids to learn and remember. It begins, “Are your teeth clean and white, do you brush them day and night?” With an easy-to-memorize tune, it’s also the perfect way to make actual teeth brushing a little easier for your toddler. Just sing the toothbrushing song and with any luck, you’ll cut back on the tantrums.

  1. Sesame Street’s Ready, Set, Brush!

If you have a little Elmo or Cookie Monster fan in your house, this book is the perfect way to encourage them to learn about taking care of their teeth. Children are naturally resistant to brushing their teeth, so seeing their favourite fictional friends brush makes the process much easier. Here’s a pro tip to make it even better: There’s a special Elmo teeth-brushing song that encourages children to brush each section of their mouth, rinse, and spit. Just be forewarned: it’s catchy and you’ll be singing it all day.

  1. Sugarbug Doug, by Dr. Ben Magleby

You’ll notice that the author’s name has a title in front of it. Yes, this one was written by a dentist to teach children all about cavities, plaque, and why they need to clean their mouths clean and healthy. It depicts oral hygiene as a battle between the naughty sugarbugs and all of us who are working to keep our mouths clean. It’s an adorable book with a storyline that children love – and it helps brushing teeth make sense to them, often for the first time!

  1. The Tooth Book: A Healthy Guide to Teeth and Gums, by Edward Miller

A book for older children, The Tooth Book is a foray into all things tooth-related, both those that you probably knew and those that you definitely didn’t. This book is full of scientific facts, odd stories about dentistry in the past, and much more. It is the perfect choice for kids who are old enough to know how to brush their teeth but might just need a little reminder why!


It’s often difficult to encourage children to foster a healthy oral care routine. Celebrate Mother Goose Day with books that will help you do just that!

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National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

The end of the month is approaching, and that means that it is almost National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. As many of our patient's know, our team are all animal lovers and our office is pet friendly, so this is a day that is dear to us.

If you haven't met our Director of Greetings (D.o.G.), Sadie, feel free to drop by our office anytime to say hello!

Speaking of pets, if you have a beloved dog, cat or other furry friend in your home, you know that it’s just as important to take care of their teeth as it is to take care of your own. Making sure your pets have healthy teeth is vital to their overall health. This is the perfect week to review what you do to keep your pets’ teeth healthy and strong.

So, what do you need to do to improve your dog’s or cat’s oral hygiene?

Oral Hygiene for Dogs

When you look at your dog’s mouth, there are a few things you should look for to make sure your pooch is healthy. You should be able to see if your dog has any inflammation in his or her mouth. A healthy mouth for a dog means that all teeth are intact, not broken or cracked. Gums should be pink (or black in some breeds) and there should not be any signs of bleeding or redness. Your pup’s tongue should be moist and pink without any cuts, sores, or mottled spots. You should always call your veterinarian if you notice any lumps, cuts, inflammation, or gums that are pale or bleeding.

Of course, just checking your dog’s teeth isn’t enough to keep them healthy. You should also be giving them regular cleanings to help avoid dangerous plaque buildup and other problems. Ideally, you should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day, but if that is too overwhelming for either of you, three days a week can make a huge difference.

You can find special toothbrushes for dogs and even toothpaste that helps keep their mouths healthy. Of course, you should never use human toothpaste to brush a dog’s teeth, as it can make them extremely ill.

Oral Hygiene for Cats

Regular dental care is also important for your feline friends. But it’s no secret that cats aren’t exactly fans of being touched on their face or their mouth. The best way to tackle this issue is to start small. Give your cat dental treats and washes formulated for cats. When you think he or she is ready, you can start gently introducing them to the idea of actually brushing their teeth. You can also find special dental treats that are fortified with special enzymes. These enzymes help kill harmful bacteria in your cat’s mouth. If you are ever in doubt, just ask your veterinarian.

Of course, while at-home care is important, your pet also needs to get a professional cleaning once every few years. This takes place at your regular veterinary office under sedation. It might not be fun, but it’s the best way to make sure your furry friend is safe and healthy.

You might not always remember that pets need dental care just like humans do. What better time to remember then during National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day? While you’re picking up your new friend, pick up a toothbrush for them too! #woof

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Choosing Snacks That are Easy on Your Teeth

Did you know that April 18 is National Animal Crackers Day? These slightly sweetened crackers are a favourite of children everywhere and have been around since the 19th century. As a cookie, they’re a fairly good choice since they contain a lot less sugar than your average sweet treat.

Snacking can raise some important questions when it comes to caring for your teeth. There are so many snacks that contain hidden sugars – or maybe some not-so-hidden sugars.

So what is the best way to curb your mid-afternoon hunger without overindulging in tooth-harming sugary treats? Here are a few guilt-free snack ideas for healthy teeth:

Fresh or preserved fruit

 If you have a hankering for something sweet, try fruit over cakes or cookies. Fruit contains fructose, a natural sugar, so it does have some effect on your oral health. As with all things, snack in moderation. You can choose either fresh or canned fruit but steer clear of dried fruit as it tends to stick to your teeth and cause decay. If you do opt for canned fruit, make sure it’s preserved in natural juice rather than high fructose corn syrup or other sugar syrup. Fruit is a great way to get sweet variety in your diet without putting your teeth at risk.

Here’s a fun fact: Apples are actually good for your teeth! Often called “nature’s toothbrush,” this fibrous fruit can scrub away plaque buildup and kill nasty bacteria. Of course, make sure you don’t actually substitute an apple for brushing your teeth.

Yogurt

If you’re a dairy fan, you can get excited: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are full of calcium, which is vital for strengthening your teeth. However, you should be careful when choosing a yogurt – many brands are full of sugar, which, of course, is bad news for oral health.

Instead of a sugary kind, opt for plain or lightly sweetened Greek yogurt. Then, get creative with the taste, adding cinnamon or other mix-ins to make a more interesting snack.

High-fiber veggies

If you’re a vegetable fan, you’re in luck: There are a lot of vegetables that are great for your teeth. Hard, fibrous veggies like celery and carrots remove plaque from teeth and are naturally low in sugar. What’s more, many people report that as they eat less sugar and more vegetables and fruits, they start to feel more satisfied by the natural sweetness in produce. Just think about satisfying your sweet tooth with a sweet, juicy carrot.

Nuts and Seeds

Peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and other nuts and seeds contain healthy minerals that are vital for healthy tooth enamel. This enamel is often stripped by damaging foods containing acid, such as citrus. If you want to give your enamel a boost, try snacking on your favourite nuts and seeds occasionally. Not only are they delicious and good for your teeth; they’re also full of good protein that will leave you feeling satisfied. It’s a great alternative to sugary treats that hurt your teeth.

 

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3 Ways to Spring Clean Your Dental Routine

Spring has sprung at last, and you are probably starting to think about spring cleaning your house. But did you know that you should also be “spring cleaning” your teeth? Now that winter is over, it’s time to be more productive and make some changes. That means it’s the perfect time to start up a new dental routine or improve your old one.

So, what should you be doing to freshen things up for spring?

Replace Your Toothbrush

Experts say that you should replace your toothbrush every three to six months. This is especially true if you have been sick. During the winter, you probably caught a cold or respiratory virus, so spring is the right time to toss that germy toothbrush. There are more reasons than one to do so, though. As bacteria accumulates on the brush and the bristles get bent, your toothbrush cleans less effectively. And you want to make sure your oral hygiene is top-notch.

While you are preparing to get a new toothbrush anyway, this might get the perfect time to think about buying an electric toothbrush. These drastically improve the efficiency of your brushing routine. In fact, some estimates say that if the average person brushes their teeth at a rate of 100 brushstrokes per minute, electric toothbrushes do about 300 times as much.

Evaluate Your Toothpaste

Are you using the right kind of toothpaste? It’s important to be sure. Many kinds of toothpaste that are advertised as ‘whitening’ won’t really fix your problem, but rather just lift a few surface stains. You need toothpaste that will really keep your teeth looking great while also fighting bacteria on your gumline.

Above all, make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride, the cavity-fighting compound that keeps teeth healthy and looking great. It’s one of the best ways to fight tooth decay. As for your other toothpaste needs, you can choose whether you’d like a whitening toothpaste, cavity protection, or toothpaste for sensitive teeth. But fluoride is non-negotiable when it comes to oral health.

Double-check Your Brushing Routine

It’s not just about the right toothbrush and toothpaste. The way you brush your teeth also makes an enormous difference in the state of your oral hygiene. Make sure you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once — preferably in the evening, to remove all the food particles of the day before sleep.

But what’s the best way to actually brush your teeth?

First, make sure you’re brushing for at least two minutes. You can go longer if you would like! Brush in small circles, moving the toothbrush along your gumline to remove any stubborn bacteria. Of course, you should also brush your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth as well, as a lot of bacteria accumulate there too.

Spring is also the perfect time to schedule your regular dental cleaning. When the seasons change, it’s time to stop in to Victoria Dental to make sure your teeth are ready for summer!

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4 Fun Easter Activities That Don’t Involve Sweets

4 Fun Easter Activities – That Don’t Involve Sweets

Easter is right around the corner, and there are many fun activities on the horizon. But if you have children, you might be dreading the inevitable barrage of candy that they will get during Easter activities. It’s true that many Easter celebrations can be hard on your teeth, but the good news is that finding alternatives to sweets doesn’t have to be boring. You can still have lots of fun without hurting your teeth. Here are four fun Easter activities that will provide tons of fun without putting your oral health at risk!

  1. Potato Sack Race

At your next Easter get-together, organize a potato sack race for all the kids (or adults) to enjoy. Let them hop along to the finish line, just like the Easter bunny himself. If you want to add a little bit of extra fun, you can provide bunny ears for everyone to wear while they take part in the race. You can even add a personal touch by customizing the sacks with fun springtime colours or whatever else you would like. It may not involve sweets, but it is still a lot of fun that every child at your event will enjoy.

  1. Cascarones

Cascarones are a fun Easter tradition from Mexico. These are an alternative to Easter eggs, making them a great, colourful egg tradition that is not filled with jelly beans, M&Ms, and other cavity-making sweets. But they are not just pretty eggs — they’re also a sneaky Easter game. These colourful eggs are hollowed out and then filled with confetti. What’s the point of this all? To surprise your friends and family when they’re not expecting it and crack the eggs on their head, showering them in colourful confetti. It’s all the fun without any of the sugar.

  1. Painting Ukrainian Easter Eggs

This Easter tradition is a great way to teach your children about other cultures around the world. This is a fun activity that is unlike any other experience of dying Easter eggs. First, use hot wax to drip designs on the eggs and a special stick to write words or move the wax around in patterns. Then dip the egg into regular Easter egg dye. You will be amazed to see the hidden patterns that emerge! It is also a fun opportunity to learn some words in Ukrainian, like “pysanky” (Easter eggs) and “kistka” (special pen tool).

  1. Alternative Easter Egg Hunts 

Easter eggs don’t have to be filled with candy! You can still put on fun, sugar-free Easter egg hunts with eggs full of fun toys, games, or scavenger hunt clues. Small egg hunters will have a blast looking for treasures… even if they aren’t sweet ones. There are many ideas online if you get stumped. Don’t hesitate to plan an all-out Easter bash even if you don’t want to provide candy. There are lots of fun options you can use to make the day fun and special.

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Spring Cleaning

There are many things happening this week as we approach the end of March. Already, Winter is over, and Spring is in the air and there are plenty of things to celebrate!

March 30 is National Doctors’ Day. On this day, communities come together to recognize the contributions of doctors across all specialties. The first National Doctors’ Day was celebrated in Georgia in 1933. On that day, Eudora Brown Almond, the wife of a physician, decided to take a day to thank the doctors in her community.

She sent cards to all the doctors that she knew. But she also wanted to thank the physicians that had passed away. She knew that they had helped her community too, even if people didn’t remember them. So, she put flowers out on the grave of every late doctor. The flowers she chose, red carnations, are used in celebrations of National Doctors’ Day to this day.

But there was one more important thing about that first National Doctors’ Day celebration. Eudora chose March 30 for a very particular reason: March 30, 1842, was the first documented use of ether anaesthetic during surgery, used by Dr. Crawford W. Long.

Technology and our understanding of the human body and mind have made incredible advancements since then and we're learning more every year. Our resident dentist, Dr. Rocky has over 30 years experience practising dentistry and every year our entire team attends conferences and training to make sure we're all up-to-date with the most current information and techniques. So you can feel confident knowing you are always receiving the best dental care possible.

But that’s not all that’s going on during the last week of March. In fact, the whole week is dedicated to something that’s perfect for this time of year: cleaning. That’s right, the last week of March is National Spring Cleaning Week.

National Spring Cleaning Week is the perfect time to wash away all the things that have gone under your radar during the long, cold months of winter. This is the time to open your windows, air your house out, and get rid of that cold-weather buildup.

Spring cleaning means something different for everyone. Regardless, this is the time to tackle all those chores that you’ve been putting off for months. Whether that means giving your floors a deep clean, scrubbing out your tub, or tackling the old storage pile in your attic, spring is the time to get things clean and ready for the warm months once again.

Some people use this week as the time to organize things into donation boxes. After all, you’re probably rotating your winter clothes out for your summer ones. Why not add a box of clothes you no longer want to run down to your local donation centre?

Spring is the perfect time for cleaning more than just your home. It’s also a good time to schedule your next dental cleaning. Victoria Dental Group is ready to help you clean up your summer smile. There’s no better time to spruce up your life inside and out, than National Cleaning Week!

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International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness

March 20 is the International Day of Happiness, and this year, the day comes with a special theme. That theme is “Happier Together.” Today, people are encouraged to reach out to one another and remember that we are all happier and stronger when we’re together.

So, this year, the International Day of Happiness is a day to focus on the things that we share. Whatever your race, creed, or nationality, we all share in humanity — and that’s a reason to be happy!

The International Day of Happiness is sponsored by the United Nations. The goal of the day is to remember that progress throughout the world is about making people happier and improving the quality of their lives. And no matter where we come from, that’s something we can all agree on.

In fact, in 2011 the United Nations General Assembly declared that happiness is a fundamental goal for all people. They also declared a need for an economic growth that is more inclusive, equitable, and balanced, and will promote the happiness and well-being of everyone in the world. The first observation of the International Day of Happiness took place on March 20, 2013.

Each year has had a different focus. In 2015, the theme was “relationships,” encouraging people to cultivate their relationships and foster happier relationships. It also encouraged people to take the initiative of reaching out to others. It reminded them of the importance of establishing relationships and friendships with the lonely, the outcast, and those who had no one else to rely on.

There are so many ways to increase people’s happiness. The International Day of Happiness is all about encouraging people to find ways to increase happiness in their homes and communities. Not only for themselves but for others as well. Some of that involves knowing what humans need to be happy, like society, common ground, support, and more.

So, this year, make it your resolution to reach out to someone and start — or repair — a happy relationship. Perhaps you’ve had a conflict with someone. Or maybe you’ve just spotted someone who could do with some help. Maybe you’ve even thought of a way that you can do a kind gesture for your whole community.

March 20th is the perfect day to volunteer at a soup kitchen or take part in a trash pickup. If you prefer something quieter, you can even invite a neighbour over for a home-cooked meal. There are many ways of making this year’s International Day of Happiness all about the theme “Happier Together.”

At Victoria Dental Group, we have another thought on our mind for International Day of Happiness — your smile! It’s important to take care of your smile by visiting the dentist for a cleaning ideally twice a year. When your teeth are healthy and cared for, your smile will look great on International Day of Happiness and all throughout the year.

The way you celebrate International Day of Happiness is up to you. No matter what gesture of kindness and unity you decide to do on March 20, make sure your smile is ready for the day. After all, the proof of being “Happier Together” is in your own smile.

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How Oral Health Affects Brain Health

How Oral Health Affects Brain Health

You might not think of your teeth as affecting your overall health. You probably especially don’t connect the state of your teeth with your brain. But the plain truth is that your oral health absolutely does affect your brain health. The way you take care of your teeth can affect how your brain functions. That’s even more reason to make sure you’re brushing and flossing, as well as going to the dentist for regular cleanings.

So, what are the ways that your oral health affects your brain health?

Believe it or not, there’s medical evidence to suggest that the way you take care of your teeth may affect whether you get Alzheimer’s disease. Preliminary studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and the amount of brain decline in the early progression of Alzheimer’s. Research is still being conducted, but the current theory is that those with gum disease have higher levels of bacteria in their bloodstream (absorbed through the unhealthy gums). Their brain is continuously exposed to these bacteria, accelerating deterioration.

And it’s not just Alzheimer’s disease. It’s any type of cognitive disease that affects memory and cell deterioration. It’s a compelling reason to make sure you avoid gum disease at all costs!

Losing teeth due to inadequate oral hygiene also has effects on the neuroplasticity of the brain. Adults who have lost several teeth have higher rates of anxiety and depression and often experience emotional fluctuations and other emotional issues. The way the brain processes emotions and experiences changes as a result of tooth loss. It seems like an amazing claim, and the fact is, science hasn’t yet discovered conclusively how this works exactly. But research does show that tooth loss and gum disease can influence the way the brain functions in regard to emotion and memory.

All of this is a particularly timely subject. Brain Awareness Week, an international effort focused on the ongoing research in brain disease and function, occurs every year in mid-March. Oral health would be a great subject for this year’s conferences. There is certainly a need for more research to establish stronger, more defined links between tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and brain function.

Brain Awareness Week began in the mid-90s as an effort in the United States to discuss current scientific neurological research. A quarter of a century later, the event has spread to all corners of the globe. Conferences and other events will happen all over the world as people come together to discuss important topics. But it’s not just for experts: Brain Awareness Week events can also include school children, government officials, seniors, businesses, and many more.

Some events feature tours of neuroscience laboratories or museums for school trips. Others include lectures on neuroscience or public awareness campaigns on related topics. Perhaps a good awareness campaign this year would be on the importance of using good oral care, including brushing, flossing, and going to regular dental check-ups to keep your mouth in top shape.

How Oral Health Affects Brain Health
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