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How Remembrance Day Reminds Us to Practice Gratitude

Do you wear a poppy? If so, what meaning does that flower represent to you as a Canadian living in Victoria?

It's been over 100 years since World War I — The Great War — was finally ended when a truce was made between Germany and the Allies. The armistice was signed on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918. Which is why this day, November 11th, has become such an important opportunity to remember the great sacrifices that were made and to feel gratitude for how fortunate we are here in Canada.

Now, November 11th has become the the day when countries around the world pause to remember those who fought and died in wars. Although Remembrance Day is typically associated with World Wars One and Two, it has since grown into a day when we honour veterans of every war where Canadians fought, to remember their participation and sacrifices.

How Can Remembrance Day Remind You to Practice Gratitude?

If you think about it, Remembrance Day is, at its core, about memory, respect, appreciation, and gratitude.

Certainly one of the easiest ways we can practice gratitude by buying a poppy to show our gratitude of veterans - and remembering to wear it each day until November 11th! This tradition is a daily reminder to be grateful in honour of those who fought - and continue to fight - in wars so that the rest of us will be safe and live in peace.

Remembrance Day is a prefect time for us to notice and reflect on the many things we’re thankful for here in Canada. Regular, daily gratitude practice has been shown to help shift a person's state of mind from negative focused to positive.

It's so simple, yet so powerful. Even something so quick and easy as starting your day by writing down 3 things you are grateful for, if done regularly, can have a cumulative, lasting effect. Double that effect if you also do it at night just before bed! Imagine, waking up thinking about what you are grateful for and going to bed thinking about that too... what sort of impact would that have on your life?

Gratitude for Peace

Veterans have made huge sacrifices for us all. For many of us, it can be difficult to imagine what they've seen, experienced and are still going through. Thanks to them, we are fortunate to enjoy a tremendous quality of life in Canada (especially here in Victoria, BC!).

This Remembrance Day, allow yourself to feel gratitude for the peace and stability that fosters this quality of life and appreciate those who have fought for us, remembering the bravery and sacrifice that our freedom has cost. Lest we forget.

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How to Avoid a Cavity Nightmare After Halloween

Halloween is one of the best days of the year for kids (and some of us adults too!). Costumes, fireworks, ghoulish decorations everywhere and of course... candy!

However, as much fun as it is, it can be a nightmare for kids' mouths!

After the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of going through the loot, it's important to know which candies could quickly turn from sweet tasting pleasure to cavity pain.

And of course, just because we work in dental care, doesn't mean that we aren't saying not to eat ANY sweets! GASP! Naturally, you will want to know which ones can be eaten without guilt... so we are here to help you and your kids have a happy AND healthy post-Halloween!

Candies to Avoid

Sticky, Gummy Candies

Any candy that is sticky or chewy will stick to teeth and is hard to brush off. It also gets into difficult to reach places, that definitely will need to be flossed away. If left to cling to your teeth for too long, the sugars will have lots of time to form cavities.

Sticky candies can include:

  • Gummy candies
  • Toffees
  • Caramels
  • Jelly beans
  • Ju-Jubes
  • Starburst
  • Liquorice
  • Sugary gum
Hard Candies and Lollipops

Teeth are very durable, but hard candies and suckers can still chip or crack teeth very easily. Like gummy candies, they also stick to your teeth and can wreak havoc on your teeth for hours after eating them.

Hard candies can include:

  • Sucker and lollipops
  • Jaw breakers
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • LifeSavers
  • Nerds
  • Sugary mints
Sour Candies

Citric acids in sour candies produce the sour flavour - but it can also attack tooth enamel. Since many sour candies are often either gummy or hard, this creates a double nightmare for cavities! Sour candies are one of the worst candies your kids can eat. If you can, try to sneak them out of their loot bag without them noticing. It could be one of the best things you can do for your kid's dental health!

Sour candies can include:

  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Sour Keys
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Warheads

What to Do if You Want to Eat Candies to Avoid

If you or your kids are going to eat hard, sour or sticky candies, it's very important to brush and floss right away.

Moderation is also key, because you want to be careful not to brush too often, as this can also have problems. Brushing too often is hard on gums and can strip away many of the good, barriers that teeth need to protect them.

Dentist Approved Sweet Treats

Sugar-Free Gum

Sugar-free gum can actually be good for your teeth. 20 minutes of chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva and neutralizes cavity-causing bacteria, which aids in preventing tooth decay.


Chocolate lovers rejoice! Yet another reason to love chocolate! Because it melts quickly in your mouth, it doesn't have time to stick to your teeth, which means less time for cavities to form. Even better, the darker the chocolate, the less sugar is in it... which again, means less cavities!


There is nothing wrong with indulging in sweets and candies. As previously mentioned, the key is moderation and to not let the sugary treats linger in your mouth. Set a time to eat the candy and make sure to brush and floss carefully after.

That said, these hard, sticky, sugary sweets are powerful and can still cause cavities despite your best efforts.

If your child does gets a cavity or has tooth pain after eating candy from Halloween, give us a call or book your appointment online as soon as possible. This way we can catch the cavity in the early stages, before it becomes a bigger problem!

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Take the Tooth Brushing Challenge Quiz

Take the Tooth Brushing Challenge Quiz… Most People are Surprised!

It's National Brush Day, the day after Halloween, and the time to unstick all that cavity-causing candy from your teeth and brush, brush, BRUSH! (& floss!)

Speaking of... how polished is your oral hygiene? When was the last time you thought about replacing your toothbrush, or how much toothpaste you should use?

Think you really know how to brush properly? Take our quiz and find out!

Click through the slides to answer just 6 short questions to see how brushed up on your oral care you are:

Which type of brush is most effective?

  • A regular manual toothbrush
  • An electric toothbrush
  • Either one

Either one! They're both effective.

Both manual and power toothbrushes have what it takes to get the job done! Power brushes may be helpful for people who have trouble brushing on their own or are prone to more plaque buildup.

How often should you replace your toothbrush?

  • When your dentist gives you a new one
  • Every three to four months
  • Once a year

Every three to four months

Yes we give you a new toothbrush at each visit, but make sure you are changing them between appointments, too. The bristles on your toothbrush wear out over time and a worn toothbrush won’t keep your teeth as clean.

Want an easy trick to remember to change your brush every 3-4 months? New season, new toothbrush!

🌱 ☀️ 🍂 ❄️

How much is too much toothpaste to use?

  • The full length of the brush’s bristles
  • The size of a pea
  • The size of a grain of rice

A pea-sized amount.

Adults and children age 3 and older should brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Children younger than 3 should use a smear of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.

What kind of bristles should your brush have?

  • Firm
  • Medium
  • Soft


Always choose a soft-bristled brush. Firm or even medium-strength bristles may cause damage to your gums and enamel.

When brushing your teeth, don’t scrub vigorously - only brush hard enough to clean the film off your teeth. Your fluoride toothpaste will do the rest of the work.

Also, if you flossed before brushing (of course you did 'cause you're so smart right!?), that should have gotten a lot of the stuck bits in hard-to-reach places.

How often should you brush your teeth?

  • Once a day
  • Twice a day
  • When you have bad breath

Either one! They're both effective.

You should brush your teeth twice a day, ideally when you wake up in the morning and again before going to bed at night (and remember what we just mentioned about flossing, that's right, you want to do that twice a day too - see, you're so smart!)

Floss first, then brush, 2x per day.

How long should you brush your teeth for?

  • 30 seconds
  • 2 minutes
  • Until your teeth feel clean

2 minutes

Brush 2 minutes each time, twice a day for healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and to avoid painful dental problems.

Since Halloween was just last night and many of us are still in the mood, we found this video appropriate to help you kids focus on brushing their teeth. It's @ 2 mins long (hint for one of the answers in the quiz!) and it's a fun, silly, spooky song to help kids to continue brushing their teeth and get out all those icky cavity, plaque and gingivitis monsters from inside their mouths (and yours too no doubt 😉 )

Speaking of helping your kids brush their teeth long enough (and not get bored), we put together a playlist of 2 minute videos (oops, another hint!) that you can choose each morning and night (yikes, another clue! geez, we're giving away the answers) to entertain your kids with a different video each time. From songs and raps, to action and mystery, there's something to keep kids up to age 7 (approx.) interested.

Of course a post about how to brush your teeth properly, wouldn't be complete without a video about How to Brush Your Teeth Properly. So here it is. It's an older style (as most dental-educational videos are), but the information is still accurate today.

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Healthy Halloween Fun for Kids

This is the last weekend before Halloween! Your kids must be so excited! Do they have costumes already? Or are you doing some last minute costume shopping this weekend? (hey, it happens!) This is also a great weekend for fun Halloween activities like pumpkin carving and kid-friendly spooky events around Victoria.

Sometimes it seems kids get so excited for Halloween that they can hardly sit still the few days leading up to it. It can drive any parent mad!

That's why we put together this MASSIVE (68 pages to be exact!) Halloween colouring and activity printout ebook for you to download to help occupy your kids this weekend (& did we mention it's 100% FREE!).

There are pages for both you and the kids to colour, activity pages that will also (sneakily) educate them about being tooth healthy and candy safe this year (obviously we had to throw that in!), games to play, masks to cut out (in case you still need a costume) and even pumpkin carving stencils. Like we said, it's HUGE! There is a lot in this free ebook to keep your kids busy this weekend.

Just download the book and print what you want to use. That's it!

And we would be remiss if we didn't include a guide to help you and your kids determine the best and worst candies when it comes to cavity criminals. This handy cheat sheet from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry makes it quick and easy to figure out the worst offenders:

Hope you have a spectacularly spooky and SAFE Halloween!

Here is the free eBook Download:

Victoria Dental Group Halloween Activity eBook


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Back to School Dental Checkup Cleaning Victoria BC

Back to School

It might seem unbelievable, but summer is almost at an end! Soon, children will be back in their classrooms ready to learn for the new school year. As for the parents, they have a million things on their mind.

Before your kids start school again, what are some things you need to check? Here is a handy list of five things you should do to get ready for the start of school.

  1. Buy School Supplies

This one is pretty obvious. Before your kids start school, they need to be stocked up on all their supplies! Thankfully, most stores are running specials this time of year, which means you can find school supplies galore for affordable prices. If you need some help figuring out what to buy, many schools send out a checklist for parents to consult. If your school does not, then you can check out one of the many helpful checklists online.

School supply needs will differ depending on your child’s age, but in general, you should make sure they have a backpack, lunch box, water bottle, binder, and plenty of notebooks and pencils.

  1. Get Everyone Back on Schedule

Summer can be a chaotic time. Whether your kids have been attending camps or group activities, they likely have had a bit more leeway now that school nights are a thing of the past. With all the excitement, it’s no wonder that bedtimes have been pushed back a bit, while wake-up times have also gotten later. With the sunset later than ever and tons of things to do, no kid wants to go to bed.

But with a few weeks to go before school starts, now is the perfect time to start adjusting everyone’s sleep schedule. You can begin by just pushing it back a bit or instituting a mandatory “quiet time” starting at eight or nine o’clock.

  1. Get Everyone Up-to-date on Medical Needs

Many schools require school physicals to participate in sports and annual vaccinations to attend class. The end of summer is the perfect time to schedule these appointments. Knock them all out at the end of the summer before the school year starts so that your kids are ready on their first day.

It’s also the perfect time to schedule their dental cleaning. Your children should visit the dentist twice a year. The end of the summer is the ideal time, while you’re getting all the other medical appointments out of the way.

This also gives us the chance to evaluate your children’s individual dental needs. If your kids are nearing the age where they might need braces, we can review their need and make a recommendation for an orthodontist before the school year gets underway.

There are many things to do to get ready for school, and it may seem overwhelming! But don’t worry — knock out the essentials to make sure your kids are ready for the first day of school. Then join all the other parents in breathing a sigh of relief.

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National Relaxation Day - How Does Stress Affect Your Teeth

National Relaxation Day

National Relaxation Day

Aug. 15 is National Relaxation Day, and it’s just in time! Even though summer is the holiday season, that doesn’t mean that adults get any time off. So, as the summer draws to a close, you might be feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation, so to say.

Life can be hectic, and often, you may be carrying stress in ways you don’t even realize. Stress can affect you physically, even if you’re not aware of it. In particular, it can affect your teeth, which, in turn, can affect your overall oral health.

How Does Stress Affect Your Teeth?

Stress affects your teeth in several ways. One of the most common ways is by increasing your risk of bruxism. This is the technical term for grinding or clenching your teeth. Although it is associated with sleep, bruxism can happen at any time, and you may not even realize that you are doing it. What is more, it is most commonly associated with emotional stress.

Bruxism isn’t only uncomfortable or even painful but can also have some serious effects on your teeth. Frequent grinding or clenching your teeth — which is often uncontrollable or subconscious — can wear away at your enamel, increasing your risk of breakage and decay. It can also cause jaw pain, poor sleep, loose teeth, and headaches.

We may recommend that you start wearing a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep. If you suffer from daytime bruxism, you can also find custom-fitted mouth guards that are clear and discreet.

But bruxism isn’t the only way that stress can damage your teeth. A common side effect of stress is a decrease in saliva, leading to a dry mouth. This can be a serious problem for your oral health. Saliva is the first line of defence against harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

When your mouth dries out, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. What is more, under chronic stress, people often neglect their oral care routine. This leads to poor dental health and can cause pain, decay, cavities, and even increase your risk of certain cancers.

What Are the Best Ways to Protect Your Teeth From Stress?

Ideally, people need to cut out their stress to help improve their oral health. But realistically, that is not always doable. The best way to protect your teeth from the effects of stress is to be diligent about your oral care and speak to us about your concerns. We may recommend you start using a mouth guard to help improve your oral health.

In the meantime, look for ways to manage your stress. This is important not just for your dental health, but also for your mental and physical health. This might mean practising relaxation exercises, seeing a counsellor, taking prescribed medication, or even just pursuing a relaxing hobby.

And of course, you should take the occasional day to relax — like National Relaxation Day.

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National Refreshment Day

The fourth Thursday in July is National Refreshment Day. This holiday might not have been around for a long time, but it is the perfect day to celebrate during the dog days of summer. Launched in 2015 by Traveler Beer Company, it’s a day to slow down, cool down, and throw down a couple of ice-cold beers.

Of course, while beer — as well as other alcoholic drinks — are tasty, they can also seriously damage your teeth. Here are a few ways you can protect your pearly whites if you decide to imbibe on this little-known holiday.

Stay hydrated.

The first thing you might think of when considering alcohol and oral health is sugar. And it’s true — alcohol does tend to have high sugar content, making it a potentially damaging drink for your enamel and gums. But there is a second, equally concerning aspect to how alcohol affects your oral health. It causes dehydration, which decreases the amount of saliva you produce. Since saliva is your mouth’s first defense against bacteria, a lack of it means that you are more likely to develop cavities and other oral problems.

Thankfully, the best way to minimize this damage is simply to stay hydrated. For every alcoholic drink you have, you should also have an eight-ounce glass of water — that’s just water, no ice.

Choose dry drinks over sweet ones.

This one might seem pretty self-explanatory, but it bears repeating. Alcohol contains a lot of sugar. Well, to be more accurate, wine and liquor contain sugar, although light beer contains less than half a gram of sugar, and regular beer contains none at all. But other types of alcohol can be extremely hard on your teeth due to their sugar content.

Wine is a big culprit. Not only is it much higher in sugar than beer, but red wines tend to stain the enamel, leaving your teeth discoloured. While regular dry wines have lower sugar content, dessert wines like sweet reds can have as much as eight grams of sugar per serving. For this reason, it may be better to choose a drier option.

Use whitening toothpaste.

If you like darker alcoholic drinks like dark beers and red wines, you may find that they tend to stain your enamel. The good news is that that doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth will be noticeably purple after a night of drinking. The bad news is that it does mean long-term effects like discolouration and a dull appearance.

If you plan on drinking a dark-coloured alcoholic drink, consider switching to a whitening toothpaste that will remove stains from your enamel. In the meantime, you may want to consider switching to a different drink or cutting back on how often you drink. After all, cutting back on alcohol improves the health of many different parts of your body, not only the mouth!

As long as you take care of your teeth, there’s no harm in an occasional drink. This Thursday, crack open a cold drink and enjoy! 🍻

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Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day

The third Saturday in July is Toss Away The “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day. If you’ve never heard of this unusual holiday, it’s all about moving forward.

On Toss Away The “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day, everyone is encouraged to write down all the things in their life that are holding them back. On this day, step away from past worries and regrets and focus entirely on the present.

Summer may seem like an odd time to be making resolutions like this, but it’s actually the perfect time of the year. Things are slower and quieter. This hot-weather lull is the ideal time to reflect on the things that are keeping you from fully appreciating the present.

So, what are some things that you can let go of on this Toss Away The “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day?

1. Paths not taken

It is easy to play back past decisions and wonder if things could have been better. But just remember that the choices you made in the past made you who you are today! So today, toss away all the thoughts of “I could have had a better job” or “I should have moved to a different home” and focus on new choices going forward. After all, no one can change the past!

2. Things you failed to achieve

There are few things that sting more than dreams you tried to achieve and just simply fell short of. Whether it was a failed exam, a flubbed interview, or a broken relationship, those failures leave a mark, making it difficult to move past them. But it is important to remember that no one is defined by their failures. Encourage yourself to remember your triumphs as well, maybe by writing them down after you toss your failures in the trash.

3. Not being good enough

There are so many reasons that we beat ourselves up. Whether we don’t feel like we’ve reached our full potential or we’re frustrated with the same failures again and again, it is all too easy to give ourselves more blame than we deserve. On this Toss Away The “Could Haves” and “Should Haves”, resolve not to define yourself by your past failures or by criteria you measure yourself by. Instead, set realistic goals for yourself and resolve to try your best. None of us can do any better than that!

What’s Next?

So, what should you do after you toss away your “could haves” and “should haves”?

Follow it up with a couple of resolutions about how things will be, going forward. Maybe this is the time to challenge yourself to try something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet dared to. Or maybe you want to make simple daily resolutions — something as simple as improving your dental care or scheduling an annual checkup.

No matter how big or small your goals are, they should be about looking forward. That’s what this day is all about!

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International Kissing Day

It’s International Kissing Day, and that means — well, it means that you should go give your loved ones a kiss. At Victoria Dental, we know that kissing is one of many things that can affect the health of your mouth. But don’t worry, we won’t regale you with any icky details about bacteria. Instead, here are five interesting facts about your mouth.

1. Enamel

Enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body. This is the outermost layer of your teeth — the layer that you see when you talk, laugh, or smile. But even though it is incredibly hard, enamel can still be damaged by unhealthy eating or oral hygiene practices, like chewing on ice or neglecting to brush your teeth every day.

2. Taste Buds

The average person has 10,000 taste buds, the tiny buds on your tongue that help you sense and process flavour in food and other substances. However, you will have much more than 10,000 taste buds over the course of your life. Your body completely replaces them every two weeks. Taste buds also don’t work alone — they need saliva to help them taste food.

3. Saliva

Saliva might seem disgusting to you, but it is actually a highly complex part of the mouth and plays a significant role there. Not only is it instrumental in tasting food, but it also is a vital part of helping prevent tooth decay. Saliva helps wash away harmful bacteria so that it doesn’t sit on your enamel all day and eat away at it.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s free of its own bacteria. In fact, one millimetre holds roughly 100 million individual bacteria. Just think about that the next time you swallow. On top of that, the average person produces between one and two litres of saliva every single day.

4. Teeth

You may not believe it, but teeth are highly unique. Your teeth and your tongue print are as unique to you as your fingerprints are. Archaeologists can tell an enormous amount of information about the people whose teeth they find. This includes everything from their diet during their life to their age when they died, and sometimes even their cause of death.

Your teeth are actually living bones, and they still have the capacity to grow and shift during your lifetime. However, they are no longer likely to develop significantly after you reach adulthood.

5. Tongue

The tongue is a unique part of your mouth for a number of reasons. It is the only muscle in the body that is not attached to your bones in any way. Instead, it is attached to your throat by a slim layer of tissue. But, size being relative, it is the strongest muscle in your body. It might be more fitting to say groups of muscles because the tongue is actually made up of muscle sections designed to help you speak, eat, and push food around in your mouth and towards your throat.

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Compliment Your Mirror

July 3 is Compliment Your Mirror Day, a holiday that most people probably don’t know about. It’s a day for people to practice self-acceptance and self-esteem by speaking directly to their reflection and reminding themselves of their own self-worth!

Looking in the mirror can be difficult for many people: About 64 percent of people say they’re not happy with the way that they look. And while practicing self-acceptance is important, it’s also important to take care of yourself.

One of the top things that many people feel uncomfortable about is their smile. Crooked teeth and enamel stains may have you feeling self-conscious.

The good news is, there are options for you to correct the way your teeth look. Many people report an increase in their self-esteem after simply just having their teeth whitened. There are also many additional benefits to whitening:

1. Improved Oral Health

One indirect result of having your teeth whitened is improved oral hygiene. Many people tend to take better care of their teeth and mouth after their whitening treatments. This means that you won’t just feel and look better; you’ll also avoid cavities and damage to your enamel as well as gum disease. Additionally, you’ll cut back on your risk of diseases like periodontitis and oral cancer.

2. Easy Maintenance

Believe it or not, it’s actually very easy to keep your teeth looking great once you undergo whitening treatments. After your initial treatment, you can “refresh” your whitening job at home with homecare whitening kits. These usually take about 30 minutes once every few weeks.

In addition to regular “touch-ups” you can make a habit of using whitening toothpaste and mouthwash. Whitening toothpaste usually uses baking soda to gently remove food and drink stains from your enamel.

Another easy way to keep your teeth looking clean and white is to curb your intake of food and drink that stains enamel, such as coffee, tea, and red wine. You can have these in moderation, but the more you have, the more you risk staining your pearly whites. Tobacco products can also stain your teeth as well as increase your risk of oral cancer, so they’re better avoided.

3. A Better Look Without Damage

Whitening teeth through a chemical tooth whitening process is much less damaging than other treatments intended to brighten your smile, such as veneers. Putting veneers on requires your dentist to “etch” your teeth first to allow the veneers to properly bond to your tooth. This means that you lose tooth structure. Chemical whitening, on the other hand, is a simple way to remove surface stains from enamel without destroying the structure of your teeth, which can cause pain and deterioration.

What’s more, studies have shown that brighter, whiter smiles are one of the best ways to appear more youthful. So, if you’re concerned about showing your age, before you get cosmetic surgery or spend a bundle on anti-aging serums, consider whitening your teeth.

And above all, remember to be kind to yourself on Compliment Your Mirror Day!

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