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National Toothbrush Day

National Toothbrush Day is here, and it’s time to celebrate! Well, maybe you’re not celebrating this holiday with a party or gifts, but there’s no reason not to observe it.

Did you know that it is recommended for you to change your toothbrush every three months? Or, if it’s frayed, you should replace it even sooner. You should also get a new toothbrush if you have recently been sick, especially if you had an norovirus or a similar illness.

So what should you look for in a toothbrush?

Soft Bristles

You might think that harder bristles are tougher when it comes to scrubbing bacteria off your teeth, but the opposite is actually true. Soft bristles are gentle on your gums and more effective at removing plaque, debris, and bacteria from your enamel. Soft bristles can also reach more effectively into the spaces between your teeth and along your gum line.

Harder bristles are uncomfortable for many people. What is more, they have the potential to cause gum bleeding, which is one way to get an infection if bacteria from your mouth reach your bloodstream. Hard bristles can also cause the gum line to recede, which can increase the sensitivity of your teeth and cause pain when you eat or drink.

Smaller Head

With toothbrushes, bigger isn’t necessarily better. You want a smaller head that you can easily maneuver around your mouth. A larger toothbrush can make it difficult to reach your back molars or other parts of your mouth, so it doesn’t usually clean your teeth as effectively.

As for the shape of the head and the grip of the toothbrush, those are up to you. The main point is to have soft, pliable bristles and a small head that cleans every part of your mouth.

What About Electric Toothbrushes?

You may have heard that electric toothbrushes clean your teeth more effectively, but this isn’t necessarily the case. However, they can be helpful for anyone who needs help brushing their teeth or who have a limited range of motion in their hands. People who have arthritis or who are wearing a wrist cast or brace may find electric toothbrushes helpful to increase the range of their brushing. Similarly, if you have extremely crooked or unusually spaced or crowded teeth, you may find that an electric toothbrush is more effective for you.

Another benefit of an electric toothbrush is that it may motivate you to brush your teeth more regularly and effectively. Some electric toothbrushes are equipped with timers to ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes. Some people find this a highly effective way to improve their oral hygiene. If this will help you, an electric toothbrush may be a good investment for you. If not, you may as well save the money as they can get expensive.

Finding a proper toothbrush doesn’t have to be hard. Focus on the basics and keep it simple if you like. Soft bristles and the proper size head will help your teeth shine.

Dentist's Tip:

If you haven't changed your toothbrush in a while, chances are you haven't had your teeth cleaned recently either. Schedule your next cleaning appointment today and we'll send you home with a brand new toothbrush too!

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Father’s Day

Father’s Day is here, which means that it is time to start thinking of the ways you can thank your dad for all the things he’s given you. Of course, there is one thing that he may have contributed that you haven’t thought of: your teeth!

Scientists have different opinions on the extent that genetics affect our dental health. You cannot simply blame poor oral health on your parents. But what we do know is that there are some dental issues that run in families. Familiarizing yourself with your family’s dental history is a good way to know what you might be able to expect from your own teeth, especially as you age. So, what can you attribute to genetics, and what is unique to you?

Tooth Spacing

If you had braces to correct crooked teeth, chances are your parents and siblings did too. Your genes are the big determiner of the size of your jaw. This, of course, contributes to the spacing and orientation of your teeth. Thankfully, orthodontic and dental care has made rapid progressions in recent decades, so you probably had a much more pleasant treatment than your father did. And don’t worry — if you have children, they will probably have an even easier one than you.

Wisdom Teeth

The orientation and timeline of your wisdom teeth are also affected, at least in part, by your genes. Not everyone even has wisdom teeth. Those lucky few may well have avoided wisdom tooth extraction because of their parents. But studies show that the way your wisdom teeth come in, how many you have, and even when they erupt (or if they erupt at all) may be determined by your family history. Anyone who has had their wisdom teeth removed knows that it isn’t much fun. If you were lucky enough to avoid it, thank Mom and Dad.

Oral Cancer

If you have oral cancer in your family, don’t feel panicked. Genetics does play a role in your risk of mouth cancer but only a small one. Lifestyle is a much bigger contributor. If you are worried about your chances of developing oral cancer, there are a few things you can do.

First, avoid tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption. Tobacco is one of the best ways to increase your risk of developing mouth or throat cancer. Secondly, be diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth, and report any abnormal findings to your dentist. Thirdly, schedule regular cleanings. Every six to 12 months is how often you need a dental cleaning. This is the best way to keep your mouth clean and healthy and address any problems in their early stages.

What Isn’t the Result of Genetics?

While some conditions are inherited from your parents, others are simply the result of lifestyle. Tooth decay, enamel damage, and stains are mostly due to smoking, alcohol, and diet choices. As for the things that are genetic, if you have great teeth, add that to the list of things to thank your father for this Father’s Day.

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Higher Education Day

Have you ever really thought about what it takes to become a dentist? It’s a good thing to know! After all, when you sit down in a dentist’s chair, you’re trusting them with your oral health and hygiene. And that, in turn, can affect the health of many parts of your body, including your brain and heart.

So, what really goes into becoming someone who can make your teeth sparkle?

Even if you don’t know all the ins and outs of what it takes to become a dentist, you probably know at least one thing: there’s a lot of school involved.

School, School, and More School

The first stepping-stone to becoming a dentist is completing your bachelor’s degree. This can technically be in any major. However, most people who are now going into dentistry choose a science major. This might be chemistry, biology, or other kind of science. This is all in preparation to eventually go to dental school and of course, earn a doctorate.

After students obtain their bachelor’s degree, there is — you guessed it — more school. When four years of undergraduate are complete, students go on to four years of dental school. This includes roughly 100 hours of observation in a professional dentist’s office. Some universities even require longer hours! In short, there is a lot of both practical and theoretical knowledge being learned.

Many dental students are encouraged to take part in hobbies that develop the dexterity and agility of both their hands. This might include drawing, knitting, calligraphy, piano, or embroidery. This makes sense since dentists are required to perform delicate, complicated surgical procedures with a variety of tools. Next time you are in the dentist’s chair, ask how they managed to get so good at their craft. You may even find that you share a hobby!

And Lots of Tests

Everyone who becomes a dentist has to pass a Dental Aptitude Test before they can get into dental school. Once they get into dental school, they will graduate with their DDS (Doctorate of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctorate of Medical Dentistry). These are equal to one another and just indicate a difference in specialties.

Of course, your dentist might have even more schooling under their belt! There are other specialties in the field of dental work, including endodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics, and prosthodontics.

Why Do People Choose to Become Dentists?

There are a lot of reasons why people decide to study dentistry! Dentists get to enjoy a good salary, of course, but there are many more benefits than that. Many dentists enjoy being able to help people in ways that actually permanently impact their lives. The importance of dental health can’t be exaggerated. The state of your teeth can affect not just your oral health, but all the systems of your body. What is more, your teeth can have a strong tie to your self-esteem. People feel physically and emotionally more comfortable when their teeth look great. And dentists get to help them achieve that!


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Senior Health and Fitness Day

The month of May is coming to a close, and it is almost time for National Senior Health and Fitness Day! This holiday takes place on the last Wednesday in the month of May. In 2019, that is May 29.

It is incredibly important to stay active as you get older. In fact, you probably know that you will have to pay a lot more attention to most things as you age: your diet, your daily activity, your exercise routine, and more. But how you take care of your teeth also changes. As you move into your golden years, make sure you follow these steps for keeping your teeth healthy and strong.

  1. Be consistent with your dental care.

For some people, taking care of their teeth as they get older is not all that different from any other time of their life! They may need to switch to an electric toothbrush or a toothbrush with softer bristles. Older people sometimes have problems with gum disease or more active tooth decay, so brushing can be painful.

  1. Ask your dentist about a night guard.

Life is hard on your teeth. Unfortunately, being older means you have decades of wear behind you. That means your teeth may be prone to breaking or chipping. This can be incredibly painful and cause a host of other dental problems, such as infection. To keep your teeth safe, avoid chewing ice or anything that is extremely hard. If you are prone to grinding your teeth at night, ask your dentist if you should start using a mouth guard.

  1. Increase your water intake.

Many people experience a reduction in saliva as they get older. This is often a result of medication. While it is an annoying side effect, it can actually have serious consequences. Dry mouths are more prone to harboring bacteria that cause tooth decay. The best way to fight this is by drinking more water on a daily basis.

If you can, drink tap water over bottled water. Most cities provide fluoridated water to their residents. Fluoride is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy and strong.

  1. Be gentle on sensitive teeth.

As you get older, it is likely that you will have to make some diet changes to protect your teeth. Teeth get more sensitive with age. This means it may be a good idea to reduce your sugar intake – this includes limiting sweet drinks like pop and juice. You may even find that drinking very hot or cold drinks hurts your teeth. If you have pain, experiment with cutting certain things out of your diet.

  1. Watch for signs of disease.

As you get older, you are more likely to develop gum disease or some kinds of oral cancers. This does not mean you are likely to get a disease, so there is no need to panic. Regularly check your mouth for any unexplained bleeding, discoloration, pain, or lumps. If you bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth, make sure to mention it to your dentist.

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National Wine Day

National Wine Day

Wine lovers can rejoice: May 25 is National Wine Day. There are not many things as enjoyable as relaxing with a glass of wine at the end of a long day. But when it comes to taking care of your teeth, alcohol can cause some real damage.

Alcohol can affect not just your teeth but also your gums. This doesn’t mean it should be totally off the menu at all times! It simply means that if you decide to imbibe, you should take a few extra precautions to keep your mouth safe and healthy.

How Does Alcohol Damage Your Teeth?

You may think that alcohol hurts your teeth and gums because it is high in sugar. While that is true, it is not the only issue. Alcohol causes dehydration, which leads to a reduction of saliva. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

Excessive drinking raises your risk of gum bleeding, an early indication of gum disease, even if you don’t already have periodontitis. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop gum disease. But it certainly is a warning sign and one that you shouldn’t take lightly.

A big problem with dark alcohol like red wine is that it can cause staining on your enamel. This is not a health problem, but it is a cosmetic one. However, many types of alcohol do eat away at your enamel because of high sugar or acid content.

How Should You Protect Your Teeth From Alcohol Damage?

There are a few ways to protect your teeth from alcohol damage. However, the reality is that they are fairly straightforward. If you are concerned about damage to your teeth from alcohol, consider limiting how much and how often you drink.

Aside from avoiding alcohol, the best way to protect your teeth is to establish a solid oral hygiene routine. This means brushing twice a day for at least two minutes. Make small circles with your toothbrush, making sure to brush away from your gumline.

Floss at least once a day before brushing. This ensures that you loosen bacteria and food particles from between your teeth. Since between your teeth is a prime place for cavities to form, it is vital to clean those spaces regularly. Of course, you should also use a fluoride-based toothpaste and follow up with mouthwash.

If you are concerned about staining from alcohol, there are also treatments you can find, but tread carefully. Some tooth-whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity. If you want to remove stains from alcohol (or other foods), the best thing to do is ask your doctor about professional whitening procedures.

Of course, you should also schedule regular dentist’s appointments every six months. These will include a cleaning and inspecting for cavities, decay, or gum disease. You can also ask your dentist about the best way to protect your teeth from alcohol. If you are taking care of your teeth in general, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a glass of wine on National Wine Day!

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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.


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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