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TV Shows and Books to Help Prep Your Kids for the Dentist

Most kids understandably have a bit of anxiety about a stranger poking and prodding around in their mouth. However, regular visits to the dentist are absolutely crucial to overall oral health and hygiene, especially in childhood, so it is important that moms and dads help to alleviate this anxiety.

Check out these iconic characters from beloved TV series and books that can help to prepare your child for the dentist:

“Dora the Explorer”

Luckily for parents of “Dora the Explorer” fans, there is an entire episode of this series dedicated to the dentist. Dora visits the dentist and has an excellent experience, learning tons of useful things she never new about her teeth. It is a great way to not only alleviate a child’s dentist anxiety but to actually get him or her excited about an upcoming cleaning.

“Sesame Street”

This highly educational kids’ series actually has a whole online tool kit that can help parents to prepare kids for a visit to the dentist. The toolkit, called “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me,” comes complete with videos featuring the “Sesame Street” characters, helpful articles, fun songs, and much more.

“Berenstain Bears”

This iconic children’s book series boasts a special book dedicated to the dentist. Brother Bear and Sister Bear must pay a visit to the dentist for tooth removal. While they are initially pretty scared, they end up having a great experience and look forward to their next visit. It is a great pre-dentist bedtime read.

“SpongeBob SquarePants”

Most kids will instantly recognize this iconic yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. While there isn’t a “SpongeBob Squarepants” episode dedicated to the dentist, there is a SpongeBob book that addresses the topic, in which SpongeBob heads off for his six-month annual checkup (even sponges need to practice good oral hygiene).

“Dr. Rabbit and the Tooth Kingdom”

Colgate has put out a whole video series chronicling the adventures of Dr. Rabbit and Dr. Brushwell, featuring characters who transform into Super Dentists and Tooth Defenders in order to protect Tooth City from Placulus and his evil plaque monsters. These 10 mini-episodes are guaranteed to get kids excited about fighting plaque and visiting the dentist.

Other honourable mentions:


Dudley Visits The Dentist

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5 Things You Never Knew About Your Teeth

You probably already know that you need your teeth to talk and eat. But did you know these five surprising facts about your teeth?

1. They’re totally unique.

Your teeth are kind of like an oral fingerprint. They are completely unique - your dental records can even be used to identify you. Thanks to different patterns of wear and identifying marks, no two people have the same set of teeth.

2. Brushing is important — very important.

OK, so you probably already knew this one. But the next time you are thinking about skipping a brushing session, think about this:

There are more than 300 different species of bacteria living in your plaque (we’re guessing you probably didn’t know that!).

Remember, dentists recommend that you brush your teeth 2 to 3 times per day for approximately 2-3 minutes for optimal oral health and hygiene. The average person only brushes for approximately 48 seconds on a given day, so chances are you probably need to up your brushing time. One effective way to ensure you're brushing long enough is to invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer.

3. They need saliva — and lots of it.

The average person produces a staggering 100,000 gallons of saliva in his or her lifetime. Saliva is good, as it helps to keep teeth clean and healthy. Saliva production tends to slow as individuals age, which makes older people more prone to dental disease. And while you can’t do anything about decreased saliva production, you can practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist, to mitigate the risk of dental disease and tooth decay.

4. Sour things are bad for oral health.

You’ve probably heard that sugar can do a lot of damage to your teeth. But did you know that sour things are just as much of an enemy? You see, low-pH foods tend to be highly acidic, and acid damages your teeth. Try to avoid overindulging in low-pH foods, such as soft drinks and fruit juices. And those ultra-sour, ultra-sticky candies, like Warheads? They’re your teeth’s worst nightmare!

5. They’re extremely hard.

Did you know that the hardest substance in your entire body is the enamel of your teeth? This part of the tooth, which comprises its visible part, is actually even harder than your bones. Tooth enamel contains an incredibly high percentage of minerals, including hydroxyapatite, a type of crystalline calcium phosphate.

Although your enamel might be hard, it is, perhaps paradoxically, somewhat easy to break. Believe it or not, ice, popcorn, and tongue piercings can all actually chip your enamel. So think twice before you chomp down on that popcorn kernel!

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6 Tips for Fresh Breath

Whether you are preparing for an important meeting at work or getting ready for a first date, nothing can be more damaging to your confidence than a case of bad breath. Some people are more prone to bad breath than others, but luckily you don’t have keep your mouth closed out of fear of contaminating the room you’re in forever.

There are a number of things you can do to freshen up your breath and get your confidence back. Here are 6 tips for fresh breath you can implement immediately:

Take your brushing and flossing routine up a notch.

As you are probably already well aware, you should be brushing and flossing at least twice a day. And if you’re constantly battling bad breath, you may want to up it to three times a day. Insufficient brushing is one of the primary causes of bad breath. Plaque, that sticky buildup in your mouth that is a bacteria breeding ground, will build up in your mouth when you don’t brush. And lots of plaque translates into bad breath. Keep in mind that it also helps to add an antibacterial mouthwash to your brushing and flossing routine, as it helps to reduce any plaque-causing bacteria.

Scrape your tongue.

That coating that forms on your tongue over the course of the day is also major culprit of bad breath. That’s because that like plaque, this coating is home to a host of gross-smelling bacteria. The trick to fresh breath is scraping this layer off of your tongue using either a toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a device specifically designed to remove bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the tongue (something that brushing alone can’t do).

Drink more water.

A dry mouth will inevitably cause tooth decay and promote bacteria growth, both of which cause bad breath. Drink more water to avoid cottonmouth. As an added bonus, staying hydrated is also good for your overall health. If you truly struggle with a dry mouth, try popping a piece of sugar-free gum every now and then. Gum will stimulate saliva production. More saliva translates into better breath, as it is the body’s natural defence mechanism against plaque acids.

Avoid notorious bad-breath offenders.

Foods like garlic and onions are notorious for causing bad breath. And you can’t just brush the problem away because as the substances in these foods are broken down, they make their way into your bloodstream, which then travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out.

Make sure your gums are healthy.

Gum disease is an incredibly common cause of bad breath. When gums are suffering from decay, bacteria gathers in pockets at the back of the teeth, generating a host of bad odours.

Stop smoking.

Smoking is one of the major causes of bad breath. Remember, smoking raises your risk of a number of diseases, including cancer, and also damages your gum tissue and stains your teeth. So don’t just quit for your breath, quit for your health!

If you have persistent bad breath, it's probably time for a check-up! Call us to book your next appointment and we'll help you treat any gum health issues quickly and affordably.

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Cosmetic Treatments to Improve Your Smile

Did you know that the majority of Canadians believe that an attractive smile is an important social asset? There is nothing worse than feeling reluctant to smile in public because you are feeling self-conscious about your teeth. Whether it is a chipped tooth or an unsightly stain, even a small imperfection can breed major insecurities.

Luckily, there are a number of different cosmetic treatments out there that can help you to improve your smile and regain your confidence.


In-office tooth bleaching procedures are an excellent way to brighten your smile and remove unattractive stains from your teeth. In-office bleaching procedures offer improved results over home-based bleaching kits. Typically, in-office bleaching will lighten the teeth between three and eight shades over the course of several 30- to 60-minute sessions.


Dental bonding is actually one of the quickest and easiest cosmetic dental treatments and is an ideal option for individuals who have chipped, uneven, discoloured, or gapped teeth. Essentially, this procedure involves the application of resin, a putty-like substance, to the surface of the tooth in order to fill in any chips or gaps or colour over any discolouration. After it has been applied, the resin is smoothed to the desired shape and then trimmed and polished. The dental bonding process typically takes less than an hour per tooth.


A crown is a type of dental restoration procedure that is used in order to replace the exterior portion of a tooth. This helps to restore the original function of the tooth in the case that it has been damaged, decayed, or worn down, and also helps to improve the tooth aesthetically.

Contouring & Reshaping:

Contouring, or reshaping, is an incredibly easy and effective way to eliminate minor imperfections in your teeth. Essentially, the process involves removing small parts of the tooth enamel in order to alter the shape, length, or surface of the tooth. Although the imperfections being eliminated might be minor, the results can have a huge impact on your smile. Slight changes can make a surprisingly big difference. Believe it or not, even a few millimetres of reduction can dramatically alter the appearance of your smile.


Veneers are essentially thin shells that can be placed over a tooth in order to change the tooth’s size, colour, shape, or length. They can typically be made from either porcelain or resin. While porcelain veneers are more stain-resistant, resin veneers better mimic the actual surface of a tooth and are thinner. Veneers are an excellent solution to fix teeth that have been worn down or chipped, or teeth that are poorly shaped or misaligned.

All in all, there are a variety of different cosmetic procedures out there that can help you easily and affordably improve your smile. Contact us to learn which procedure is right for you.

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3 Tips to Keep Your Teeth Whiter, Cleaner, and Healthier in 2019

Looking to improve your smile in 2019? These three New Year’s resolutions are bound to make your smile both whiter and brighter!

1. Cut back on the coffee.

While you might love a cup of steaming coffee to start off your morning, your teeth don’t. Coffee stains your teeth’s enamel, meaning that your smile isn’t as white or as bright.

Of course, we’re not cruel enough to tell you to cut out coffee 100 percent. But it is a wise idea to cut back in the interest of your dental hygiene.

So if you’re known to chug down three or four cups of coffee over the course of your day, try to cut it back to one or two. If you find yourself craving more, try reaching for a cup of green or herbal tea instead.

If you can’t seem to bring yourself to cut back, at least be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly after drinking a cup.

2. Floss daily.

Flossing is absolutely critical to your oral hygiene. So if you’re not a flosser, 2019 is the year to start!

Flossing removes the plaque particles between your teeth, which reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. Of course, it also keeps your teeth looking white and beautiful. For optimal results, you want to aim to floss twice a day. But if twice a day is too much, at least flossing once a day - at nighttime before bed to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of your teeth overnight - is still better than not flossing at all.

As we say in our clinic: #flossdaily

3. Eat more seeds.

Scientists believe that our Paleolithic ancestors had amazing teeth (in relation to the harsh living conditions and lack of medical care).

The reason?

Anthropologists suspect that, in part, this can be attributed to their high consumption of seeds, which fend off plaque and help to build tooth enamel. Furthermore, many seeds contain high calcium levels, which work to preserve the bone around your teeth and gums.

The bottom line?

If you’re in search of a better smile in 2019, amp up your seed consumption. They can easily be sprinkled across fresh salads, ground into smoothies or grab a handful for a quick, healthy snack.

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Common Pediatric Dental Problems and What to Do About Them

Common Pediatric Dental Problems and What to Do About Them

Most children will experience some kind of dental problem at one point or another. Check out these four common pediatric dental problems and how you can address them.

Thumb Sucking

Why it’s bad:

Thumb sucking can be one of the more comforting aspects of childhood, but unfortunately this seemingly benign habit can actually wreak havoc on teeth, interfering with proper growth of the mouth and interfering with the correct alignment of teeth. Aggressive thumb suckers, particularly, are prone to dental problems.

How to handle it:

The good news is that thumb sucking isn’t always a cause for alarm. It’s natural for babies to suck as it helps them relax and the majority of children will habitually stick a finger or thumb in the mouth from a very early age (thumb sucking even starts in the womb).

Even better news is that according to the Canadian Dental Association, the majority of children will outgrow thumb sucking between the ages of 2 and 3. If after three years of age, your child still wants to suck, switch to using a soother (pacifier)*. This is better than their thumb because it will give you control as to when your child sucks. However, if thumb sucking continues once a child's permanent teeth come in, it could cause problems with how the jaw and teeth grow. This is time for parental intervention.

*Never put sugar, honey or any type of syrup on a soother. These can cause cavities.

Canker Sores

Why it’s bad:

Also known as aphthous ulcers, these small open sores can generate a significant amount of pain and discomfort for a child.

What to do about it:

Canker sores will typically heal on their own in roughly three to four days. However, there are ways to reduce pain.

Your child should avoid eating abrasive foods, avoid using sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) mouthwashes and toothpastes, and avoid salty, spicy, or acidic foods.

Furthermore, it should also be noted that measures can be taken to prevent canker sores. They include avoiding potentially irritating foods (including citrus fruits, acidic vegetables, and spicy foods) and brushing and flossing regularly.


Why it’s bad:

While grinding, also known as bruxism, is quite common in children, it can do serious damage to the teeth, causing dental or muscular pain and wearing away primary teeth.

It’s especially problematic once a child has lost his or her baby teeth, as grinding from a young age can do permanent damage to adult teeth as they come in, wearing down enamel, chipping teeth, and causing increased temperature sensitivity.

How to handle it:

You’ll need to evaluate why the child is grinding his or her teeth. If it is an involuntary response to stress or anxiety, the root emotional cause of the grinding needs to be addressed. The good news is that, while between two and three out of every ten children grind their teeth, the majority of kids outgrow it.

Over-retained Primary Teeth

Why it’s bad:

An over-retained primary tooth is a baby tooth that is still in position when an adult tooth is trying to erupt. It can cause painful complications.

How to handle it:

Treatment is required to properly deal with an over-retained primary tooth. However, the specific treatment will depend on the condition of the primary tooth, as well as the surrounding structures. In some cases, the tooth may need to be extracted, though in other cases it can be retained. If this is a concern for you and your child, contact us to discuss treatment options specific to your child’s situation.

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3 Tongue Twisters to Teach Your Kids

3 Tongue Twisters to Teach Your Kids

A tongue twister refers to a string of words or phrases with similar sounding sounds, words, and syllables. Tongue twisters aren’t just good for a good laugh. Believe it or not, they are also educational.

Teaching your children tongue twisters can help them to strengthen muscles in their tongue and mouth, improve their pronunciation, encourage clearer speech patterns, and help to facilitate the correct pronunciation of difficult sounds and syllables.

In speech therapy, tongue twisters are used to treat common speech problems, such as stutters and lisps, as well as to reduce the prominence of foreign accents.

In many cases, tongue twisters are even used to help individuals who have suffered from brain damage or strokes to regain their linguistic abilities.

Take a look at these three tongue twisters to teach your kids. We promise that they will trip up the tongue of even the most articulate individual!

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

If your child is struggling with a particular phoneme, try picking a tongue twister that features that phoneme. This fun tongue twister is great for children who need a bit of extra help practicing the “p” sound.

How many boards could the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?

This tongue twister is an excellent way to encourage clear pronunciation, as the child must clearly pronunciation each syllable to differentiate between the similar phonetic sounds. Remember, your child isn’t likely to master a tongue twister right off the bat. The trick is practice. Encourage him or her to recite the same tongue twister several times per a day.

Three sweet switched Swiss witches watch three washed Swiss witch Swatch watch switches. Which sweet switched Swiss witch watches Which washed Swiss witch Swatch watch switch?

This one is a tough one! It’s great for kids having trouble with “w” and “s,” however, helping to encourage clear pronunciation, helping him or her to figure out proper placement of the tongue and teeth to make the correct sound.

If your child is struggling, try writing the tongue twister for him or her to recite. Sometimes it also helps to practice in front of a mirror.

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5 Questions Everyone Should Ask Their Dentist

5 Questions Everyone Should Ask Their Dentist

To get the most out of your visit to the dentist and maximize your oral health, it is important to develop effective channels of communication with your dentist. In order to get things going and start a dialogue, here are five questions that every patient should ask his or her dentist.

1. Is there anything that I can do to improve my overall dental health and hygiene?

You’re only human — when it comes to oral health and hygiene, you’re probably not perfect. Whether you sometimes forget to brush after a meal or you skip out on flossing a few times a week, there are likely habits that you can improve.

Dentists can help you to figure out what you’re doing right and what needs a bit more work. And remember, no two mouths are the same. Some people might need to floss more regularly than is recommended to prevent cavities, while others might benefit from a specific kind of toothbrush or extra fluoride.

We are here to provide you with specific, individualized information that can help you to maximize your overall dental health.

2. What is the overall status of my dental health?

Ask your dentist for a comprehensive overview of your overall dental health. And this doesn’t just include looking for cavities. Your dentist can also do a general exam of your mouth area, which includes checking for any unusual lumps or bumps, measuring bone density, and checking for inadvertent teeth grinding.

Remember, our job is to make sure that your smile is as healthy as it is beautiful - which is more than just cleaning teeth and filling in cavities!

3. Would you recommend any specific treatments or dental work?

Whether you need night guards to prevent nocturnal teeth grinding or a treatment for your bad breath, dentists can help you to figure out what kind of treatments or dental work can improve your oral health and hygiene.

Keep in mind that the more information your dentist has to work with, the better. Always be sure to inform us of any problems or issues that may have arisen.

4. Are there any specific products you would recommend?

In today’s world of hyper consumerism, you’re probably bombarded with ads for all sorts of different products — from organic toothpastes to high-power whitening strips. It can be daunting to figure out which of those products are reputable, and which aren’t. So don’t hesitate to ask us!

Whether you want a recommendation for great whitening toothpaste or the most effective toothbrush, we can help you figure out which products will actually improve your oral health and hygiene and which are just a waste of money.

5. Do you need any information from my family practitioner?

Remember, dentists need to be up to date on your overall health and wellness. That means we need to be up to date on what is going on across your whole body, not just inside of your mouth.

Be sure to provide us with any information from your family doctor regarding medications or changes in health.

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5 Tips for Effective Brushing

5 Tips for Effective Brushing

You’re probably already well aware of how often you should be brushing your teeth (at least twice a day), but are you aware of how you should be brushing your teeth?

Not all brushing strategies are created equally. In order to maximize your oral health and hygiene and ensure those pearly whites are in tip-top shape, be sure to check out these five tips for effective brushing.

1. Pick the right brush.

Just like all brushing strategies are not created equally, not all toothbrushes are created equally. First and foremost, make sure your toothbrush is the proper size.

“If you are straining to open wide enough to let the brush in, the brush is probably too big,” explained Richard H. Price, DMD, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association.

Fresh, firm bristles are important, but go for something on the softer side. Bristles that are too stiff can hurt and cause recession of your gums.

You will also want to ensure that you are changing your toothbrush on a regular basis and that you thoroughly rinse your brush after each cleaning to get rid of any grime or germs.

2. Choose your toothpaste wisely.

Try to avoid harsh toothpastes, such as products that boast whitening power or tartar treatment.

“An increase in whitening particles can be harmful and sand away tooth structure,” explained Michael Sesemann, DDS, the former president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

3. Time yourself.

Swishing a toothbrush around your mouth for a mere twenty seconds quite frankly just isn’t going to cut it. Ideally, you need to be brushing two to three times per day for at least two minutes. That should total between four and six minutes of brushing on a daily basis. With that being said, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much brushing can actually be bad for your oral health, putting too much wear and tear on your gums.

Investing in a good electric brush that has a timer built into it can be a useful tool to ensure you not only get a good cleaning, but you spend enough time brushing both your top and bottom teeth.

4. Practice good technique.

Pay attention to the way that you are brushing. Long, side-to-side strokes can scrape your gums. The best method is to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line, then use short, up-and-down strokes. Be sure to pay special attention to hard to reach places like molars, as plaque will accumulate in out-of-reach spots if you aren’t careful.

5. Aim for an even cleaning.

The goal of brushing is to evenly clean all sections of your mouth. Again, this is where an electric toothbrush, with soft bristles, can be handy.

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Are You Flossing Correctly

Are You Flossing Correctly?

Unfortunately, your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth. That is why flossing is so important. It helps to dislodge any food particles stuck between your teeth and under your gums. If these food particles aren’t dislodged, they can lead to cavities, bad breath, and gum diseases.

The bottom line?

Flossing is crucial to your overall oral health. Ideally, you should aim to floss after every meal.

“Do that and your mouth will be absolutely immaculate,” says Dr. Rocky, Victoria Dental Group's resident dentist with advanced training in tooth replacement and restoration. “But we know that’s not practical for most people — so we hope our patients floss once daily.”

But remember when it comes to flossing, it’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality.

If you aren’t using proper technique, you aren’t harnessing the full potential of flossing power. How do you know if you are flossing correctly? The next time you reach for the floss, be sure to keep the following tips and tricks in mind.

Opt for a waxed ribbon floss.

Good flossing technique starts out when you are in the hygiene aisle of your local supermarket. You will likely be confronted with a number of different choices:

  • Waxed vs. un-waxed?
  • Flavoured vs. unflavoured?
  • Ribbon floss vs. fine floss?

In general, you will want to opt for a waxed floss, as it tends to be much easier to slide between your teeth, and it is harder to shred. Ribbon floss is also the better option over fine floss, as it covers a larger portion of your teeth and subsequently does a better job cleaning. When it comes time to choosing flavour, that’s up to you — although there is nothing like a bit of mint to leave your mouth extra fresh!

Wind and glide.

Once you have chosen an appropriate floss, you will want to take approximately 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand, keeping roughly 2 inches of taut floss between each finger.

Next, use your index fingers to glide the floss between your teeth, starting in the upper left hand side of your mouth and working your way across to the right hand side.

Once you’ve finished the top, work your way along your lower teeth. Effective flossing will typically take approximately 1 minute.

Be gentle!

Always be gentle when flossing. You should gently move the floss between your teeth in a zigzag fashion, being careful not to snap the floss against the teeth. If you are new to flossing, your gums might feel a bit sore afterward and will likely bleed a bit, but you should adjust quickly. Healthy gums that are flossed regularly will not be sore anymore and will not bleed.

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