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All Posts in Category: Ask The Dentist

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

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!

Conclusion

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

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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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 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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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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How to Brush Your Teeth for Cavity Prevention - National Dentist’s Day

How to Brush Your Teeth for Maximum Cavity Protection

You might not think there’s a right or wrong way to brush your teeth, but there is! Brushing properly can keep your teeth and gums healthy and help you avoid cavities. If you already have some minor cavities, adjusting your brushing technique could even slow the spread of the decay. That means you will need less dental work and have fewer health problems in the long run.

So, what exactly is the best way to brush your teeth to avoid getting those nasty cavities?

1. Use toothpaste with fluoride.

There are plenty of kinds of toothpaste nowadays that try to market themselves as healthier or more natural because they don’t contain fluoride. However, fluoride is a pro at battling tooth decay and is important for keeping your teeth healthy and strong. There are dozens of options for fluoride toothpaste that will help strengthen your enamel and stop decay in its tracks.

2. Use a circular motion to brush.

That’s right, there is actually a best motion with which to brush your teeth, and it’s not just side to side. Instead, move the head of your toothbrush in small circles. You should also brush away from the top of your gums to loosen food particles and bacteria that are lodged along the gum line.

3. Brush for at least two minutes.

You heard that right: Two minutes is the proper amount of time to brush your teeth. It may seem like a long time, but it’s essential to give your whole mouth a good brush to make sure your teeth and gums are really clean. You can set a timer if it helps you or try singing a song for each section of your mouth. There are also toothbrushes that are equipped with timers that vibrate or light up when your time is up. Many of them are made for children, but there’s no reason why you can’t use them, too!

4. Remember that your teeth aren’t the only things that need attention.

When cleaning your mouth, it’s important to remember that your teeth are only one part of the process. It’s also a good idea to clean your tongue, cheeks, gums, and the roof of your mouth. Some parts of your mouth can be sensitive, so remember to go easy: brush in small, gentle circles. This will not only reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth, but also freshen your breath.

5. Finish with a refreshing mouthwash.

If you don’t like mouthwash, you can always use plain water, but you should wash your mouth in some manner after brushing your teeth. This helps kill more bacteria and flush germs out of your mouth. Just swish a small amount around your mouth for 30 seconds, making sure to get your cheeks and all sides of your teeth. Then, spit it out and enjoy your fresh breath – and your lowered risk of tooth decay!

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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.

Bleaching:

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.

Bonding:

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.

Crowns:

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:

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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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.

Grinding

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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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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