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All Posts in Category: Dental Care for Kids

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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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

Enjoy!

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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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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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4 Fun Easter Activities That Don’t Involve Sweets

4 Fun Easter Activities – That Don’t Involve Sweets

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

  1. Potato Sack Race

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

  1. Cascarones

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

  1. Painting Ukrainian Easter Eggs

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

  1. Alternative Easter Egg Hunts 

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

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National Tooth Fairy Day

Interview With the Tooth Fairy

Victoria Dental Group: It’s National Tooth Fairy Day, and for us, that means that we’re sitting down with the one and only Tooth Fairy herself! Tooth Fairy, welcome and Happy You Day!

Tooth Fairy: Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here.

Victoria Dental Group: So, Tooth Fairy, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the day and what it all means?

Tooth Fairy: Well, everyone knows what I do. Whenever a child loses a baby tooth, they hide it under their pillow. Then it’s my job to sneak in, collect the tooth, and put a reward in its place. It’s a fair trade, right?

Victoria Dental Group: Sounds like it to us. So, how exactly do you decide what to leave behind?

Tooth Fairy: Well, it’ll take far too long to explain my system, but let’s see if I can summarize. To make a long story short, we have a very specific conversion formula at Tooth Fairy Headquarters. The healthier the tooth, the more it’s worth! That’s why it’s so important to brush regularly, floss, and avoid foods that damage your enamel.

Victoria Dental Group: What does your ideal tooth look like?

Tooth Fairy: It’s a tooth that gets brushed twice a day, flossed at least once a day, and isn’t exposed to a lot of foods and drinks like caramel, juice, pop, and so on. Oh, and it’s a tooth that also grew in healthy gums. It’s important not to forget to brush those too.

Victoria Dental Group: How long should you brush your teeth?

Tooth Fairy: You should brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.

Victoria Dental Group: Some people tell us that two minutes is too long. Do you have any advice we can pass on to our patients?

Tooth Fairy: It might seem like a long time, but it’s very important. Brushing for two minutes makes sure that you get all the harmful plaque off your teeth. You should brush in small circles and make sure to get along your gumline. Of course, you should also check in with your dentist regularly to get an even more thorough cleaning than you can give yourself at home. Honestly, seeing teeth that are treated like that? Those are the real moneymakers when it comes to tooth-fairying.

Victoria Dental Group: What about foods and drinks? How do those affect your teeth?

Tooth Fairy: Foods and beverages can affect your teeth in ways you might not even realize. Even chewing on ice can risk chipping a tooth, which is incredibly painful. Hard candies, citrus, caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, and anything that sticks to your teeth — even healthy foods like dried fruit — can cause decay because they sit on your enamel for a long time. So, take care of your teeth by choosing healthier foods.

Victoria Dental Group: Finally, we have to ask: what do you do with all those teeth?

Tooth Fairy: Sorry, pal. Now you’re verging on Top Secret Tooth Fairy information!

Victoria Dental Group: Haha, ok! Thanks for joining us, and Happy National Tooth Fairy Day!

Bonus!

Use these free resources for Tooth Fairy day to delight your child the next time they lose a tooth:

Free Printable Tooth Fairy Certificate:

National Tooth Fairy Day Free Printable Tooth Certificate

Courtesy of: momdot.com

Free Printable Tooth Fairy Letter Templates:

 

Free Printable Tooth Fairy Letter Template

Courtesy: toothfairyletter.net

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4 Tips to Prep Your Kids for a Trip to the Dentist

No child likes a stranger poking around in his or her mouth (and neither do most adults, for that matter). But while your son or daughter’s first jaunt into the dentist’s chair might be a bit uncomfortable, there is absolutely no reason that it has to be traumatic.

Children can develop a healthy attitude toward dental care and oral hygiene with a bit of guidance from mom or dad. Prep your kids for a smooth and happy visit to a dentist with these four simple tricks.

1. The earlier, the better.

The earlier you can acclimate your child to regular trips to the dentist, the better. The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should be taken to the dentist when his or her first set of teeth starts to come in, typically around 1 year of age.

2. Talk to your child beforehand.

Before you head to the dentist’s office, make sure to have a conversation with your child. Clearly explain what is going to happen and why it is necessary. It is also a good idea to go over the basics of dental hygiene and practicing brushing your teeth together. Explain that the dentist helps to prevent cavities and keep smiles looking beautiful. With that being said, don’t explain things in too much detail. Doing so will only raise more questions, and adding more information could just generate unnecessary anxiety.

3. Watch what you say.

Avoid using words like “hurt,” “pain,” or “shot.” And most definitely avoid telling any of your dentist “war stories.” Steer clear of filling kids in on the gory details of fillings, cavities, etc. This will also generate anxiety and cause your child to become afraid.

Instead, keep things positive. Use words and phrases like “clean,” “strong,” and “healthy teeth.”

Should any kind of issue or problem arise, let the professionals introduce their own vocabulary to children to guide them through difficult or potentially painful situations.

4. Be prepared for some fussing.

It is natural for a child to cry or fuss a bit. Remember, this is anything out of the ordinary, and the staff is well equipped to deal with this kind of thing. Most experts recommend not using any kind of bribery to coerce good behaviour, as doing so can only exacerbate apprehension. Instead, once the visit is over, praise the child for his or her bravery and cooperation.

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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:

Arthur

Dudley Visits The Dentist

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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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