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Healthy Summer Teeth

Summer is officially here!

 

We’re looking forward to all that Summertime has to offer after one of the wettest Springs on record!

We know that rain is necessary for healthy flowers and crops, we just hope that it limits itself to overnight and the periodic shower during the hot, midday sun.

Speaking of respite from the sun, a cold, refreshing treat goes a long way to help beating the Summer’s heat.

Without raining on your summer fun, we want to remind everyone that it is very important to limit the amount of snacking in between meals to reduce the number of acid attacks that occur in your mouth during the day. Sometimes, in the hot weather, this can be a tall order to fill when you are looking for ways to cool down and stay hydrated.

If sunshine is your 2nd favourite accessory next to Your Smile,  keep in mind the idea of “Smart Snacking” so you can still beat the heat and keep your teeth safe.

 

Here are some tips to protect Your Smile this summer: 

1. Water – Water is still nature’s healthiest choice to help you stay hydrated. Zero calories and zero sugar!

2. Sweetened Beverages – If you are looking for some tasty excitement in your water there are recipes that you can find online made with xylitol as a sweetener. The great thing about using xylitol is that is helps prevent tooth decay by reducing the growth of bacteria in our mouths and blocks acids that can erode our enamel. It occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables and once extracted to be used as a sweetener it looks and tastes like table sugar but contains 40% less calories. You can purchase xylitol in most grocery and health food stores, just be sure to read the ingredients to ensure that it does not contain other “sugars.” You may also want to try “infused water” that can be low in sugar is you choose the right fruits, vegetable and herbs. There are lots of recipes online for infused water.

3. Cheese – Eating a cube of cheese before eating will coat your teeth with a special protein called casein for added protection.

4. Low Sugar Fruits – There are fruits/vegetables that are lower in sugar than others like cucumbers, raspberries, guava, cranberries, apricots, rhubarb, and kiwi. Presentation can make all the difference when offering them as a summer treat, so consider arranging them into kabobs, using cookie-cutter shapes or serving them in a melon or fancy glassware to make them more appetizing. Watermelon contains natural-occurring sugars, but because of their high water content it dilutes the affects of these sugars while increasing saliva flow.

5. Smoothies – Blending low sugar fruits/vegetables then freezing them into delicious and healthy smoothies, chilled beverages or frozen popsicle treats is a healthy snack alternative for all ages.

6. Yogurts – can be chilled/frozen or made into delicious parfaits that you can top with other fruits and granolas. You can also coat fruits in yogurts then freeze.

7. Sugarless gum – Chewing gum that contains xylitol promotes saliva flow and reduces bacteria buildup. Saliva goes a long way in neutralizing our mouths and healing the damage of acid attacks that occurs when we eat sugars and starches – even naturally occurring ones.

8. Oral care – Summer can be a busy time with more recreation, vacations and relaxation. Sometimes we become so busy and away from our home that brushing and flossing becomes an afterthought. Remember to bring your toothbrush kit with you when you travel and rinse with water after eating if you can’t get to your toothbrush right away!

9. Junk – Ice creams, popsicles, slushies, soda pops – they all sound like refreshing and tasty hot weather treats, but they can wreak havoc on your oral health. Here are a list of the worst foods for your teeth:

– hard candies
– chewy candies
chewing on ice cubes
– dried fruit
sports drinks
– energy drinks
– soda pop
sipping coffee/tea that with sugar added all day long
– gum with sugar
– highly acidic foods like lemons, pickles and
– chips and crackers

10. Habits – Sometimes, it’s just a matter of habits – some good, others bad. Summertime, and in particular, vacation time, can often turn into a free for all. You can still appreciate all that this fun season has to offer without compromising Your Smile. Oral health isn’t the only thing that will thank you for your wise summer choices. There is an overall health benefit from choosing a healthy lifestyle, so that when you do want to “indulge” a little, you can do so guilt-free.

 

 

 

Have a Great Summer,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 


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Bad Breath Buster

Ready for Fresh Breath?

So, you’ve just spent 5 minutes carefully and attentively brushing your teeth and flossing. They feel great and your mouth smell minty fresh – or does it?

What about that other place in your mouth full of strands of tissue that make the perfect hiding place for all of those nasty germs that you just brushed off your teeth?

Your TONGUE!

Look at your tongue right now. Does it look clean? Chances are there is some degree of coating on your tongue and removing this odour-causing buildup should become part of your home care routine every day.

It’s easy to forget the tongue while you’re busy focusing on your teeth and gums, but bacteria, plaque, viruses, food and dead cells love to accumulate amid all the nooks and crannies on your tongue and contribute to poor oral health and bad breath. In fact, studies show that up to 80% of bad breath originates on the tongue.

The tongue has the heaviest bacterial count of any part of your mouth!

I’m sure everyone is familiar with that sulphurous odour that smells like rotten eggs. Well, the reason why bad breath is such a common problem is that the germs on the tongue produce this smelly gas, yet it is an area of the mouth that is often overlooked during our home care.

And it’s not enough to just clean your tongue with a toothbrush after you have taken care of your teeth. The toothbrush id designed for the smooth, solid surfaces of your teeth and gums whereas your tongue has a rougher, hair-like landscape. Germs must be scraped out of these deep areas not just brushed around. Mouth rinses are not effective either in removing this coating and many brands contain alcohol which “dry out” the mouth allowing the breeding of even more bacteria.

Tongue Scraper

Tongue Scrapers

Although there are tons of products on the market to clean your tongue, we advise our patients to stick to the tongue scrapers such as the one in the photo above. Used once in the morning and again during the day, these scrapers are glided along the tongue’s surface in a back to front direction bringing the white coating forward and off the tongue. This will help eliminate the bacteria and their volatile odours.

Be careful not to scrape too harshly as you can irritate the tongue’s surface. It is also important to keep well hydrated during the day as a dry mouth also contributes to bad breath. Using sugar-free gums and mints during the day can assist your salvia in keeping your mouth moist. If dry mouth has been a problem for you, you may want to read our article, “Dry Mouth.” You can access it here:

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The Mouth-Body Connection

If you have persistent bad breath or you suspect that the coating on your tongue is more than just a collection of germs or food you should come in for a dental examination as soon as possible. There are other conditions/diseases of the tongue that cause discolouration, swelling or flaking of the tongue’s tissue that require more attention than just a simple cleaning. Most are easily treated with medication while others can be more serious or even life threatening.

Bad breath can result from gum disease, cavities or any number of health conditions. It is important to remember that your mouth is an area of the body where illnesses of the body often manifest themselves. We refer to this as the Mouth-Body connection and during dental examinations we see more than just your teeth and gums.

Please talk to us about your concerns. We’re here to help.

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care  Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork!

Why does my dentist need to know my health history?

So, you go to the dentist for a matter concerning your teeth or perhaps you’re there for your bi-annual dental check-up and cleaning and your exam begins with a bunch of questions about your overall health.

What gives?
Why does a dentist or hygienist want an update of your medical history at every visit?

This is a very legitimate question. After all, you may be coming in for just a simple visit and do not understand what the rest of your body has to do with your mouth.

We are caring for you – not just your teeth!

20140915_103718_resizedYou may have read somewhere about the “Body – Mouth” connection. There are medical conditions that significantly impact your oral health, determine the course of future dental treatment or explain why a particular problem keeps reoccurring.

When we exam you we are seeing more than just your mouth. We are caring for you, not just your teeth! We are concerned with making accurate diagnoses and following up with individualized treatment.

Obviously, patients with more complicated health histories will require more attention than others. In order to maximize our patient’s time with us we routinely ask that they keep a current copy of their medication list in their wallets for quick reference and let us know in advance of their visit here if there has been any significant changes in their health.

Sometimes, it is necessary to follow-up a health issue with the family doctor. Your family physician may prescribe some medication for you to take prior to your dental treatment, especially if you have recently had a new body prosthetic placed or have had a heart stent procedure. Other times, a medication may have to be temporarily discontinued before a particular dental procedure can begin.

As such, we ask that our patients bring in a copy of their medication list when they see us for their check-ups so that we can up date our records and advise as necessary.

Never underestimate the value of your health history…

MedsWe understand that your time is valuable and that you would like to get to your dental matter at hand rather than filling out forms. Updating your medical information may seem like an imposition to you or you may not want to disclose certain personal health issues to us, but it is important to understand that it is with your safety in mind that we must collect this information and ask any pertinent follow-up questions.

What may seem like an irrelevant health issue to you may turn out to be the essential information we need when diagnosing, treatment planning, using materials in your mouth or prescribing medications. Knowing these details can save your life!

Patient health histories are clearly documented and updated regularly in our office. We need you to be as comfortable with us as you would be with your family physician. We would like to think that our patients appreciate that we hold their health in such high regard and that we do not omit this part of your care.

At Your Smile Dental Care we treat our patients as we do our own family and friends. Keeping current and accurate patient records help us deliver the very best care to you – our valuable patients.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
Your Smile Dental Care Team 
(905) 576-4537
(416)783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Botox and TMJ?

When Laughing Hurts…

Are you experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or can hear/feel clicking sounds when you open your mouth? Does your jaw, “pop or lock up?

You may have a condition that is commonly referred to as TMJ – Temporal Mandibular Joint. While the TMJ is an actual anatomical part of your head, this acronym has become an umbrella term to describe a painful dysfunction of area.

The TMJ is the area where your lower jaw fits or mates with the temporal bone of your skull. It acts like a sliding hinge allowing you to open and close your mouth and move it side to side. This area is a complex structure of ligaments, muscle, joint capsule, articular disc and the actual 2 bone surfaces: the temporal bone and mandible.

Impairment of the TMJ can occur with osteoarthritis, injury, wear, misaligned bite, bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching) and even poor posture. It can involve the muscles surrounding the bones, the joint itself or both. Pain and discomfort can be a temporary problem or can last many years.

Signs and Symptoms can include:

  • Sore jaws
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Dizziness/Vertigo
  • Neck/Shoulder pain
  • Trouble chewing
  • Jaw thrusting
  • Popping, clicking or grating feeling/sound in joint
  • Facial swelling
  • Jaw locks up or gets stuck when opening or closing mouth.
  • Tinnitus  (ringing in ears)

 

Diagnosis

If you suspect that you may have a TMJ issue bring it to the attention of your dentist right away. Your dentist will perform a clinical exam of your dental structures and face, check for abnormal movements of the jaw, assess your bite, listen for sounds in the TMJ area, and discuss your health history.

For some patients, because the condition is minor, treatment may be as simple as a bite agjustment or a bite guard to place on the teeth into a more correct position and lessen the effects of bruxism. For others, it may involve further testing such as x-rays, MRI, and/or a CT scan. A referral to a Specialist may also become necessary when pinpointing the exact source of TMJ problems is difficult to determine.

Oftentimes, dealing with TMJ issues involves a multi-phased approach starting with minor adjustments and treatments, and if necessary, increasing in levels of intervention. In conjunction with any treatment recommendations, your dentist may also recommend the use of muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety and/or anti-inflammatory medication, jaw exercise and the use of hot/cold compresses

What Can You Do?

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help alleviate your discomfort before, during and after treatment:

  • Switch to softer foods
  • Avoid opening your mouth very wide including yawning, yelling and singing
  • Keeping chewing to a minimum
  • Avoid gum chewing
  • Gently massage the jaw, TMJ and temple to stimulate circulation, relax the muscles and relieve discomfort and tightness.
  • Practice good posture. You can buy a simple posture brace to help.

Give your jaw at rest by:

  • Keeping your teeth slightly apart. Separating your teeth with your tongue can be helpful.
  • Avoid clenching/grinding movements (often subconscious habit, but try to be more aware)
  • Avoid resting your head/chin on your hand to relieve pressure on your jaw.

BOTOX: The alternative treatment for TMJ

 

TMJ disorder can be a very debilitating condition, but there is hope. Oftentimes, it is triggered by muscle spasms and bruxism which tends to be a stress response. Modern dentistry is now turning to what is commonly thought to be just a cosmetic enhancement – Botox.

Botox is now used therapeutically in many medically compromised patients. For TMJ issues, it is used as a non-surgical approach to weaken the muscle involved with jaw movement to put an end to spasms. This, in turn, allows the entire anatomy associated with TMJ disorder to get the rest and healing it needs. It is usually repeated every 3-4 months with the hope, that over time, inflammation will subside and the anatomy will get the rest and healing it needs to alleviate the condition or any contributing, destructive habits.

Our friendly staff are happy to answer any questions you have about your TMJ problem or any other dental issue you may be experiencing. With proper care, you need not suffer any longer.

 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
Your Smile Dental Care Team 
(905) 576-4537
(416)783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Prolonging Your Teeth Whitening

How to Prevent Discolouration of Whitening

 

Tooth whitening is still a popular and effective way to brighten Your Smile without removing any of your natural tooth surface. With all the commercial and dental professional whitening solutions available, your choices are many.

 

Cost           Treatment time           Effectiveness

These are the top 3 things that most people will consider when choosing a whitening product. Very few of us have brilliantly white teeth and there are many things that can cause discolouration of the surface enamel including aging.

 

How light will it go and How long will it last???

These are the 2 most commonly asked questions about whitening: How light will the teeth become and how long can they expect the brighten to stay.

Not every person achieves the same results. Most people get great results, while others are not as satisfied. Some people have to try different products or methods until they find the one that works best for them. While still other, do not follow after-care recommendations that can prevent or slow down the re-staining of teeth.

How Light Can I Go?

How much your teeth will lighten depends on a number of factors. The effectiveness of whitening will vary from person to person and product to product.

 

In general:

1) Some kits come with a shade guide so you can determine your existing teeth colour before whitening then do an after-treatment comparison.

2) Teeth with grey undertones do not lighten as well as yellow teeth do

3) Depending on the product of choice, teeth should improve 3-6 shades lighter

4) If you are not happy with the whitening results after trying different products/methods then you may want to consider dental veneers.

5) How effective a commercial product is will depend on the amount of whitening agent (usually hydrogen peroxide) it contains.

 

 

How Long Will It Last?

Again, this varies from person to person. Some people whiten once/month, while others once/year. Some people say that anything that can stain a white shirt may stain teeth. So, basically, if you’re not whitening, your darkening.

 

You can keep your teeth whiter for longer by following these tips:

1) Avoid foods that stain teeth such as richly pigmented wines/juices/ fruit/vegetables/spices like turmeric/balsamic/condiments/soya sauce

2) Avoid or cut down on coffee/tea which contain tannins that stain.

3) Use a straw if you would like your richly coloured drink to bypass your teeth.

4) Rinse your mouth immediately after eating. Do not brush, however, for at least 20minutes. Your teeth may still be soft from bacterial acid attacks and you may scratch enamel surface. Food pigments can hide in these scratched areas.

5) Acidic foods and drinks can cause etching to your enamel surface increasing the likelihood of more staining

6) Avoid abrasive toothbrushes and toothpastes that can abrade teeth and ruin their protective coating.

7) Some foods can create a protective coating over your teeth – like cheese. You can eat then before eating foods you think may stain your teeth.

8) Good oral hygiene is a must to keep unsightly plaque from accumulating which also picks up stains from the food/drinks we consume.

9) Understand, the bacteria acids can erode and pit teeth which allows a place for food stains to accumulate.

10) Check food labels. Many foods have colourants you may not even be aware of.

11) Some whitening systems include a touch-up kit that allows you to do a quick lightening at intervals.

Other Considerations:

Sensitivity – We always recommend that our patient brush with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This is because sometimes the whitening process can make teeth and even gums feel sensitive, even painful. Using a Sensitive Toothpaste will help reduce the likelihood of sensitivity or reduce it dramatically. This will allow you to perform the treatment for the recommended length of time without interruption or discomfort.

 

Clean Teeth – We also advise that you have your teeth professionally cleaned before whitening. By doing so, your dental professional will be able to remove some surface staining during the polishing procedure and tartar (calculus) that you already have on your tooth surface. You will ideally like to have the whitening solution contact enamel surface without having to penetrate through hard stone tartar.

 

Origin – Know where your whitening product comes from and it’s ingredients if your are purchasing your whitening from anywhere other than a dental office or reputable pharmacy. If you are having in-office bleaching anywhere other than a dental office then be aware of the place of manufacture and ingredients. If you are not able to review the product or care provider properly, then research or ask your dentist before starting treatment.

 

Existing Dental Work – Lastly, some people are disappointed to learn that whitening can only change the shade of existing, natural teeth. Dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, white fillings and the false teeth on dentures are unaffected by the whitening procedure. If this is the case, you’ll want to speak with your dentist about other treatment options to help brighten your smile.

 

Have more questions about Teeth Whitening?
Give us a call today at (905) 5 SMILES and our friendly team will be happy to help you!

 

 

The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
http://www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 


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Your Stinky Floss

… and the debate continues

 

Even though it was last year that the Associated Press report suggested that flossing was overrated and unnecessary, we are still being asked by patients whether flossing is necessary or not.

 

The simplest answer seems to be answering their question with another question: “What do you suggest for cleaning plaque and food from in between teeth and under the gums?”

 

Although there are other effective interdental aids for cleaning in between teeth, flossing is the only device that can actually get into the tight area between teeth – assuming there is not already a space or gap.

 

With the toothbrush only able to reach 3 of the 5 tooth surfaces,
what does this AP report suggest people do to clean the other 2 surfaces?

 

People will have to excuse their dental care providers for getting a little defensive when the health benefits of flossing is called into question. At Your Smile Dental Care, we’ve seen the value that flossing brings to our patients’ oral care over the past 30 years and we will continue to dig in our heels on the subject.

 

We only need to use our common sense about flossing. If you have something in a body part that is causing a foul odour and inflammation that can lead to loss of surrounding tissue, infection and loss of said body part, would you not want to get it cleaned out?

 

Dental neglect is preventable and flossing is an inexpensive addition to
your
oral care routine to help you take care of your teeth and gums.

 

Practicing the best oral care you can with the tools available is important when it comes to your overall health. The link between gum disease and a number of other serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and immune system disorders has been well established.

 

Most of us are already making changing in our lifestyles so that we can live healthier and longer. A daily 2 minute routine seems like one of the easier changes we could be making.

The bottom line is this: There is research and studies that both sides of this argument can cite to continue their claims. No doubt, the debate will go on and on while the plaque and tartar build up and up!

 

Note to the Associated Press: For all those people that are able to remove meat and popcorn caught between their teeth using their floss – Is that evidence enough? How about how stinky our floss is after use – Is that evidence enough?

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care  Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Kick the Thumb Sucking Habit!

 It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it!

Babies are born with a very strong instinct to suck, which is often evident even in the womb. Of course, this is necessary for successful feeding and there are distinctive actions that are associated with this need such as a rooting (search for breast) reflex, turning the head, sticking out their tongues, hand to mouth reflex, and fussing. This natural behaviour in babies can lead parents to think that their baby is hungry or not getting enough to eat.

 

These actions ensure a baby’s survival, and although the sucking action can be a complicated task at first, with practice, it usually becomes a skill that they master well. It’s actually the hand/finger to mouth instinct that, if it turns from a reflexive to a soothing action, should be monitored so that it doesn’t turn into a behavioural habit.

 

Depending on which “expert” you read, this type of self-soothing can be a calming strategy, a sign of a deeper rooted emotional issue or an early addiction. Addiction seems to be a rather harsh assessment of a natural, self-preservation action, but nonetheless, it is a habit that can be physically destructive to the developing mouth, jaws and teeth and this is what dentists are concerned with. What may start out as a good night sleep for both children and parents and the subject of many “cute” Kodak moments (over 14,000 public posts on Instagram) can turn into a habit-breaking nightmare.

 


“If thumb sucking persists, it can drastically change the developmental pattern of the teeth and jaws
causing open bite, protrusion and misalignment.”


 

We see the after affects of thumb sucking and finding the best suited, habit-correcting solution for your child requires patience and determination from everyone concerned. Many parents, who were initially told that this habit will correct itself naturally before their child enters kindergarten, will be the first to say that they wished they had taken measures to stop it earlier. Most agree that, if they could turn back time, they would have helped their child find another self-coping alternative rather than allow the thumb sucking to become a comfortable or entertaining habit.

 

There are a variety of habit-correcting appliances on the market that can be made by your dentist or, alternatively, there are products that are placed over the hand/fingers. All are designed to make it more difficult for your child to enjoy this habit and nip it in the bud before any orthodontic or speech problems develop.

 
All children are different and only you know your child best. Your dentist will help you explore the options available and help you choose one. Certainly, the more entrenched the habit is, the more difficult it may be to correct. Sometimes, it takes more than one method to find the one that works best for you and your child.

 

Tips to Help Your Child:

1. Begin the conversation – Help them to decide to quit by speaking with them about their habit and understand it’s harmful affects. Discuss germs, dental growth, speech problems, maturity, show them pictures and online videos, etc. Stay positive so that they can visualize the healthy outcome.

 

2. Plant the seeds of success – Words are your best ally. Use positive motivational phrases to inspire and empower them.

 

3. Reward – Rewards are incentives that help motivate and compliment their efforts. It could be smaller daily rewards as well as larger ones at key milestones that you have mutually agreed upon. It will not only add encouragement, but give them something to look forward to.

 

4. Progress Charts – Oftentimes, we have to break up our undertaking into a series of smaller goals. Have your child make up a chart with stickers to keep track of their progress and setbacks. Provide them with a reward every time they reach a pre-arranged goal. Understanding that this is a work in progress helps them top appreciate that anything that is worth having is worth working for.

 

5. Replace Habit – Help your child choose a healthy alternative to thumb sucking for self-soothing. It could be a soft, cuddly toy/blanket, an age-appropriate meditative exercise, or just some extra hugs and cuddles.

 

6. Identify – Knowing when and where your child enjoys the habit can help you be more effective in your approaches to curb the habit and help you substitute distractions or find creative solutions. Point out to your child when the habit is occurring so that they will learn to become self-aware and begin to recognise it on their own.

  

We understand. More often than not, the power struggle between parent and child becomes very real when the child is not a willing participant in breaking this habit. Finding the right balance of support and guidance without scolding can try even the most patient parent. 

If you are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking or any other dental issue, we are just a phone call away at (905) 5SMILES. We can help you find a solution even if it’s just having a caring conversation with your child to reinforce your efforts at home.

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com