When counselling my patients about tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease, the topic of diet inevitably comes up. The new Canada Food Guide was released in early 2019, after much rigorous research by scientists and review by Health Canada, to guide Canadians when it comes to food and drink choices. The new Food Guide places much emphasis on reducing risk factors for leading diseases in Canada, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. As a dentist, I am very pleased to see that the Food Guide offers guidance for achieving better oral health as well, because many key changes made in updating the Food Guide overlap with advice for prevention of oral diseases.
Here are some notable changes:
- Increased emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins.
- Decreased emphasis on meats and higher-fat dairy products.
- Push to replace sugary drinks with water and to avoid exposure of teeth to sugar.
- Caution on dried fruit, as it is sticky and increases your risk of cavities.
- Categorizing 100% fruit juice as a “sugary drink” that is associated with tooth decay, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, instead of the previous recommendation of fruit juice as an equivalent to a serving of fruit.
- Emphasis on vegetables and fruit as health snacks—choose frozen fruit for added convenience.
I am also glad to see that some of the changes made can reduce specifically tooth erosion by acid wear, an importance cause of tooth sensitivity. Acidic drinks and foods, especially when consumed multiple times a day, may cause dental erosion over time. These include not only the obvious culprits such as vinegar and lemon juice, but also colas, wine, and fruit juices in general. An important factor is also frequency. Acidic foods consumed three or more times a day is linked to 13 to 14 times the chance of having tooth erosion, compared to once a day or less. In addition, the risk of acidic foods and drinks eroding your teeth is almost halved when they are consumed with meals, as opposed to between meals. In other words, not only does the choice of food and drink matter to your dental health, so does the timing and frequency of consumption.
Finally, in terms of gum disease, the emphasis on fruits and vegetables ensures adequate intake of vitamin C, which has been linked with better healing following dental scaling in patients with gum disease. It is equally important to note that although the new Canada Food Guide reduced the emphasis on dairy products, dairy remains one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to bone and teeth health, and helps the body absorb calcium from what you eat. Some studies have even shown that inadequate vitamin D is linked with higher risk of gingivitis, gum disease, and loss of bone supporting the teeth.
The new Canada Food Guide is certainly a valuable update that is the culmination of the hard work of numerous scientists. It is an essential tool for maintaining both general health and oral health. So, next time you shop for groceries, be sure to keep in mind this information to help achieve a healthier body and stronger teeth!
Dr. Yolanda Li
Beaudette JR, Zamatta CAR, Ward WE. 2019. The new Canada food guide: Considerations for periodontal health. Oral Health. 109(10): 60-63.
Canada’s Food Guide. 2019. Health Canada. [accessed 2019 October 28] https://foodguide.canada.ca/en/.
New Canada Food Guide connects oral health and general health. CDA Essentials. 2019. 6(2): 16-17.
O’Toole S. 2019. Helping patients with erosive tooth wear change dietary habits. CDA
Essentials. 6(2): 27-30.
Is there a space between your teeth? Do you have teeth crowding in one spot? Are you unhappy with the alignment of your teeth?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you have probably already thought about receiving orthodontic treatment. Now I ask you, do you have pain in your jaw? Do your top teeth close behind your bottom teeth? Is there a space between your top teeth and bottom teeth when you bite down? If you answered yes to any of these questions, these may also indicate you may benefit from orthodontic treatment.
When Does Orthodontic Treatment Begin?
Orthodontic treatment may begin as early as four or five years old, or can even begin well into adulthood. Generally early intervention is ideal as a young patient is still growing, which makes it easier to correct minor issues and may prevent more extensive orthodontic procedures later in life. On average, treatment begins between nine and 12 years of age.
Why Is Orthodontic Treatment Required?
There are many different reasons orthodontic intervention may be required; some for clinical reasons and some more for aesthetic reasons.
Orthodontic treatment may be used to close gaps between teeth, to align tips of the teeth, or to straighten crooked or rotated teeth. It is also used to treat an improper bite such as open bite, under bite, or crossbite.
Orthodontic treatment is not only to correct your smile, but to also correct your oral health. An improper bite may lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. TMJ may make it harder to chew and in the case of crooked and crowded teeth, oral hygiene may become an issue making it harder to clean the area properly leading to tooth decay and other oral health issues. Orthodontic treatment is designed to make your teeth function properly and to make your smile more aesthetically pleasing.
What Appliances Are Used in Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment may involve the use of different appliances that are either fixed or removable to help correct improper bite, expand the top dental arch, and improve profile. Traditional metal bracketing may be used and, in some cases, the use of clear aligners may be another option.
Where to Begin?
The first step is to see if you would benefit from any form of orthodontic treatment by booking an orthodontic consultation. During the consultation, the dentist or orthodontist will do a thorough assessment by taking measurements, checking for any discrepancies or abnormalities in your bite, determine if there is any issue with the position of the teeth such as crowding, spacing, or blocked teeth – x-rays are sometimes taken at this time. After this consultation, the dentist or orthodontist should be able to give you a general idea as to what is to be expected, both treatment wise and cost wise.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our body. In fact, it is even stronger than bone! Despite this, there are several everyday lifestyle habits that can unknowingly harm and destroy this white outer shield of our teeth. Consequently, teeth can become painful, damaged and sensitive, which may lead to time-consuming and expensive interventions by your dental team. The following are several common habits that may cause more harm than good:
Over-consumption of Acidic Foods and Drinks
Aspects of our diet can have long-lasting adverse effects on our enamel. Citrus fruits and juices, carbonated water, soft drinks, vinegar, and alcohol can, over time, wear away the surface of our teeth. This acidic erosion causes enamel to become thin, yellow-ish in colour, and may ultimately lead to temperature sensitivity and pain.
Grinding and Clenching Teeth
Juggling our daily responsibilities may cause some people to involuntarily release stress through habitual bruxism (teeth-grinding) and/or jaw clenching. Often times, these habits occur subconsciously during the night-time and may reveal themselves through symptoms of jaw and ear pain, facial muscle tenderness, tension headaches, and ‘sore teeth’. Your dentist may also see irreversible signs of wear to your teeth and gums, which can impact the function and aesthetics of your mouth and smile.
Oral Hygiene Technique
Surprisingly, our oral health routine may also be impacting the health of our teeth. Chronically brushing too aggressively (especially with a hard-bristled toothbrush) can irritate our gums, contributing to gum recession and the potential for sensitivity and cavities on the newly exposed portion of our teeth. In addition, our gums (gingiva) can also be harmed by excessively forceful flossing and the improper use of wooden toothpicks.
Using our Teeth as Tools
It may seem convenient or harmless to use our teeth to rip a clothing tag, break open a sunflower seed shell, crunch on ice cubes, bite off a hangnail, or even open a bottle cap, but in reality, these bad habits can lead to numerous consequences. From small chips to large cracks, broken fillings to jaw dysfunction, your dentist has seen the negative effects these seemingly innocent habits can have on your mouth and your wallet.
Snacking and Sugar/Carbohydrate Consumption
Constant grazing or sipping throughout the day allows cavity-causing bacteria to feast on the sugars and residual food on our teeth, causing them to produce acid that attacks the enamel. Essentially, by not giving our saliva time to neutralize these ‘acid attacks’, the risk of cavity formation and sensitivity increases significantly.
Helpful Reminders and Solutions
- If you are consuming acidic or sugary foods and drinks throughout the day, try drinking a glass of water afterwards, brushing your teeth 20 minutes after their consumption, drinking through a straw, and reducing the frequency of snacking.
- See your dentist if you are experiencing jaw pain or believe you are grinding or clenching. Lifestyle modifications, nightguards, and referrals to other health care professionals, such as physiotherapists, may help to alleviate and eliminate symptoms, and prevent long-term consequences.
- Speak with your hygienist regarding proper brushing and flossing techniques. Always use a soft (or extra-soft) toothbrush, try to avoid abrasive toothpastes, and think of ‘massaging’ the teeth and gums versus ‘scrubbing’.
- Break those bad habits such as nail biting, and using teeth as nutcrackers and bottle openers.
- Make dental/hygiene appointments and choosing a healthy diet part of your regular routine to optimize your oral health and maintain that beautiful smile!
Dr. Jennifer Holody
When you think about a tooth being knocked out, your mind might focus on a child losing a tooth while playing, when in fact several million teeth are knocked out in both children and adults every year! If you ever find yourself in this situation, do not panic, your tooth can still be saved! All you need to do is follow these five simple steps and together you and your dentist can save your natural smile!
There is no doubt having a tooth knocked out can be a very traumatic event, but it is important to know staying calm and acting correctly in a timely manner can make the difference between saving or losing the tooth.
Do keep in mind one exception to this is having knocked out of a primary (baby) tooth. There is no need to replant the tooth since the permanent tooth will come through eventually.
Five important preventative measures to follow if a permanent tooth is knocked out:
Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown
The crown is the part of your tooth you see in your mouth, also known as the chewing surface. Do NOT pick the tooth up by the root.
Rinse the tooth
Rinse the tooth only using cold running water for no more than 10 seconds. Place a plug in the sink to prevent the tooth from falling down the drain. It is important to not use any soap or other cleaning product on the tooth.
If possible, immediately re-position the tooth back in the socket it came from
Gently push the tooth with your fingers into the socket by handling the crown. Once the tooth is properly aligned you can hold the tooth in place with your fingers, a piece of wet tissue, or by biting down on it.
Keep the tooth moist at all times
You can keep the tooth moist by placing it in the socket where it came from. If this is not possible you can keep it moist in your mouth next to your cheek, in milk, coconut water, or saline. If you have it available, place the tooth in an emergency tooth preservation kit. It is important to note, the use of tap water for transportation is not tolerated by the root surface cells.
Contact an emergency dentist within 30 minutes of the accident
It is best to see the dentist with the knocked out tooth within 30 minutes of the accident, however, it is possible to still save the tooth even if it has been outside of the mouth for longer.
Dr. Daniela Bololoi DDS
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DENTAL TRUMATOLOGY
CANADIAN ACADEMY OF ENDODONTICS
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ENDODONTISTS
REFERENCE: International Association of Dental Traumatology / American Association of Endodontists
A child’s smile is one of the most wonderful sights in this world. Unfortunately, that wonderful smile can develop cavities. A cavity is difficult to treat in infants and young children and may cause significant harm to the child’s health. A cavity can become infectious and may result in impairment of nutrition and esthetics, with accompanying psychological problems.
Not to be alarmed though, cavities can be avoided. Every parent is encouraged to pay attention to these six points to ensure their child’s smile stays as beautiful and healthy as ever.
Avoid Prolonged Bottle Feeding
Prolonged consumption of milk within a bottle, especially at night time, can have a negative impact on children’s teeth. Children are encouraged to finish the bottle prior to falling asleep, and it is recommended to be followed with a thorough brush and rinse.
Any ‘cavity producing liquid’ such as milk, juice, pop, or honey water is not recommended to be served in a bottle. Throughout the night as the child sleeps, the saliva production is very low and cannot adequately clean the mouth as well as it can during waking hours. Therefore, if a baby is put to bed with a bottle, it is recommended the bottle only contain plain water.
Avoid Prolonged Breast Feeding
Night time breast feeding is not recommended after the age of 12 months. If breast feeding continues passed 12 months of age, ideally parents are encouraged to brush their child’s teeth after feeding. In some scenarios this may not be possible; in this case parents can gently wipe the child’s teeth and gums with a clean washcloth or gauze to remove milk from the tooth surfaces. Parents may also encourage a child to take a few sips of water after every episode of night time feeding to help rinse off the milk from the teeth.
Avoid Caries Producing Snacks between Meals
It is common to think only sugar containing food can cause cavities, however this is not true. The truth is any food with the capability to stick to the teeth can cause cavities, such as bread, rice, cereal, and the list goes on.
In general, it is recommended to avoid any snacks that may cause tooth decay between meals. This means any sugar containing drink or food is encouraged to be restricted to meal time only.
Avoid Prolonged Use of Pacifier
Prolonged use of a pacifier may have harmful effects on the development of the jaw and teeth. Pacifiers dipped in honey, jam, or any other sweetened liquid is not recommended in order to prevent tooth cavities — especially at night time.
Practice Regular Oral Hygiene Care
Oral hygiene care starts before the first tooth erupts in the mouth. After every feeding, parents are encouraged to gently wipe down the gums and tongue with a clean wash cloth.
As soon as the first tooth erupts in the mouth, the use of a soft toothbrush should be introduced to clean the tooth. When a few front teeth erupt in the mouth, this is the time to introduce non-fluoridated tooth paste with a soft toothbrush (just a smear of paste is needed).
Fluoridated tooth paste should not be used until the child has mastered the skill of complete spitting. Flossing should be encouraged as soon as a tooth develops contact with adjacent teeth. Parents may take complete responsibility of brushing and flossing their young children’s teeth until they are able to do so on their own.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
Regular dental checkups have an added advantage in maintaining a child’s oral health. It is recommended children visit the dentist as early as their first tooth erupts in the mouth and no later than their first birthday. It is important to remember prevention is always better than a cure!
Dr. Nadia Inayat
Want to improve your dental health? Follow these 5 tips to a healthier mouth!
Commit to Flossing: This is the perfect time to start a flossing routine. Brushing alone is not enough to remove the daily plaque build up. Flossing is essential to getting rid of food and bacteria debris from between your teeth; helping to improve gum health and keeping your breath fresh. Keep floss handy at all times, in the car, your purse, and even by the TV!
Cut Back on Sugar: That pesky sweet tooth may be contributing to your increase in tooth decay. Limiting the exposure of sugar and acid attacks on your teeth will help to minimise the risk of dental damage. Switching out sodas for sugar-free seltzer water is a start. If you crave that “crunch factor”, substitute carrots or cucumbers for the chips and pretzels. You’ll get that same satisfaction without the sugary acid.
Quit Smoking: One of the main contributing factors to gum disease is smoking. Although a difficult task, smoking cessation has a significant effect on oral health. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist about benefits of quitting smoking and how we can help you restore your dental health.
Invest in an Electric Toothbrush: Studies have shown that brushing with an electric toothbrush can be twice as effective as manual brushing alone. With the advancement of sonic wave and pulse action, it can help you with the daily removal of plaque build up both above and below the gum line. Ask us for a demonstration at your next visit.
Make a Dental Appointment: If you haven’t already scheduled your dental cleaning and check up, do so now! Identifying any potentially harmful habits or conditions before they become a problem is important. The dental professionals at Heritage House Dental are your partners in dental health; let us guide you on your journey to a happy smile!
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
With Hallowe’en fast approaching, your costume isn’t the only thing you need to consider. Finding the perfect treat to hand out is just as important as the Jack-o-lantern carved and perched on your porch!
For many of us, getting an apple from a house or two wasn’t that uncommon. Nowadays, with the fear of food tampering, poisoning and the dangers of razor blades, that apple would be the first item to see the trash bin. Following a trend of health and fitness for kids, fruits and veggies can now be found prepackaged and portioned for snacking. If you want to offer those little neighbourhood ghosts and goblins a healthy alternative to typical sugary Hallowe’en treats, these fruits and veggies can be handed out instead.
Another healthy option for trick or treaters is organic chocolate milk that does not require refrigeration and cheese strings, offering them a dose of calcium and Vitamin D. With both of these known to promote strong bones and teeth, your dentist would approve as well!
If you are choosing the candy option, look for candy containing Xylitol, a sugar free sweetener proven to help prevent cavities. Options may include chewing gum and hard candies, both top notch items with the kiddies!
You can be both the cool house with the great candy and the cool house with the healthy treats! Happy Hallowe’en from Dr. Kate Bazydlo and associates at Heritage House Dental.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
One of the sure fire questions you’ll hear from your dentist or hygienist during your routine dental hygiene visit is: “Do you floss regularly?” For about 40% of adults, the answer will be yes. For most, the answer is no or never. What is keeping us from flossing?; time, lack thereof, or simply the task itself. Most children and adults polled say they do not know how to floss properly and therefore skip it altogether.
Why Flossing is Important
Flossing removes plaque and food particles trapped between the tight spaces and gaps between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque not removed by brushing and flossing over time will harden into tartar which, safely, must be removed by a dental professional.
How Often Should you Floss?
When done thoroughly and effectively, flossing once per day is sufficient. If you floss quickly and haphazardly many times a day you may be missing much of the bacteria and plaque hiding in those tight spaces.
Benefits of Flossing
While brushing cleans the front and back surfaces of teeth, it is necessary to floss between your teeth. Those who don’t floss are at a higher risk of plaque build up leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can be a risk factor for heart disease; individuals with diabetes may be more susceptible to this risk factor. Removing trapped food particles decreases your chance of bad breath, and gives your teeth a clean feel and look.
Dental Appliances and Flossing
Whether you have implants, dental bridges or braces don’t forget to floss! There are many dental aids available to help you maximise your flossing habits. If you are not sure how to use these devices please ask us for a demonstration at your next visit.
Proper technique is vital to an effective flossing session. Click here for a step by step instructional video.
Regular dental hygiene visits are vital to maintain a healthy mouth. Brush up on your flossing technique and at your next visit when asked if you floss regularly, you can say yes!
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
You may have found yourselves at one time muttering “why do I need x-rays”? either quietly to yourself or out loud to your dental provider. Dental x-rays (radiographs) are an invaluable diagnostic tool used to detect decay, damage or tooth disease not visible during your dental exam. It offers a sneak peak into your mouth; the dentist’s version of x-ray vision!
The frequency at which x-rays are taken depends on variables such as your current dental health, age, risk for dental disease, and in the event of any acute oral maladies. Dental caries (decay) formed between teeth can be seen on the x-rays and restored before causing irreversible damage. If the decay has penetrated the pulp chamber (where the nerves and blood supply to each individual tooth is found) a root canal may be necessary. In extreme cases, the tooth may need to be removed.
Younger children often require x-rays more frequently because their jaws are still growing and their baby teeth are still being lost and replaced with permanent dentition. If you are seeing a new dentist and have had x-rays taken in the last 12-18months it is a good idea to have them transferred from your previous clinic. This allows the dental provider a baseline of your radiographic oral health.
Digital dental x-rays require very low levels of radiation exposure and are very safe. X-ray machines and techniques are designed to limit the patients’ exposure to radiation following the ALARA (As Low As Reasonable Achievable) principle. Rest assured that you are well protected from any harm associated with dental x-rays. Before the dental provider takes an x-ray, a lead apron is placed over your chest and abdomen; at HHD our aprons have a built in collar to protect your throat and thyroid as well.
If you are pregnant please tell your dentist prior to your appointment. X-rays will be taken on an as needed basis to limit the radiation exposure to yourself and your fetus. There is no need to delay any x-rays if you are trying to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. Do not hesitate to contact Dr. Kate Bazydlo and associates at Heritage House Dental in Mississauga if you have any questions.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
You are not alone: the unwelcoming pounding and numbing pain of headache is shared by many people. Affecting more teenage girls than boys, common headache triggers include stress, lack of sleep, excessive heat or sunlight, smoking and diet. Understanding some of the hidden causes and triggers of headaches is the key to avoiding this malady.
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
A condition known as TMJ or TMD occurs when the jaw is not resting in an ideal position. Over time, symptoms of discomfort including headaches may develop. Other reported symptoms of TMJ include, but are not limited to, jaw clicking, inability to open wide, jaw tenderness, difficulty chewing and ringing in the ears.If you are suffering from any of these symptoms or suspect that you may have TMJ/TMD, we can help. A therapeutic treatment program for relief may be beneficial to you and we can discuss this at your next dental visit or during a consultation. Do not hesitate to ask your dental health professional for advice.
Unbeknownst to you, your teeth and jaws may be busy and hard at work, all while you sleep! Bruxism involves excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Many people may not even be aware that they are doing it because they don’t associate the following symptoms; chipped/worn teeth, headaches, aching jaw muscles and hypersensitive teeth. To help individuals who are clenching or grinding their teeth, a night guard may be advised. This device helps protect your teeth from possible chipping and puts your jaw in a more relaxed position. Using a night guard on a regular basis may help you start your day without a pesky headache or jaw pain.
A study of adolescents discovered that gum-chewing preteen children and young adults are giving themselves headaches. Typical triggers in this age group include stress, sleep deprivation, heat, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, missed meals and menstruation. If you or your teen chew gum excessively and notice that a headache follows, simply cease chewing gum and monitor headache patterns to confirm whether this is a trigger. This might very well be one of the easiest and drug-free headache cures out there! If they persist, consult one of our dental professionals to rule out a TMJ condition.
Inadequate or excessive lighting and using a computer all day strains the eyes and their surrounding muscles. You may be experiencing headaches due to eye strain. Another possibility is the potential need for corrective eyewear. Regular visits to your Optometrist are important to ensure healthy eyes and a proper prescription.
Working at a computer all day doesn’t just impact your eyes; your body tends to get strained as well if you sit in the same position for an extended period. Taking appropriate breaks is ideal for your overall health and to keep your headaches at bay.
Whatever your headache trigger; we can discuss symptoms and treatment options to get you on the road to comfort and prevention. At Heritage House Dental we are always accepting new patients and would be happy to help you. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 905-814-1600 for an appointment.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental