Archive for August 2011

It is a sad reality but the fact is that, traditionally, men have not taken as good care of their oral health as women. The reason for this may not be entirely clear. However the fact is that this reality has manifested itself in many different ways.

In the first place, men have not been as diligent in daily home care of their teeth and gums. In a number of surveys, more men have reported that they do not brush their teeth more than once per day, nor do they floss regularly or use mouthwash.

All of these practices are beneficial to your oral health. Yet men who fail to follow them have nothing but excuses to justify their inaction. Some men erroneously believe that once per day is sufficient. Others simply claim that they do not have the time to brush twice, floss once and rinse.

The reality is that teeth need to be cleaned at least twice per day. The faster you remove biofilm from the surface of your teeth, the less likely you are to experience plaque build-up. That means you reduce the chances of tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease!

As for time, it only takes approximately 5 - 6 minutes per day to look after your teeth! Two minutes to brush in the morning, two in the evening and then add a minute or two for flossing and rinsing and you are done!

Of course, you can feel free to brush more often! But even following this minimum level should help immensely! Plus, it should not be that difficult to find 5 minutes in a day to look after your health.

Other areas where men fall short in their oral health include visits to the dentist. Men are more likely to believe that they do not need to visit the dentist twice per year. Even if they do believe this to be necessary, they are also more likely to feel that they do not have the time to visit the dentist.

The reality is that, today, many women are just as busy, if not busier than many of us men. So if they can find the time, why can’t the men?

The reality is that twice yearly check-ups are vital to ensure that your oral health remains in good condition. A lot can change in 6 months and your dentist wants to make sure any potential problems that develop are addressed before they become much larger!

Fortunately, some dentists are reporting that more and more men are placing a higher priority on oral health. This may be due to an increased importance that is placed on male appearance and grooming today compared to yesterday.

Today, it is not just women who recognize the importance of looking your best. And that means making sure your oral health is top notch so that your smile is the best it can be!

To those men who have not joined the movement, it is never too late. Because taking care of your teeth is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Wayne Perron

Dental Surgeon

Can you believe how close we are to the end of another summer? Before you know it, we will be sharing the roads with school buses once more. And along with the ritual of back to school, autumn brings with it the return of another Canadian ritual: hockey!

Like you, we are fans of this great, Canadian game. But I am sure most of us have that nagging concern in the back of our minds…what if our child gets hurt?

The truth is, you spend a lot of money on the best hockey equipment you can find, all in the hope of providing your son or daughter with as much protection from injury as possible. That means you look for the best shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves. The better the protection they offer, the happier you are.

However, one area that many parents fall short on is the mouth guard. Now, all kids have them as the league’s usually require them to wear one. So it is not that the kids lack a mouth guard. What they lack is a top quality mouth guard.

Most parents simply purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard that they find in their local hockey equipment store. Some of these products are fairly good and, when heated in boiling water, can be molded somewhat to fit your child’s mouth.

However, they are no substitute for a custom-fitted mouth guard!

Your dentist can take a mold of your child’s mouth so that a mouth guard can be fitted that specifically takes into consideration how his/her teeth come together. That way, you can have a mouth guard specifically designed to reduce the risk of dental trauma for your child, rather than a one-size fits all solution.

It does cost more to have a custom-fitted mouth guard. But if you are prepared to invest in the best shoulder protection, why not adopt the same approach to protecting your child’s teeth!

The beauty is if your child is a multi-sport athlete, s/he can use the mouth guard for other sports. Like hockey, football usually mandates that mouth guard be worn by all players.

If you watch a lot of professional basketball, you see a lot of players there wearing mouth guards. If it is good enough for the pros, we believe it is good enough for your children!

So invest in getting the best mouth guard – talk to your dentist about a custom fitted one to maximize your child’s protection from sports related dental trauma.

Then you need to take proper care of it! Simply rinsing it under water after a game is not sufficient to remove the germs and bacteria that accumulate on a mouth guard. We recommend brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste after every use. You should also soak it in a bacteria fighting mouthwash. Afterall, protecting the teeth from bacteria is just as important as protecting them from trauma.

So take a moment to contact your dentist and talk about a custom-fitted mouth guard. Because protecting young smiles from sports trauma is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

One of the greatest challenges faced in the dental profession is something of an offshoot to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. Many people simply think that if there is no pain or discomfort, nothing is wrong. So why bother seeing a dentist?

On a certain level, this is understandable. Other than our annual physical or other routine medical examinations, most of us do not visit our doctor when we are feeling great. So why should we be any different with our dentist?

To answer that question, let’s focus on a key statement in the previous paragraph. We stated that “Other than our annual physical or other routine medical examinations”. Right off the bat, that tells you that the wise and healthy course of action to looking after your health is to have those examinations, even when you feel perfectly healthy.

Well dentistry is no different. Looking after your dental health is a vital component of looking after your overall health. And that means the healthy choice is to visit your dentist at least twice per year, even if you are not experiencing any dental pain.

The unfortunate truth is that a lack of pain today does not mean problems are not developing. You may be developing periodontitis, gingivitis or cavities without experiencing even the slightest discomfort. All of these conditions can allow potentially harmful bacteria easy access into your body where they can do much more damage to your mouth and beyond!

You have probably heard the stories of an acquaintance feeling perfectly fine one day but waking up with a swollen, painful abscess the next! And one of the most common themes for these occurrences is dental neglect. When you investigate, you often discover that the patient does not brush or floss regularly or that their last visit to the dentist was 3 years ago.

The result…an oral health condition that could have been easily treated without any discomfort is now causing immense pain and might even require surgery to treat. All of this can happen because somebody thought “it ain’t broke”!

One thought we would like to leave you with is that oral health conditions are amongst the most common, chronic health problem in the world today. In some parts of the world, poverty is the main culprit. People in these regions are malnourished and lack the resources they need to look after their oral health.

In Canada, most of us are fortunate enough that this is not a problem. We have the resources and education we require to look after our oral health. We just have to use them.

So when it comes to your oral health, never mind the “if it ain’t broke” philosophy. Work on the truism that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! Because maintaining that ounce of prevention is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon

Well, if you blinked, it seems like you might have missed the better part of this summer. Back to school is only a matter of a couple of weeks away! Whatever you did this summer, we hope you enjoyed your time with family and friends.

Of course, back to school does mean taking the time to purchase those essential school supplies. We certainly agree that this is an important task. Well, in the midst of all the paper, pens, binders and backpacks, may we suggest you squeeze in a bit of time to bring your children to the dentist for a back to school check-up?

Think about it…you rush around to get all the right supplies for your kids so they can start the school year off right. Have you ever thought that starting the school year off right also means making sure they start it in good oral health?

There is a good reason to take the time to visit the dentist before school starts. Amongst school-aged children in North America today, oral health has become one of the greatest health care issues. It may not get the same publicity as other health issues, such as childhood obesity. And while we certainly do not want to downplay the seriousness of inactivity and obesity amongst our children today, oral health care is just as important an issue in our opinion.

The reality is that dental care issues are one of the biggest reasons children miss time from school. The pain associated with tooth decay and gum disease is very real and can keep children at home. Kids who miss more class time tend to have lower marks.

Even if the pain is not keeping your child home from school, any level of oral discomfort will likely affect your child’s ability to concentrate. And poor concentration also leads to poor marks!

A check up before school starts will allow your dentist to diagnose any early signs of oral health care issues. This means you can address them before they become a more serious issue and before they interfere with your child’s performance in school.

And if tooth decay or gum disease are not problems for your child, perhaps orthodontics may be in the future. Discussing this with your dentist and starting treatment before school begins can help avoid missed class time.

So start the school year off right by including a visit to the dentist to make sure your children have a clean bill of dental health. By booking now, your dentist may still have the time to deal with any problems before the school year starts.

That means you can be confident that your child is heading into the school year without the worry of missing classes. Because getting to class and achieving good marks in school are healthy habits…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Peter Georgopolous

Dental Surgeon

We all value a beautiful smile. You know the one! That wonderful look of a full set of straight, white teeth! A beautiful smile gives us confidence and allows us to display a more dynamic personality.

However, many people who do not have such straight teeth are reluctant to flash a big, confident smile. They become concerned about how their smile will be perceived and constantly strive to hide their teeth. Rightly or wrongly, they can be misjudged as not being friendly or being shy.

The improved confidence that comes with a more cosmetically appealing smile is one very good reason to correct crooked teeth. However, cosmetics are not the only concern. Crooked teeth can also have profound oral health implications.

For example, when teeth are not properly aligned, there is a tendency to develop an improper bite. When eating, the normal chewing motion can cause the teeth to grind against each other in an unnatural way. Over time, this can erode the enamel surface of the tooth, leaving that tooth more susceptible to decay.

Another factor to consider is that crooked teeth can be more difficult to keep clean. The bacteria that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease are microscopic and can fit just about anywhere.

But your toothbrush and dental floss, the essential tools to keep your teeth clean, are much larger. Quite simply, no amount of brushing or flossing can clean what cannot be reached. If crowding is preventing you from properly cleaning your teeth, bacteria will accumulate and you can expect this to result in oral health problems.

Crooked or misaligned teeth can also lead to problems with the temporomandibular  joint. This can result in muscle pain and tension that produces headaches. The longer you allow this situation to continue, the more problematic it can become. So correcting it as early as possible can, quite literally, save you lots of headaches!

As you can see, it is not just for cosmetic reasons that we recommend you address crooked teeth. The exact nature of the required intervention can depend upon the cause and severity of the problem as well as the age of the patient. Your dentist may be able to correct the situation with relatively minor intervention. On the other hand, more serious cases may have to be referred to an orthodontist.

And while it is preferable to address these situations when a patient is young, do not assume that you have to accept your crooked teeth just because you are an adult! You might be pleasantly surprised at how your dentist can help no matter what your age!

The key is to fix the problem…not just for the cosmetic improvement that will result. Crooked teeth can create serious oral health concerns and correcting them  is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

It seems strange to think that the time you spend in a spinning class or moving those weights around could be good for your oral health. But some studies have suggested that it is not just your legs, hips and waste that can benefit from a little sweat equity!

One study in particular out of Case Western University in the United States is quite interesting. It found that individuals who participated in regular exercise routines, maintained a healthy diet and kept their weight within a normal range were 40% less likely to suffer from gum disease.

It should obviously be pointed out that exercise alone was not responsible for the improved oral health. Individuals who performed well in this study also had a tendency to eat better. Proper nutrition is instrumental to overall health as well as oral health.

For example, healthy eating habits help build up the body’s defenses against disease. The better your nutrition, the more capable your body is to fight off common ailments such as a cold or the flu.

However, proper nutrition may also reduce the risk of gum disease by reducing the amount of plaque biofilm on the teeth. Biofilm is a build-up of bacteria. Researchers concluded that a healthy body that has been fed a nutritious diet may be better equipped to fight off the invasive bacteria in biofilm just like it would a cold or flu virus.

Exercise can also be beneficial for your oral health on a number of different levels. Firstly, exercise is vital to maintain a healthy bone density, particularly as we age. This is obviously a concern to prevent broken hips or limbs from falls.

However, good bone density also helps keep the jaw bone strong. The stronger the jaw bone, the more capable it is of supporting your teeth and keeping them in place.

Secondly, exercise has been cited as a contributing factor to reducing what is known as C-reactive protein in the blood. This protein is associated with inflammation in the heart. It is also associated with periodontal disease. In other words, what reduces the risk of heart disease may also reduce the risk of gum disease.

Obviously, eating right, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight will not be sufficient on their own to properly look after your oral health. You will still need to brush and floss daily and visit your dentist regularly.

Still it is interesting to consider how the body is so interrelated. All that fattening, high sugar food that we use to say “goes over the lips and onto the hips”? Now we can see how burning it off the hips looks after our lips!

This is just one more reason to add balance to your life with healthy eating and exercise. Because maintaining that balance is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon