Life is certainly busy enough with lots of activities that can keep us from getting the sleep that we need. Do you ever wonder how that lack of sleep affects your overall health?

Sleep is a vital component to a healthy lifestyle. While you sleep, the body is regenerating; recharging and recovering from all the stress, hustle and bustle you put it through for the previous 16 hours. If your body is not getting the quality sleep it needs, you are not recovering and getting ready to do it all again the next day!

Most of you know that a lack of sleep will affect your energy. There are also studies that connect lack of sleep with weight gain due to its impact on the metabolism.

What many people may not be aware of is that some studies have linked lack of sleep to periodontal disease! In fact, when you remove poor brushing and flossing habits, these studies suggest that lack of sleep is second only to smoking as being a contributing factor to periodontal disease.

When you think about it, it does make a lot of sense. If you are not getting enough sleep night after night, your body’s energy levels will suffer. When your energy declines, your bodies defense mechanisms also decline. That can allow all forms of bacteria more freedom to run rampant throughout your body – including the bacteria associated with periodontal disease!

Unfortunately for some people, no matter how early they get to bed, they just cannot get enough quality sleep to look after their health. For some, the problem may be simple snoring, which can affect their sleep as well as that of their partner! Other snorers may actually suffer from sleep apnea.

While we may not be able to help severe cases of sleep apnea at Rideau Dental Centre, snoring may be something we can help with. You may find that a custom fitted night guard is all that you need to sufficiently open your mouth and throat, thereby eliminating the tendency to snore!

More and more people are discovering that a night guard can be the difference between a sluggish day and a great night sleep – for themselves as well as their partners! So if you know that snoring is a problem for you, mention it to us at your next appointment.

You need that quality sleep to keep your bodies’ defenses working at their best! It can keep your entire body healthy, and that includes your gums and teeth! So if you want to feel better all around AND reduce your risk of periodontal disease, doing what you can to sleep better may be vital to you.  Because good sleep is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

Undoubtedly, you have heard high blood pressure described as the “silent killer”. The reason for this rather dubious distinction is that most people who suffer from it are not aware of their condition. 

In fact, many people are only made aware they have high blood pressure during a routine visit with their family doctor. However, if you are among the 26% of the local population without a family doctor, you may justifiably question how you might discover if high blood pressure is a problem for you.

Due to this concern, a number of dental offices, including us at Rideau Dental Centre, have started to take the blood pressure of our patients before commencing treatment. If we consider that your blood pressure is too high, it may be unsafe to proceed with your appointment at that time.

We understand that for some patients, visiting your dentist can result in some anxiety.  That may be sufficient to raise your blood pressure. If your blood pressure does return to normal after a short wait in our office, we can safely complete your appointment. However, your health is our number one priority! If we feel it may be compromised by providing dental treatment we will advise against doing so at that time.

Once you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important that you keep us apprised of your condition. We  need to know what medication you may be taking to control it. This is due to the fact that your medication can have an impact on your oral health.

A common side effect of blood pressure medication is dry mouth, which is the result of the medicine reducing the production of saliva. This can result in periodontal disease or acid erosion of the teeth.

We may have to make some recommendations with respect to your treatment that take into consideration your medication. However, we can only do this if you inform us as to what medication you are on.

It might seem strange at first to have your blood pressure taken at the dental office. But when you understand how your blood pressure, and your medication to treat that blood pressure, can have an impact on your oral health, it actually makes a lot of sense. Because understanding the oral health implications of your high blood pressure is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  David Lui

Dental Surgeon

No matter how good a job we do at taking care of our teeth, the truth is that some of us will experience some oral health care issues in our lifetimes. Perhaps it will be periodontal disease, or it may be decay brought about by acid erosion. Another common problem would be the need for a root canal.

So what exactly is a root canal and how is it treated?

In truth, the “root canal” is actually the natural cavity found at the centre of the tooth. Within that area, you will find what is referred to as the “pulp” or the “pulp chamber”.  The pulp is the soft material that surrounds the nerve.

Sometimes people may experience damage to the nerve or the pulp chamber. This can be caused by some form of trauma, or it may simply be the cumulative result of decay over a period of time.

As a consequence of such trauma or decay, some people may experience a build-up of bacteria around that nerve. If enough bacteria builds up, an infection or an abscess can develop.

This can prove to be quite painful for some people, as the infection will press right against the nerve of the tooth. Furthermore, the infection can spread to the adjoining teeth, resulting in serious complications if left untreated, including bone and tissue loss.

The remedy for this condition is a treatment we also refer to as a “root canal”. If we determine that a root canal is required for your condition, we will have to access the pulp chamber to remove the infection. This usually involves removing the pulp as well. As the nerve of the tooth will essentially be “dead” at this time, it will need a crown to protect the integrity of the remaining structure.

Patients who visit our office regularly may be fortunate in that we can catch the developing condition before you actually experience any pain. Using x-rays, we may be able to spot a developing infection that might go undetected by the naked eye. Not only could that save you the discomfort of the abscess itself, your treatment may not be as extensive given the early stage of detection. 

It is important to keep in mind that just because you cannot feel any discomfort, does not necessarily mean all is well below the gum line. This is why we rely upon x-rays to; quite literally, allow us to get to the “root” of the problem before it becomes urgent.  We can only do that if you visit us at Rideau Dental Centre on a regular basis. 

So make sure you visit us at least twice per year for a complete review of your oral health. Because early detection of an infection is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Wayne Perron

Dental Surgeon

Oral Cancer: It is VERY Real!

September 18, 2012 | Posted Education

This is certainly not the first time we have blogged about oral cancer and the importance of oral cancer checks. However, while our past blogs have talked about it as a simple concept, a recent event at our office brought home the significance of this very real condition.

An oral cancer check is a routine part of an exam performed by both the dentist and a hygienist. Virtually all dental offices conduct such exams, though they may not always inform you about it.

In our case, a member of our team was providing a routine, periodontal maintenance treatment to a young person under the age of 40 years. During the course of that treatment, she examined this patient for oral cancer.

At this time, she noticed the early stages of a lesion developing on the side of this patient’s tongue. She immediately recommended that the patient attend at the office of a specialist to have this lesion examined more closely. An appointment was scheduled for her/him.

The specialist examined the lesion and conducted a biopsy. Sure enough, the results came back positive for oral cancer!

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending. The oral cancer was caught early so it could be removed without the need for extensive, disfiguring surgery. More importantly, the specialist advised this patient that s/he was very lucky. The fact that the cancer was caught so early and that our team member insisted on follow up treatment may well have saved this person’s life!

Obviously, you do not normally associate the work of a dentist with life-saving treatment. But given that we work exclusively in your mouth, your dental office team is likely in the best position to help diagnose oral cancer. This is particularly the case given how difficult it is for many people to even find a family doctor!

This case certainly reminds us of the importance of an oral cancer check. It is a form of cancer that is being diagnosed more frequently today than at any time in the past. And like any cancer, if it is not diagnosed early, the results can be fatal!

Fortunately, we do not have to deal with advising patients they may have oral cancer on a daily basis! However, when it does happen, and we have a happy ending as we did in this case, it makes us feel that much prouder of the work we do!

We certainly hope we do not have to provide you with a similar diagnosis. However, we always recommend that you have an oral cancer check. Because having an oral cancer check is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

If your kids did not head back to school last week with the French boards, then this is the big week for them! Regardless of the day they went back, we hope they are happy being back in class and excited to take on the challenges of a new grade.

Back to school brings a certain amount of normalcy back into all of our schedules. For starters, when summer vacation ends for the kids, it also ends for most of us grown-ups. With more time at work and more activities to drive our kids to, we have to become that much better at organizing our time to make our regimen’s run efficiently.

We would like to suggest that taking the time to look after your oral health, and that of your kids, be given a high priority in your schedule.  Schedules may be tight to make sure kids get to school and you get to work on time, and that everyone is in bed early enough  to get a good night’s sleep.

As important as that is, good oral health makes it imperative that we find at least two minutes in the morning and at night to properly brush our teeth. As small a commitment as this appears, the reality is that the average person spends just over 60 seconds brushing. That means the average person is simply not doing enough to properly care for their teeth!

Then there is the matter of flossing. Many people fail to do this at all. Yet it is something that also takes little more than a minute to do. That means your daily, minimum investment of time for good oral health is as little as 5 to 6 minutes. More is better, of course. Still, a lot of good can be accomplished in such a small amount of time!

Of course, when you are dealing with kids, you do have to be prepared to spend time helping them. Most kids do not have dexterity to be able to floss properly and will likely need your help. Truth be told, until  they become teenagers and start becoming more concerned about their appearance, you will have to take an active role in looking after their oral health as most kids will not do it on their own!

So when you are structuring your day, we ask that you make sure there is enough time to properly brush and floss your teeth and that of your children. Sleep is important to our health but losing one minute of sleep from your routine is not that big a deal.  However, losing one minute from brushing your teeth can be far more crucial!

So find those 5 or 6 minutes each day that can be the difference between good oral health and tooth decay or periodontal disease! Of course, your regimen should also include time to visit us at Rideau Dental Centre at least twice per year, or more often if your oral health requires it. Because investing time in your oral health is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

If your children are in one of the French school boards, you may have celebrated their return to class today. If not, hold on…just one more week and they will be back as well.

While back to school does alleviate that concern about planning what to do with the kids today, there is always the issue of what to pack in their lunch bags! We all know the foods kids want to eat…and we likely cringe every time we have them in the grocery store with us and they grab one box of processed, sugary food after another and ask “Can we buy this?”

Getting kids to eat healthy alternatives is never easy, but the benefits make it a battle we can never give up on. Most of us are well aware of the concerns we have with childhood obesity rates. Sedentary lifestyles combined with poor diets are major contributing factors to this growing health problem.

The affects of poor nutritional choices are something we see regularly at Rideau Dental Centre. Children whose diet is high in sugar, starchy processed foods suffer from higher levels of tooth decay. Yet so many parents continue to pile these foods into school lunch boxes thinking they are doing their children a favour.

While letting kids have some of these treats is ok, we recommend you make the effort to increase the amount of healthy alternatives your kids eat at school. And it really is easier than you might think.

Most kids love apples. So why not include apples in their lunch bag on a daily basis. Their mildly acidic nature is such that they are less likely to cause tooth decay than more acidic foods. Plus their crunchy texture actually helps to clean your children’s teeth.

We understand that children will get tired of eating apples every day. With the different varieties of apples, you can mix things up a bit. Still, the school year is pretty long no matter how many different varieties of apples there are; children might get bored with “another apple” every day.

Don’t be afraid to look for other healthy alternatives. For example, rather than an apple, you can switch things up some days with carrots or celery.  Just as crunchy as apples, they can have the same cleansing benefit on young teeth…something you will be very happy about when you bring your child it to see us at Rideau Dental Centre for his/her check-up.

So when you think about it, foods like apples really are perfect snacks for school lunch bags – and parent ones too! Never think that you are too big to enjoy an apple a day! Your teeth and gums, as well as your waist line, will appreciate the healthier alternative. Because nutritious snacking is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

If you have visited us at Rideau Dental Centre regularly, you will have had an x-ray. To some, an x-ray is so routine it is something they do not even think about. Yet the truth is it really is an incredibly valuable technological tool.

X-ray’s operate by sending out waves of energy that can pass through solid objects. The more dense the object, the more the rays are absorbed.

Teeth are quite dense compared to your cheeks and gums. As a result, your teeth absorb more x-ray energy, which is why they show up lighter in colour on the x-ray film. Existing fillings are more dense than teeth and appear lighter on the film.

Cavities, on the other hand, are areas where the tooth has experienced decay. This means the area of the cavity is less dense than the rest of the tooth. As a result, they appear much darker on an x-ray than the rest of the tooth.

This simple contrast in the darkness of the x-ray image enables us to see things that cannot be observed with the naked eye. For instance, we can use x-rays to spot early signs of decay between teeth, under the gum line or beneath an existing filling. An x-ray can also reveal bone loss associated with periodontal disease, locate signs of infection or the fact that a nerve beneath the tooth has died, which can be a precursor to root canal.

X-ray’s help us as dentists to locate these potential problems as early as possible. When found early, treatment may be much easier and less intrusive, and that means less costly.

The question that remains is how often you should have an x-ray. There is no simple answer to this question. We will determine your need for an x-ray based upon your individual oral health. Some people may only require x-rays every year or two. Other patients may need them more frequently, perhaps as often as every six months.

For instance, people with periodontal disease, those with a number of fillings, or who suffer from dry mouth or who smoke may benefit from having x-rays every six months. More frequent x-rays bring into question the health concerns associated with x-ray radiation.

Patients should feel confident that dental x-rays subject you to very small levels of radiation.  In fact, with all of the precautions we take at Rideau Dental Centre, you are likely to be exposed to more radiation through your computer and Smartphone than from a dental x-ray.

If you continue to have any concerns about x-rays, you should speak to us about it. You need to be comfortable with the treatment you receive. This means balancing any concerns about x-ray radiation with the benefits of early detection of dental problems. Finding dental problems early is a healthy habit… and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon

Back to school is just around the corner and that always means the rush of back to school shopping. Preparing them to do well in class is vital. And we all know that healthy, active kids tend to perform better academically as well. So while school always needs to be the first priority, making sure your kids participate in sports is also very important.

For many Canadians, both boys and girls, that often means hockey and even football. However, a growing number of kids are also participating in other sports throughout the fall and winter, including basketball and even soccer (thanks to all the domes out there).

One thing all of these sports have in common is physical contact. Even if contact is not actually allowed, it is inevitable that they will bump into each other.  With those bumps can come dental trauma. To protect against such trauma, your children need to be wearing a mouth guard when participating in any of these sports.

Hockey and football both require that children wear a mouth guard at all times. The same cannot be said for soccer or basketball. However, if you watch a lot of professional basketball, you see a lot of the pros wearing mouth guards. If it is good enough for them, we believe it is good enough for your children! Hopefully, we will start to see more soccer players also wearing them in the near future, as soccer players need to protect their teeth too!

One thing to keep in mind is that not just any mouth guard will do. Many parents do not feel it is necessary to invest in a top quality, custom-fitted mouth guard as the feel they are too expensive.

On the financial end of things, you may actually save money with a custom-fitted mouth guard. Because it is fitted to your child’s mouth, s/he will be less likely to chew on it. That means you may not have to replace it multiple times throughout the season. It may cost more up front, but if you can get a full season out of, it may be a less expensive option than you think.

More importantly, a mouth guard that fits your child’s mouth provides better protection. We can provide your child with maximum protection for his/her teeth with a mouth guard designed just for him/her. Simply bring your child in and we can take a mold of his/her mouth and create a mouth guard that takes into consideration how his/her teeth come together. Such a mouth guard provides far more protection than a one-size fits all product from your local sports store.

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. We recommend brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste after every use. You should also soak it in a bacteria fighting mouthwash. After all, protecting the teeth from bacteria is just as important as protecting them from trauma.

So come talk to us 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

It certainly has been a hot summer! We hope you have enjoyed it up to this point and that there is still plenty more fun for you before it ends.  While we hate to talk about the impending end of summer, the fact is we turned the page on the calendar to the last full month of this great season.

We do have to prepare for the inevitable arrival of autumn. Along with the change in temperature, it also means preparing for back to school. In addition to purchasing the usual array of back to school supplies, we also suggest you start the year by bringing your children to see us at Rideau Dental Centre for a back to school check-up.

The truth is that good oral health is more important to school health than many people might think. 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

Many people may not be aware 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.  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 more serious and before they interfere with your child’s performance in school.

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.

Start the school year off right by including a visit to a dentist at Rideau Dental Centre to make sure your children have a clean bill of dental health. By booking now, we 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. Getting to class and achieving good marks in school are healthy habits…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Martin LaBoisssonniere

Dental Surgeon

Have You Heard of CEREC?

July 31, 2012 | Posted Education

Technology has changed so much of what we do in our everyday life. Think of the speed at which we can access information on the internet or the manner in which we watch television in high definition, streamed feeds. Thirty years ago, these sorts of technology simply did not form part of our everyday lives.

Dentistry has also been dramatically affected by technology. New materials and techniques better enable your dentist to deliver services that simply did not exist in the past. Furthermore, with the computer technology provided in some offices, you can receive that treatment far more quickly and efficiently than in days gone by.

One of the most dramatic technological developments is commonly known as CEREC or E4D. CEREC or E4D can be used for a number of dental procedures, including crowns and veneers. It allows us as dentists to photograph your tooth and the surrounding area from multiple angles. The images are stored and a digital, three dimensional model is created.

Then the marvel really begins. The CEREC or E4D software will take that 3D model and design the crown or veneer that will best fit your tooth! Not only does it create an ideal fit for the restored tooth – it is able to consider the ideal shape to best function in YOUR mouth!

Your digitally designed restoration will be stored and then sent wirelessly to a milling machine specially designed for the CEREC or E4D system. The milling machine is like having a dental lab in your dentist’s office, meaning you do not need to take an impression on one visit and then return for a second or third time in order to allow an external lab the time to create your restoration. Within minutes, a crown or veneer can be created out of a modern, ceramic material.

Most patients are thrilled with the results. The digital technology, combined with minor adjustments we perform, work to create a tooth that fits and functions in your mouth like your natural tooth. The ceramic material used can create such a close match with your surrounding teeth, nobody will suspect you have a crown.

All this can be achieved with one simple trip to see us at Rideau Dental Centre! So if you have been putting off the crown your smile needs because you do not have the time to visit us two or three times, ask us if you might be a suitable candidate to have them created using CEREC or E4D.

If so, invest in your smile by scheduling that appointment. When you see that youthful smile in the mirror, you will be glad that you did.  Smiling keeps us feeling young,  energetic  and it is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon

If you look through the articles on this site, you will notice that we strongly believe in emphasizing how important good oral health is important for good overall health. At Rideau Dental Centre, we are certainly proud of our role in helping you to maintain a healthy, happy life.

Believe it or not, sometimes contributing to good health is as simple as restoring a smile that you will be confident to flash to the world! The positive attitude that comes with a healthy, happy smile itself can improve your health dramatically.

Sometimes, life can get in the way of making you feel good about your smile. Perhaps you have had an accident which chipped or broke a tooth, or decay as eroded a tooth and deprived it of its naturally appealing shape and appearance. Depending upon your personal situation, you may need a crown to restore your smile.

A crown is a cap that covers the entire tooth surface. It might be made of porcelain, ceramic or a metal alloy, such as gold.

Once in place, the crown acts as the outer surface of the tooth. Not only will it be what people see, it will be the new “tooth” you will use to chew your food. It needs to be structurally sound to do this. Therefore, it is imperative that it be installed properly to ensure a proper fit and a strong “tooth”.

Aside from repairing broken teeth, crowns can also be used to conceal discoloured teeth. They may also be used in conjunction with other dental procedures, such as a root canal. A root canal is a procedure you may require if the nerve of the tooth is not providing your tooth with the nourishment it requires. When this happens, the exposed tooth may become brittle and susceptible to fracturing. A crown will cover and protect the tooth, providing you with the peace of mind that your tooth is not likely to fracture.

The question is whether a crown is right for you! This is an important discussion we always believe in having with our patients before proceeding. For example, if your teeth are structurally sound, a crown may not be your best cosmetic option. This is due to the fact that installing a crown on a perfectly healthy tooth may require us to actually file or shave off part of the existing enamel.  This may not be the most desired option.

The good news is that there are other cosmetic options available that can be used to enhance your smile. For example, veneers can be a less intrusive way to cover stained or chipped teeth that are, otherwise, perfectly healthy.

If you are looking to enhance your smile, we recommend that you discuss your options with us first. We will be able to help select the best option for you. And should you decide on crowns, you may want to consider using CEREC to create them.  If you are a suitable candidate for crowns made by a CEREC machine, you may be able to have those crowns created in just one visit.

Whatever option you choose, we hope that the thought of flashing your new smile at your friends excites you. Studies show that smiling is a very healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulous

Most of your friends would probably never tell you if you had bad breath. After all, it can be a rather embarrassing topic to bring up, even though they may be doing you a favour. Of course, if you have small children, you can probably count on them to let you know! Kids are not too shy and we all know how they will just say what is on their minds.

However, if you do suffer from bad breath, you may already be aware of it. The question is what can you do about it?

In most instances, bad breath is caused by poor oral health practices. If you do not brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day and floss at least once, you are likely leaving behind food particles between your teeth and along the gum line. The same can be said if you are brushing too quickly or just not doing a thorough job.

Unfortunately, you are not the only person who likes the food you eat. Bacteria also love it!  Colonies of bacteria will be attracted to remaining food particles. They can be particularily good at accumulating around the gum line and on your tongue! Trust us when we say that this bacteria does not smell good! In fact, it is what causes most instances of bad breath, and bad breath is not the only problem that may result. Left untreated, the bacteria in the mouth will turn to plaque. It can continue to spread under the gum line and may result in your developing periodontal disease.

If you have bad breath, treat it as a warning sign that you need to improve your oral health practices! The first step that may be necessary is a visit with us at Rideau Dental Centre.  Plaque is not always easy to remove with just a brush and floss, particularly if it is below the gum line. We can provide the professional cleaning you need to remove that plaque and, quite literally, give you a “fresh” start!

After that, brush your teeth and tongue morning and before bed time. You should also bring a toothbrush to work so you can brush after lunch! And do not forget to floss at least once per day. Don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three months. A dirty toothbrush cleans your teeth as well as dirty water cleans your dishes!

If you continue to experience bad breath despite your improved oral health regimen, come back to visit us. If you seem to be in good oral health, you may actually have another health concern that is the cause of your bad breath. For instance, bad breath may be a sign of undiagnosed diabetes! You may have to discuss this matter with another medical practitioner to determine the cause of your problem.

For most people, however, good oral health practices will solve their battle of the breath! So take the time to brush and floss properly as that is your best defense.  Defending against bad breath is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

So far, we have seen our share of hot dry weather this summer! And with that weather comes summer fashions where clothes are lighter and there is more of the human body to be seen. Some of us may see the human body as a perfect work of art not to be tampered with. Others see it as a canvas to explore with tattoos and piercings.

If you take the latter view, we hope you do your research and select a reputable location to explore your edgy look. Just keep in mind, when it comes to piercings, there is a lot more to think about other than just where to go to get it done or how cool it looks. When it comes to piercings of the lips, cheeks or tongue, we also have to think about how this might affect your oral health.

It may not be pleasant to think about it, but the tongue is prime breeding ground for bacteria. Millions of these organisms make their home in this small little area of the body. In fact, as much as 70% of the bacteria found in the mouth make their home on the tongue.

Bacteria build-up on the tongue can cause serious health concerns. Bacteria are live organisms. They like to grow and they like to move. Just because they start at the tongue does not necessarily mean they will stay there. They may easily move to the teeth and gums. And bacteria at the gum line can cause periodontal disease.

More serious problems, such as infections, can occur if the bacteria finds its way into the bloodstream. These infections may not necessarily remain in the mouth. Blood flows throughout the body and it can transport that bacteria wherever it goes.

Keeping your tongue clean by brushing it is always important. If you are thinking of getting your tongue or lips pierced, you have even more reason to keep your tongue clean. The piercing creates an open wound that gives easy access for the bacteria to get into the blood stream. Just think of the infections that could result!

Even if you manage to avoid any infections from the piercing, you have created a great place for bacteria to accumulate. People with pierced tongues who fail to properly clean around the piercing are more likely to have bad breath than those without piercings.

At Rideau Dental Centre, we certainly recommend against piercings. Our focus is on your oral health and anything that makes it more difficult to maintain good oral health, such as piercings, is not something we favour. However, we recognize that the desire to be edgy and cool may trump good health advice. Should that be the case, it is vital that you keep the area around the piercing as clean as possible.

We will certainly do our part to help you in that regard, as long as you come to see us on a regular basis.  We will let you know if there are any early signs of infection around your piercing.

However, the bulk of the work at keeping the areas around piercings clean and bacteria free are up to you! You have to be committed to taking extra care in cleaning your teeth at home. Because avoiding the spread of infection is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon

With Canada Day just having passed us by, we have enjoyed the first long weekend of the summer. We certainly hope you enjoyed it!

And what was not to enjoy! A long weekend with warm, sunny weather can be a great excuse for heading up to a cottage or campsite with friends and family.  Of course, many of us would have enjoyed the consumption of some alcoholic beverages over this weekend, and may continue to do so on patios and cottages throughout the summer.

We have so many reasons to drink responsibly, the most obvious being the danger associated with drinking and driving. Even if you avoid stepping behind the wheel of a car, most of us are aware of many of the dangers associated with excessive alcohol consumption. However, most people are not as familiar with the damage alcohol can have on your oral health!

The first area of concern can be tooth decay. Alcohol, particularly wine, can have a high acidic content. Food and drink high in acid can erode the enamel of our teeth, leading to acid erosion. Given our tendency to allow wine to linger in our mouth as we consume it slowly, the acid in the wine is allowed more time to wear away at the enamel and, ultimately, the underlying structure of the tooth.

Obviously, the more frequently you drink, the greater the level of acid erosion one would expect to find. However, even moderate drinking can result in some degree of acid erosion.

The affects of alcohol do not stop with tooth decay. It is also associated with a higher incidence of periodontal disease. The same sugars and acids that can erode the enamel of the teeth can have a similar affect on the gums. The contents of many forms of alcohol can bind to the teeth and thus begin a breeding ground for harmful plaque. As plaque accumulates around the gum line, it can result in periodontal disease.

Of greatest concern is the link between alcohol and oral cancer. Alcohol is considered one of the greatest contributors to oral cancer, along with tobacco use. Given the tendency to only diagnose oral cancer at more advanced stages, it is a form of cancer with a high mortality rate.

It is important to point out that our own attitudes toward alcohol consumption can be one of our worst enemies when it comes to oral health. Without question, at Rideau Dental Centre, we would applaud your decision to not drive while intoxicated! We also agree that light alcohol consumption can have some positive health benefits from a cardiovascular standpoint.

However, particularly in the summer, that tendency to be more social can lead to more than light consumption of alcohol. And the reality is that it does not take much to have an adverse impact on the health of your teeth and gums.

By all means, enjoy the summer! It seems to pass by too quickly every year and we do not want to waste a minute of it. But remember, too much of a good thing in the form of alcohol can lead to some serious oral health issues. Limiting your alcohol intake is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Wayne Perron

Dental Surgeon

Ah, it is summertime and the weather is hot! Your teens are out of school and hopefully finding ways to enjoy their time. Perhaps they have summer jobs to keep them busy for part of it. The rest of the time, it can be a bit of a battle to make sure they are at least maintaining some good habits before school starts again!

As more and more schools try to remove unhealthy food options from their premises, we certainly hope that such action leads to better oral and overall health for our teens. However, in the summer, teens have that much more free time. And if you are a parent of a teen, you know how much harder it is to control any aspect of a teen’s life when they have time on their hands!

With that extra free time, will they be spending more of it at the store or a fast food restaurant, increasing the amount of sugary soft drinks they consume? We all know that teens tend to favour soft drinks over healthier options, such as water. And the amount of sugar contained in such drinks, combined with the amount teens tend to drink, can wreak havoc on their teeth by eroding away the protective enamel.

But that is not the only issue teens can have with their oral health in the summer. How can we make sure they are brushing their teeth properly? Teens often operate on a different schedule from their parents, going to bed later and also waking up later.

Hopefully, you have instilled in them good habits for brushing and flossing when they were younger. More importantly, we hope they will continue to adhere to those lessons on their own. Of course, since teens tend to want to look good, now may be a good time to appeal to their sense of vanity, but in a way that does not create any insecurities!

Even having them come in to visit us at Rideau Dental Centre can be a challenge. If they are due for a dental appointment during the summer, will they make sure they keep their appointment on their own?

Though it is much harder at this stage, you still need to talk to your teen about many aspects of their lives, including their oral health. We all understand that they think they know everything, but a friendly reminder from mom and dad still can help. If good oral health habits have been ingrained in them from a young age, that might help some of these friendly reminders go over a bit better. So if your child is not yet a teen, make sure you are stressing the importance of good oral health habits now.

Good oral health habits are more important than you might think. Amongst kids age 5 to 17, poor oral health is considered the most common chronic health condition they face. It is responsible for more missed school days than any other chronic condition. The pain and discomfort that accompanies poor dental and periodontal health contributes to poorer academic performance.

So while we all want our teens to enjoy their summer, we still want them to be responsible for themselves. Maintaining good oral health practices during the summer, complete with a health diet, will really help them when they head back to school in September.

So, just because they are teens and they know it all, don’t be afraid to show them you care by reminding them to look after their mouths! Because looking after their oral health in the summer is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

While we all may long for that perfect smile, with smooth, evenly spaced teeth you can gloss your tongue over, it is not something that everyone can come by naturally!

Though the problem may seem minor to some, many people experience gaps between teeth, referred to as a diastema. At the very least, such gaps can appear unattractive and inhibit a person from truly flashing their biggest smile! In other cases, the diastema may be indicative of other dental issues that need to be addressed before any corrective action can be taken to deal with the gap itself.

Technically, a diastema can occur between any teeth. However, the most common, and the most visible, is a gap between the two front teeth of the upper jaw. Given the greater visibility, it is usually the one people find most troubling.

In some instances, there may be a mismatch between the size and shape of the teeth or even between the jawbone and the teeth.  As the body grows and develops, the teeth are never able to set into perfect alignment as the connections are just not in place to allow for this.

Similarly, other people may experience a diastema as a result of missing teeth. An accident that results in the loss of one or more teeth can change the development path your teeth will take to deal with the additional space.

Thumb sucking commonly leads to gaps between the front teeth. A major problem for thumb suckers is that the gap may continue to grow unless the individual stops the thumb sucking activity.

Another common cause for such gaps is periodontal disease. Particularly as this condition advances, bone loss can become more and more of a problem. With such bone loss, a diastema may develop.

As you can see, the causes for developing a diastema are quite varied. At Rideau Dental Centre, we believe that in order to properly treat your specific condition, we need to know its root cause. Treatment may vary depending upon the culprit behind your condition.

For example, those with missing teeth may require an implant to properly fill the space and allow the teeth to fall back into a more normal alignment. An implant may also be required for someone with periodontal disease depending upon how advanced your condition is and whether there is sufficient natural bone in place to affix an implant.

Thumb suckers may ultimately require orthodontic treatment. However, the priority will be to look for ways to curb the thumb sucking before beginning with orthodontics.

Those with a mismatch in the size and shape of their teeth may simply have to consider some form of cosmetic treatment to enhance the appearance, such as veneers. The bottom line is that every situation will be unique and we will need to assess your condition before prescribing the treatment that is right for you.

It may even be necessary to consider a combination of more than one of the above suggestions. Whatever the situation, we are always happy to work closely with you to design the best option. Because developing options that best address your condition is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

It goes without saying that there has been a great deal of attention given to the problem of obesity in our society.  Whether you are surfing news websites, watching coverage on television or reading a newspaper, you can be assured that, at some point, you will come across an article discussing the negative health implications associated with obesity.

Usually, the focus will be on how obesity rates have increased the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and other such medical conditions. Given that these can be fatal if not addressed properly, it comes as no surprise that these topics would garner the lion’s share of attention.

What you do not hear as much about is the link between obesity and oral health. Given what we know about the relationship between oral health and some of the same medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, we believe further consideration of this link is very justified!

Regardless as to the age of the individual, there is a tendency for obese individuals to also suffer from poorer oral health. To a great extent, one of the most common causal links between the two is poor diet.

In the case of children, the greater tendency for them to spend more sedentary time watching television of playing simple video games does affect their teeth. Less active children have more time to consume greater quantities of snacks. Unfortunately, the snacks they tend to eat have high sugar content. 

Furthermore, since they are just passively sitting and eating, kids will tend to keep these foods in their mouths for longer periods of time. This can allow more time for the sugars in these foods to be broken down and converted into acids that contribute to tooth decay. When combined with acidic beverages, such as soft drinks or fruit juice, it is easy to see how decay can become a problem.

In the case of obese adults, there are some studies suggesting a link between a high glycemic diet and both obesity and tooth decay. Fermentable carbohydrates, found in refined wheat flour and pasta, tend to be converted into simple sugars. Once again, these are the same sugars that can contribute to both obesity and tooth decay.

When you stop and think about it, it should not come as a surprise that there would be a link between oral health, obesity and poor diet. The poor nutritional value of foods that tend to make up a higher part of the diet of obese individuals clearly affects the teeth as well as the waist line.

At Rideau Dental Centre, our focus will obviously be on the oral health component.  We would be happy to talk with you about your diet. The fact that our discussion may actually have some benefits on your waistline, we would look upon that as an added bonus! Because improving your diet is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon

If you think it never really matters how something gets to its final destination, as long as it gets there, you have never really thought about the importance of proper breathing! The truth is, how you get oxygen into your lungs can have an impact on your oral health.

The normal breathing pattern involves inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Some people, however, actually have trouble maintaining such a normal breathing pattern. Particularly while sleeping, these people may breathe more through the mouth.

The reasons for breathing through the mouth are numerous. It may be an issue of suffering from seasonal allergies, a particularly challenging problem at this time of year. Other people may have specific obstructions to their airway, such as enlarged tonsils, or a deviated septum.

As dentists, we can actually spot the physical signs of mouth breathing in our patients. One of the most common signs is a deformity of the jaw. The jaw may appear elongated, with an overbite and small chin being common. As this happens, the problem can actually become compounded as the elongated jaw can actually lead to even more airway obstructions.

However, problems associated with mouth breathing are not restricted to the physical appearance of the jaw. Mouth breathing is much less efficient than nose breathing. This means mouth breathers process less oxygen as they breathe.

The result can be a poorer quality of sleep or even sleep apnea. And people who do not sleep well are obviously not as well rested. In children, the lack of sleep can have such a profound effect on behavior that many are misdiagnosed with ADD.

How we deal with mouth breathing will depend upon the cause of the problem. Some patients may require orthodontic treatment to address an overbite or otherwise misshapen jaw. However, such treatment will only address the consequence of mouth breathing, not the cause.

Solving the problem may require that we work with other medical specialists. If the problem is an obstruction such as inflamed tonsils or deviated septum, surgery may be the solution.

Other situations may be solved with something as simple as a dental appliance that we can provide you with right here at Rideau Dental Centre. How we address your mouth breathing will depend on what is causing your specific problem.

It you suspect mouth breathing may be a problem for you, come to Rideau Dental Centre to discuss it with us. We would be happy to provide you with treatment options. Because solving your problems with mouth breathing is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

It is one thing to have that feeling of a dry, parched mouth during vigorous exercise. This is usually an indication that some water is in order and that will frequently improve the situation.

However, some people suffer from dry mouth on a more regular basis. The truth is that many people may suffer from dry mouth without fully realizing their condition.

So what exactly is dry mouth?

As the name would suggest, dry mouth occurs when there is a reduction in the level of saliva produced by our salivary glands. This might not seem like a serious condition at first glance. But saliva performs an important function in our bodies.

It coats the inside of the mouth and teeth and protects them from various bacteria, chemicals and even food or drink that is too hot or cold. Without saliva, the risk of developing oral infections is quite a bit higher. This can result in damage to the tissue in the mouth and to dental decay.

People with mild cases of dry mouth may not even consider that they have a problem. They may experience periodic difficulty with swallowing food, but will simply drink more water to help in the process. Most people do not start to realize there may be an issue until their flow of saliva is reduced by 50%.

Moderate sufferers will experience a more consistent, dry sticky feeling in their mouths. To combat this, they will usually drink more liquids. They may also suck on more candy, hardly something most dentists would recommend!

In severe cases, we will often notice that our patients have high levels of plaque, tartar and decay. They may also have ulcers in the mouth, blisters, cracked lips and sores on the tongue. Fungal infections are also quite common. As you can imagine, these are quite serious conditions.

Dry mouth can be caused by certain types of medication, for instance, anti-depressants, beta-blockers and diuretics. At Rideau Dental Centre, we always ask that you update us on any medications you may be taking because this can help us understand why we may observe certain conditions.

Unfortunately, the simple process of aging can result in reduced flow of saliva. Given that more and more of us are that much closer to those “golden years”, this might be something to monitor as time goes on! Of course, we would be happy to help keep track of this with you!

One of the symptoms of diabetes is a dry mouth. If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes but are experiencing dry mouth, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting tested.

People with cancer also report experiencing dry mouth. It can either be the cancer itself or the treatment that is the cause. If you have been diagnosed, it is important to have this issue addressed as you do not want to risk any sort of infection while your immune system is already compromised!

So if you think you might be experiencing a reduction in the flow of saliva in your mouth, come in and talk to us about it! At the very least, we will want to monitor the situation to protect your oral health. We may also be able to talk to you about some potential solutions that could improve the situation. For instance, you may need to come into the office for more frequent cleanings to prevent plaque from building up! Because protecting yourself from dry mouth is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon

Most of you have probably seen the various toothpaste commercials that talk about the need to remove plaque and tartar build-up from your teeth. And while that may be enough to convince you that plaque is a bad thing (and it is!), it may still leave you wondering what exactly is plaque?

Quite simply, plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that can build up on our teeth. The bacteria in plaque continue to grow by finding their nutritional needs from the foods that we eat and even our own saliva. In the process, they create an acidic compound that can erode the enamel of our teeth. That is how plaque contributes to tooth decay!

In the early stages, plaque tends not to be a hard substance. However, if it is not removed in a timely manner, it can harden into what is called tartar. Just because it has hardened does not make it less dangerous to our teeth. The bacteria that are active in plaque continue to be quite active in tartar. So you want to make sure you have tartar removed from your teeth as well.

To keep plaque and tartar build-up under control, you need to brush and floss regularly. It takes approximately two minutes of thorough brushing to remove as much plaque as possible. But you still need to floss! Even the best electric toothbrush cannot get at all the surface areas between the teeth. If you are not flossing, approximately 30% of the surface area of your teeth is not being cleaned!

Even with the most diligent oral health habits, you will still need regular visits with us at Rideau Dental Centre to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. A thorough cleaning by our professionals is vital to protect your teeth from decay.

And while perhaps you have been good at following these three vital steps to look after your oral health, maybe you are not so confident that your kids have been quite so diligent while they were away at college or university! As much as they are young adults and feel they can do a lot to fend for themselves, scheduling appointments with the dentist just may not fit into their priorities between studying and…socializing!

The good news is that many of them are back home now so you can take matters into your own hands! This is the time of year we recommend that parents take the initiative and book an appointment for their returning prodigal son or daughter! In fact, it is best to get them into our office as early in the summer as possible. That way, if plaque and tartar have caused some damage, we know we have time to deal with it before they leave for another academic year.

So if you are concerned that perhaps your own student may not have been as diligent in looking after their oral health as you would like, call us now to schedule an appointment. Because controlling plaque and tartar build-up by visiting the dentist is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

I am sure we are all familiar with the idea that quality output requires quality input. Perhaps we are more familiar with the expression “garbage in, garbage out”! However, since we are talking about the health of our mouths, I prefer to put a more positive spin than you would associate with the use of terms like “garbage”.

Regardless as to the terminology, the bottom line is that if you are looking for good oral health as your output, you have to be mindful of the foods you put into your mouth as your input!  Good nutrition affects the entire body, including your mouth! So improving your diet is a good first step to improving your oral health.

So what constitutes a healthy diet? One thing to be mindful of is that you are maintaining a healthy balance of essential vitamins. Many patients can be quite surprised at how we at Rideau Dental Centre can see the signs of diet that is deficient in certain vitamins.

For example, lack of vitamin B can lead to such symptoms as difficulty swallowing, inflammation of the tongue, discolouration of the gums and even damage to the inner cheeks.

Similarly, a lack of vitamin C can lead to bleeding of the gums and gingivitis. This is due to the fact that vitamin C slows the synthesis of collagen which is a vital component for the build-up of many tissues in the body. Just think back to your grade school history classes and all the problems early European explorers had with scurvy until they discovered how it could be prevented with vitamin C!

Vitamin D is essential to maintain strong bones. People who lack this vitamin tend to be more likely to have periodontal issues. This can be compounded by a weaker jaw structure. Imagine if your periodontal condition resulted in tooth loss, but you were not a suitable candidate for implants because your jaw bone was no longer strong enough to support them!

The anti-oxidant effects of vitamin E not only benefit the rest of the body, they are essential to good oral health as well. Vitamin E can eliminate certain harmful chemicals in the body, or “free radicals”, that can do damage to the rest of our cells we want to keep healthy.

When you take into consideration these examples, it is easy to see why a healthy diet is vital to good oral health. The trick is to know what foods to eat in order to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need.

While our recommendations are hardly exhaustive, you can look to leafy, green vegetables, bananas, eggs, milk and nuts as great sources of vitamin B. Similarly, vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes and dark green vegetables.

Most of us are aware that a little bit of sunlight goes a long way for our vitamin D. You obviously need to be mindful of the effects of overexposure, but some sunlight is good for us. Various fish liver oils, eggs and milk or milk products are also good sources of vitamin D.

Finally, look to various vegetable oils or nuts as great sources of vitamin E.

Of course, even people with the healthiest of diets still need to come and visit their dentist at Rideau Dental Centre to make sure their oral health is where it needs to be.

After all, eating well may reduce your likelihood of developing oral health conditions. That does not mean it eliminates that likelihood. A healthy diet, good brushing and flossing routines, combined with regular dental visits all work together to keep you oral health at its best. And keeping your oral health at its best is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon

Whether we like it or not, there comes a time for many people when the trip to the dentist is about more than just a quick examination or even a filling. Sometimes, oral health conditions are such that major restorative work is required.

The good news, of course, is that at Rideau Dental Centre, we can help look after you. If you have wisdom teeth that need to come out or implants that need to go in, we can do much of that work here in our office.

Due to the fact that these are surgical procedures, you will need to be prepared for them. In the course of preparing you for the surgery, you will be administered an IV sedation to keep you relaxed during the procedure.

Some people refer to dentistry performed while a patient undergoes IV sedation as “sleep dentistry”. In reality, you will not be asleep during the procedure. It does not act as an anesthetic. You will be very much awake and able to respond to questions from your dentist.

However, IV sedation does put you into a state of very deep relaxation and it can produce some memory loss for the period of time it is effective. These factors have led some people to refer to it as “sleep dentistry”.

While it is not an anesthetic, we find that it is ideal to put our patients in just the right state for dental surgery. But one other factor to keep in mind is that IV sedation is not a pain killer. While it may dull your senses, you will still require freezing before we proceed with your surgery.

Some offices will offer IV sedation to patients who are not undergoing surgery, but are simply extremely nervous about going to the dentist. This is certainly a viable alternative for a very small number of patients. However, at Rideau Dental Centre, we use IV sedation strictly for some of our surgical treatments.

The reason is that most nervous patients can be treated with nitrous oxide, sometimes in conjunction with oral sedation, rather than an IV. We usually combine our use of nitrous oxide with another oral sedative that you can swallow. This will put nervous patients in a relaxed state and is usually sufficient to allow us to treat them successfully.

Both IV and oral sedation have their advantages and disadvantages. They are both easy to administer and we can easily control the amount we supply depending upon how much you need. They are fast acting so you will feel the effects very quickly. With IV sedation, you may remain in a deeply, relaxed state for a slightly longer period of time. That makes it ideal for surgical procedures.

It also makes it essential to have someone accompany you to our office on the day of your surgery as you will be unable to operate your own vehicle. In fact, for your own safety, we insist that you arrive with an escort and that the escort remain on site, in our waiting room, during your procedure. We are so concerned about your safety that we usually insist upon the same even for oral sedation.

The key is doing what is necessary to obtain the treatment you need! And if some form of oral surgery is required, we are happy to provide our patients with that service, complete with the benefits of IV sedation. Because providing you with the oral surgery you need is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon

One of the unavoidable realities of being a dentist is that you have to accept the fact some patients are going to be nervous about receiving treatment. No matter how much we assure you there is nothing to be concerned about, our assurances will not work on everyone.

And trust us…at Rideau Dental Centre; we understand that your discomfort is very real. Whether it is due to a previous uncomfortable experience at the dentist, stories from friends, or just the environment of the office, we get it! And while our assurances will work to calm many of you, some people need a bit more than just words.

For those who struggle with their nerves in the dental chair, we often recommend the use of nitrous oxide to calm you. Many of you may have heard of nitrous as laughing gas. This is due to the fact that the state of mild euphoria it can produce can actually cause people to “get the giggles”.

As it is a compressed gas, it is quite easy to administer. Your dentist will simply put a nasal hood over your nose and allow you to inhale normally. Nitrous oxide, mixed with oxygen, will be released in a slow, controlled fashion and we can then monitor your response to the dosage.

There are a number of advantages to using nitrous oxide. First of all, it takes effect quite quickly. Within 2 or 3 minutes, it could take sufficient effect that you will feel relaxed and able to proceed with your dental treatment.

Almost as importantly, it is eliminated from your body just as quickly. Within 5 minutes of having ceased to receive any gas, there may no longer be any signs of having had it administered.

Use of nitrous oxide can be very flexible to meet the needs of the individual.  For example, the depth of sedation can be altered during the course of treatment if a patient becomes either more or less anxious. This makes it easy for us to control as we determine your specific needs.

It is important to recall that nitrous will not meet the needs of all of our patients all the time. Certain procedures may be better served with other options, such as oral or even intravenous (IV) sedation. We can discuss your options with you depending upon the treatment you require.

The important thing to consider is that you do not have to let your anxieties interfere with good oral health care. You know how important regular visits to your dentist at Rideau Dental Centre are. If you think your discomfort may be causing you to skip some of those important visits, talk to us! Because Nitrous may be just what you need to let us provide the dental care you deserve. And getting the dental care you deserve is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives!

Dr.  Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

You know the test! Things look ok but something still does not “feel” right to you. You might use the expression that it does not pass the “smell” test.

Well, as unpleasant a thought as it may be, your mouth may be in a similar state of health. All your teeth are there and they appear to be nice and white. But that “smell” test is emitting an odour that says something is wrong.

Truth be told, one in four Canadians suffers from bad breath that cannot be controlled with regular brushing, flossing or dental treatments. Of course, mouthwash or breath mints do little more than cover up the problem for very brief period.

These people might be surprised to learn that their bad breath may indicate a more serious, underlying health issue. Perhaps some form of local infection in the respiratory tract might be the cause. However, it may also be a sign of sinusitis, bronchitis, untreated diabetes or kidney or liver issues. All of these medical conditions need to be treated by a physician.

In most cases, however, bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene. If you are not brushing and flossing on a regular basis, food particles can be allowed to build up between your teeth. These particles attract a lot of bacteria. Keep in mind that your mouth is a nice, warm moist home which bacteria naturally finds very attractive! Add in some decaying food particles and you will have some very happy bacteria!

Of course, this can lead to further more serious oral health issues. The build-up of bacteria can penetrate the gums resulting in gum disease, also known as periodontitis. This can result in gum recession, tooth loss and even bone loss in the jaw. More seriously, these harmful bacteria will have an easy access route to your blood system and may spread their infections to other parts of the body, including the heart and lungs!

So don’t be afraid to see if your breath passes the “smell” test. Just cup your hand over your mouth so that your breath is directed toward your nose. Then exhale. If something does not smell right, you might have to pay greater attention to your brushing and flossing habits.

The best news is that good oral hygiene practices, including regular visits to the Rideau Dental Centre to see your dentist, will usually be sufficient to alleviate your breath problems. You may find that is all you need to do to turn your unpleasant odour into something that passes any smell test. Of course, if you are a smoker, quitting that habit may also be necessary to improve your breath.

Anyway you look at it, getting rid of bad breath is good for your confidence and also good for your health. So make sure you are not having trouble with the “smell” test. Because eliminating bad breath is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon

For those of you that just celebrated Easter, we hope you enjoyed a wonderful Easter with your families. And we know that our Jewish friends were also celebrating this past weekend as it was Passover. Again, we hope that your celebrations were also enjoyable.

While both holidays contain a great deal of religious significance, children always have a strong pull toward one thing – the sweet foods. And for Easter, that usually means chocolate Easter Eggs and Bunnies!

And while there are many articles today espousing the anti-oxidizing benefits of dark chocolate, most Easter treats are of the significantly less beneficial, milk chocolate variety. In other words, high in sugar, virtually non-existent in any positive health contributions!

Every year, as parents, we face the same dilemma. We love our children to enjoy a fun and challenging Easter Egg hunt! But we cringe at the thought of what all that chocolate is doing to their teeth! And there is good reason to cringe…a bit!

There is no way to avoid the reality that chocolate is full of sugar, and sugar has long been recognized as one of the major contributors to tooth decay. It is interesting to note that it not the sugar alone that causes the decay. It is the manner in which the sugar works in tandem with the bacteria that is common in our mouths.

The mouth is full of naturally occurring bacteria that can accumulate around the teeth. When it does, it can form a colourless, sticky substance known as plaque. On its own, that plaque is often filled with various micro-organisms that develop an acid which can eat away at the enamel of the teeth, causing decay.

These microorganisms love sugar. The more sugar they have and the longer they have access to it, the more damage they can do to young teeth (and adult teeth for that matter!).

The good news is that, unlike hard candy which sits in a child’s mouth for an extended period of time, chocolate can be consumed rather quickly. That is actually a positive as the longer sugary candy remains in the mouth; the more acid the bacteria can create!

Still, it is important to control the amount of chocolate your child consumes. That means remaining vigilant, because you know your kids are scheming up ways they can sneak more of it into their bedrooms at night! And consuming sugary foods after brushing can leave lots of time for bacteria to work its dark magic!

And brushing is essential as is flossing. Regular brushing can help remove the plaque where those acid-causing micro-organisms live.  But keep in mind that brushing alone is not sufficient. If you do not floss, 30% of the surface area of the teeth will remain unclean! Flossing is just as vital and since most kids cannot do it themselves, you need to help them in order to fully protect their teeth.

The magic of an Easter Egg hunt is never something we would want to deny your children. By all means, some chocolate in moderation is a wonderfully, tasty addition to life. Just make sure that their consumption is in moderation and that good brushing and flossing habits are adhered to! Also, make sure you bring them into to see us at the Rideau Dental Centre on a regular basis so we can monitor their oral health.

For most people, that should be sufficient to protect against decay. Because protecting against decay is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Wayne Perron

 

Dental Surgeon

With spring having arrived, the start of gardening season coincides with the arrival of Daffodil Month. By wearing a Daffodil, we honour the memory of loved ones we have lost to cancer as well as show our support to those currently fighting this dreadful disease. We certainly encourage all of you to show your support by proudly displaying your daffodil, particularly on April 27, which is Daffodil Day.

Sadly, cancer takes so many different forms, we have more than one month in the year dedicated to various forms of cancer awareness. For example, October is breast cancer awareness. March is colon cancer awareness.

We are certainly aware of the dangers of breast cancer for women and colon or prostate cancer for men, as well as many other forms of cancer. However, there is one form of cancer that is seldom discussed: namely oral cancer.

In these times, many of us have difficulty finding a family doctor who can provide the necessary examination to help detect some of these cancers at an early stage. At Rideau Dental Centre, our focus is to assist in at least one area by providing a thorough examination for oral cancer.

And this examination is a vital factor to reduce the mortality rate from oral cancer. It may surprise you to learn that, oral cancer has a much higher mortality rate than many other forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

The reason for this is simple: lack of awareness and lack of early detection. Many people fail to visit their dentist on a regular basis. That means they may not receive the complete oral examination needed to find the early warning signs of oral cancer.

All too often, we either discover one of our own patients with the telltale signs of oral cancer, or discuss similar discoveries with colleagues at other offices. We have a lot of good news stories where we discover the signs of oral cancer early and a full recovery is made. Those stories truly excite us and make us proud of our contribution to your health.

Sadly, too many patients do not come regularly enough and we are only able to discover their cancer when it is too late! In such cases, the cancer often takes advantage of the easy access the mouth provides to other systems within your body, and metastasizes to other locations.

For Daffodil Month, the best way you can honour any loved ones you have lost to cancer is to make sure you act on their memory. So if you have not had an oral cancer check recently, we recommend that you contact us at Rideau Dental Centre as your tribute to that special person! Because early detection of oral cancer is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives!

Dr.  Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

This will probably not come as a surprise to anyone, but the more we learn, the more we understand that women and men really are different in many respects. Like the book says, men really are from Mars and women from Venus.

And the differences between the sexes manifest themselves in your oral health. They are particularly prevalent depending upon the age of the woman.

The hormones released into a young girl’s body when she reaches puberty often result in the first difference.  As a result of these hormones, young girls may find that their gums are more prone to bleeding.

This may be a normal reaction and may be nothing to worry about. However, you also need to be aware that swollen gums are easier for bacteria to penetrate and then access the blood stream.

This can be a potentially dangerous situation as oral bacteria has been linked to numerous health issues, including heart disease. If you notice your daughter experiencing higher levels of bleeding in the gums as puberty arrives, make sure you mention that to us when you are into our office for your next (or first) appointment.

Another factor that is of particular concern to us at Rideau Dental Centre is the impact of body image. We all know that young girls feel tremendous pressure to “look good”, and that often means conforming to a specific body image. Many young girls resort to unhealthy dieting practices to achieve this body image, despite the fact they are at a perfectly healthy weight.

Poor diets deny the body of essential nutrients and this can affect the mouth as well as the rest of the body. Even the simple reduction in food intake can reduce the amount of saliva a body produces, and saliva can play a vital role in controlling the levels of oral bacteria.

The situation becomes more severe if eating disorders become a problem. Women with bulimia obviously have a great deal of acid flow through their mouths. This acid can literally eat away at the teeth. Even if the eating disorder is brought under control, the damage done to the teeth can persist and require expensive treatment.

Unfortunately, the news may not be better on the other end as women reach menopause. Menopausal women are more likely to suffer from dry mouth, which can lead to more cavities. At the same time, jaw bones become susceptible to a loss of bone density as osteoporosis sets in.

In other words, ladies, it might seem like even your oral health does not give you a break no matter what your age! The best thing you can do is eat healthy and maintain good oral health practices. That means brush and floss regularly and visit us at Rideau Dental Centre at least twice per year. We can help you monitor any changes to your oral health at all of life’s changing stages.

Because monitoring your changing oral health is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon

Have you ever wondered why we at Rideau Dental Centre consider it so important to know as much about your overall health as possible? Why would we need to know about any recent surgical procedures when our job’s as dentists is to look after your oral health?

We believe the answer to that question can be found in the word that is common to both of those queries: health. The truth is that our bodies are marvelous machines with various different systems that function as one. If one of these systems is not performing well, it can have an impact on the overall machine!

So the truth is, when you come to the Rideau Dental Centre for the first time as a new patient, we will ask that you fill out a medical questionnaire.  The information you provide will be kept confidential and will only be used to help look after your oral health.

Not convinced that we require this information? Let’s take a moment to consider some of the common events that occur in our office.

Certain dental conditions can cause discomfort and could require that we prescribe painkillers for you. Of you may require some form of medication during the course of your treatment in the office.

Many people are allergic to certain medications and some of those allergies can be fatal. When we know about your allergic conditions, we can often work with alternatives that are just as effective and obviously much safer for you!

Aside from allergies, many health conditions have a profound impact on your oral health. For instance, individuals with diabetes are more likely to experience periodontal disease. The sooner we know about your condition, the sooner we can devise a treatment plan to help monitor your periodontal health and reduce the likelihood of tooth loss due to periodontal conditions.

Perhaps you are scheduled for or have recently undergone hip-replacement surgery.  Although it is rare, there are some instances where oral bacteria entered the bloodstream and resulted in the failure of such surgery. If we know of your surgical condition, we can work with your surgeon to make sure both your hip and your mouth are protected!

The fact is that proper oral health care does require knowledge of your complete health. It is so important to us at Rideau Dental Centre; we will ask that you update it periodically to make sure we have an accurate understanding of YOU!

So when we ask you to complete a medical history form, understand that it is with your health in mind. Because keeping your dentist informed is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

 

 

In the modern, fast-paced society in which we live, it is sometimes nice to nostalgically look back on a time when life was simpler, slower and far less hectic! Still, while thinking back on a time when technology did not seem so pervasive may have some appeal, there are some aspects of returning to bygone days that can be quite troubling.

Unfortunately, we may be experiencing one of those troubling time reversals when it comes to the level of tooth decay in young children.  In a recent study, some pedodontists have reported that the levels of tooth decay are worse than they have been for approximately 40 years.

This is proving to be a major concern for a number of reasons.

The pain, discomfort and illness associated with poor oral health is one of the major reasons for missed school time in North America today. Unfortunately, this tends to have a negative impact upon academic performance as well.

When a child’s oral health is compromised, even if it is with their “baby teeth”, the impact can be felt on adult teeth that have not yet started to grow. That means the chance of such children maintaining their natural teeth for most of their lives is dramatically reduced.

The link between overall health and oral health is becoming increasingly well documented. You can be reasonably certain that the bacteria that are compromising the structure of your children’s teeth may also be affecting their overall health.

Most surprisingly, the poor level of oral health may actually be affecting the length of wait times in hospitals. Children who require dental procedures to attempt to rectify their poor oral health are more likely to require sedation. That often means they need to attend at a hospital for treatment. The more children going to the hospital for preventable dental conditions, the longer wait times become for everyone!

Notice how we mentioned “preventable dental conditions”.  The pedodontists in this study attributed the increase in decay to a number of lifestyle developments. These include:

  • letting young toddlers drink sugary juices from a sippy cup;
  • removing fluoride from water, either at the city level or by drinking bottled water; and
  • allowing children to brush their own teeth unsupervised.

Truth is, parents need to be brushing the teeth of their children aged 6 and under. Young children simply lack the patience and coordination required to brush properly.

In fact, at Rideau Dental Centre, we recommend that parents continue to closely supervise their children at least until 9 years of age.  Allow your children the opportunity to do the first brushing themselves while you watch. Otherwise, they will never learn the proper technique. However, parents need to follow up with a proper brushing to ensure the removal of as much bacteria as possible.

The good news is that up until recently, the trend was that we had succeeded in reducing the levels of childhood tooth decay. While this trend has, sadly, been reversed, undoing some of the behavior that led to this reversal should get us back on track. For the sake of our children, it is a step we should all be willing to take. Because reducing the levels of childhood tooth decay is a health habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  David Lui

Dental Surgeon

With the Oscars having been awarded over a week ago, most of the major awards have been handed out in the entertainment industry. We still have the Junos to look forward to in a couple of weeks, but somehow, that seems separated from the hoopla of the rest of the awards season.

 So for many, the time has come to start planning acceptance speeches and appropriate attire for next season’s awards! And it is never too early to start thinking about making ourselves look great!

Over the past couple of weeks, we have discussed some of the options to make sure you have a red carpet smile that dazzles! We would like to close off that thought with one of the major dental innovations of the last few years…implants!

For a great many of our patients here at Rideau Dental Centre, implants have taken the place of cumbersome, sometimes embarrassing, dentures! When time, combined with general wear and tear has taken its toll on your teeth, or you have sustained a traumatic accident that resulted in broken or lost teeth, implants can be one of the best options available.

So what is an implant and what is involved with installing them?

An implant is a metal post that is inserted into the jaw bone below the gum line. A crown is subsequently attached to that part of the post that protrudes above the gums, giving you a tooth that functions very much like a natural tooth.

The process of obtaining implants will require more than one trip to the dentist and also requires some time to allow the gums to heal after the posts have been put in place. Inserting the metal post into the jaw bone is done on one visit.

At a following visit when the gum and jaw have healed, usually a couple of months later, a permanent crown will be affixed to the post. One of the most exciting features is that today’s crowns can be matched to your natural teeth making them virtually impossible to tell apart.

While the end result can be spectacular, implants are not the best option for all people. Some people may not have sufficient bone mass or density in their jaw to support the implant. Bone grafting may solve this problem in some cases, but not necessarily all.

As you can see from the description, there is some time needed to complete the process. That is why, if you are planning on making your red carpet smile all the rage next awards season, now is a good time to talk to us at Rideau Dental Centre to see if implants might be the solution for you. If you are a candidate for implants, you will be thrilled with the results!

Perhaps even more important than the cosmetic results is the functionality. Unlike dentures, implants will work as your natural teeth. That means you will have no trouble eating some of those healthy foods your dental condition may have required you to give up, such as carrots and apples. Just imagine how much healthier that can help make you!

In other words, implants are not just a cosmetic treatment option. They can be an important option for your total health. Still, there is no denying the appeal of their beautiful appearance! So talk to us now if you want to plan for that spectacular smile next award season. Because planning that beautiful smile is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Pete Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon

The “red carpet” season is still upon us as the biggest of the stars will soon descend upon Hollywood to see who will come away with this year’s Oscars. Some people will be curious to see how their favourite performers or movie’s fair on this big night.

However, many people derive more pleasure seeing how the stars look on the red carpet…tuxedos and gowns flowing, smiling for the cameras! And what smiles they will have, particularly if they win!

At Rideau Dental Centre, we cannot promise you an Oscar victory! However, we are confident that we can provide you with an Oscar-worthy smile!

Last week, we talked about how whitening might be an option for some people. This week, we would like to consider the option of veneers.

Veneers are a thin, restorative material that is placed directly onto the surface of the teeth. They can be used to correct a variety of dental conditions including stains, discolouration, poor spacing, poorly shaped or crooked teeth, or teeth that have been chipped or damaged.

As always, you should discuss your own options with your dentist to determine if veneers are the right option for you. After all, they are purely a cosmetic option.

While veneers can be used to improve the appearance of crooked teeth, for instance, they may not improve the functional aspects associated with such a condition, such as a poor bite. Your dentist may recommend other alternatives if s/he believes they would be better for you. Also, people with unhealthy or weak teeth, inadequate amounts of enamel, who lack a stable bite or whose teeth are poorly aligned may not be the best candidates for veneers.

However, if your dentist recommends veneers as an option for you, the next decision you will have is what type of veneers. Veneers are usually made of either translucent porcelain or a form of composite resin. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Composite resins can be installed in one visit making the process more convenient in some instances.  However, the translucent quality of porcelain gives them a more natural appearance. Furthermore, they are less likely to become stained and tend to be more durable.

In fact, with proper care, you can expect porcelain veneers to last between 10 and 15 years, sometimes even longer. The key is to continue with good oral hygiene practices. There is nothing you need to do to take care of your veneer’s that is different from taking care of your natural teeth. Regular brushing and flossing is a must!

So if you think your smile is missing some of that red carpet flair, talk to your dentist to see if veneers might help you get it! You may not have photographers recording your every red carpet move, but you will have the confidence that comes with a beautiful smile. And flashing a confident smile is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

Looking after our health is something that should be a top priority no matter what month it is. However, February is heart month, a time to truly be aware of that vital organ in our bodies that makes sure we stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

No matter how many times we hear the news, it is startling to think that our lifestyles have led us to the point where young adults in their thirties and even twenties can be at risk for heart disease. Yet some people seem more concerned about using politically correct terminology to avoid creating a stigma for at risk individuals.

We believe the focus needs to be on prevention. With that in mind, it is important to focus on the fact that the risk of developing serious heart disease can be significantly reduced by making simple changes to those lifestyles.

Eating naturally tastier and more fulfilling whole foods, leaving the computer games behind and going for a walk are two simple ways to improve your heart health. Another simple way is to invest the extra five minutes a day you may need to simply take care of your oral health!

That is right! Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once, combined with regular visits to your dentist, may be a key component of the ticket to better heart health for many of you!

Before you scratch your head wondering how good oral health care can reduce your risk of heart disease, you should be aware that the American Association of Retired Persons included good oral health care on its list of best practices to take care of the hearts of its members.

The reason was simple. No system of the human body works in isolation. Rather, they are all connected. Various infections can be detrimental to the condition of our hearts. And one of the easiest access points those infections can have to penetrate the body is through the mouth.

Indeed, your mouth acts as a filter to keep out so many irritants that could be dangerous for our health. But just like the filter on your furnace, it works best when it is properly cleaned.

A mouth that is not properly cleaned is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection that can travel throughout the body, including to the heart. If plaque is allowed to build up on the gum line, the bacteria that will grow there may not limit its damage to the teeth, gums and jaw.

So this month, as we focus on ways we can head off that heart disease in young people, remind yourself that every step you take to improve your heart health might add not only years to your life, but add to the quality of those years too! Exercise more! Eat better! And take better care of your oral health…because good oral health is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos  

Dental Surgeon

Where Fish Meets Oral Health

January 24, 2012 | Posted Education

As if there are not enough healthy benefits to increasing the amount of fish that you eat, who would have thought that improved oral health would have been one of them.  But the truth is that increasing your fish consumption is good for more than just your physique!

The omega-3 found in fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and albacore tuna can have two important functions in helping improve your oral health.  First of all, these nutritional oils may have beneficial anti-bacterial affects.

Specifically, omega-3 of marine or plant origin may inhibit the growth of various forms of bacteria. This can be of particular importance to patients with periodontal health issues. The reason is that unhealthy gums are much more easily compromised by bacteria. If simply increasing your salmon consumption can combat the growth of such bacteria, then it seems to be an easy, and tasty, decision to make!

Secondly, the incidence of periodontal disease itself can be reduced through the consumption of such fish! In fact, people who increase their fish consumption to just twice per week can reduce their risk of gum disease by 20%.

So not only might you inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria with omega-3, any bacteria that does grow would have a tougher time penetrating your system through those much healthier gums.

Some people might find it difficult to manage two meals of fish per week. The good news is that there are omega-3 supplements available that can have similar health benefits. You can always discuss the benefits of supplements with a pharmacist or other health care professional including, of course, your dentist.

In fact, at Rideau Dental Centre, we welcome any questions you have about how you can improve your oral health. Visiting us on a regular basis is certainly vital to our ability to take care of your oral health.

But as we like to emphasize, looking after your oral health is just part of an overall healthy lifestyle. And increasing your consumption of omega-3 just makes good oral health sense on so many levels!

So feel free to talk to us with your oral health questions, including the benefits of omega-3. Because increasing your consumption of omega-3 is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon

Welcome to 2012! We hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season. Those of you sending the kids back to school are probably seeing some sad faces in the morning as they realize their holidays are over! But they will come home excited at having spent the day with friends they have not seen in a while!

As great as the Holidays are, it is nice to get back into established routines. It is also nice to introduce some new changes designed to make life better for you and your loved ones.

For us at Rideau Dental Centre, one of the changes is the manner in which we will communicate with you and help educate you about your dental health concerns. Given our great relationship with our friends at the Metro Newspaper, we will continue to promote our educational articles there.

However, the actual articles themselves will only appear on our website. We look forward to your feedback on how this change works for you.

And speaking of change, it is that time of year when resolutions abound! Hopefully, if you have made some resolutions designed to improve your lives in 2012, you are sticking with them. After all, the hardest part of making a change in your life occurs in the first couple of weeks while you break from your old routines! If you can get past that time, what was once new now becomes part of your daily life!

So many popular resolutions may not be made with oral health in mind. However, anything that improves overall health also improves oral health given how closely the two are linked!

Some of you may have resolved to quit smoking! We fully support you in this choice. Smoking wreaks havoc on the mouth by staining the teeth, creating or adding to bad breath and exacerbating periodontal disease. Breaking this habit is one of the best things you can do for your mouth.

Improved eating habits are another popular choice at this time of year. Eating fewer processed foods and more whole food products can do wonders for your smile! Improved nutrition shows up on so many places, including strengthening your teeth and gums.

While these are a couple of the more popular choices, we would like to suggest a couple more that really are minor commitments! We would like you to resolve to properly brush and floss regularly and to visit your dentist at least twice per year.

Compared to changing your diet or quitting smoking, these are truly minor commitments. “Proper brushing” means brushing your teeth at least twice per day and taking two minutes to complete this task. Most people spend just over a minute brushing their teeth and this is not enough time to properly do the job. An additional minute twice per day is not a big commitment in time, but the results in your oral health by properly removing all debris is worth the investment.

So too is visiting your dentist. All that we ask is two days out of your year. Up to four visits per year visits may be required if there are problems that need to be addressed. When compared to other resolutions, it is not asking for much.

But the results will be fantastic. Your health and your smile will improve. It is not too late to add these small resolutions to your list. Start by booking your appointment now. We would be happy to see you at Rideau Dental Centre…because visiting your dentist is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

It is hard to imagine that at this busy time of year, Santa could fit time into his busy schedule to visit the dentist! But here he is, taking time away from checking the “naughty and nice” lists, overseeing last minute gift and decoration prep and getting that final tune-up on his sleigh!

We were also wondering how he could find the time to drop in for an appointment with all the work he has to do! So we asked him.

“Ho, ho, ho!” he replied. “How could I not visit all the good little girls and boys at my dental office? This is a very important time for my teeth. With all the cookies and milk I will be having in such a short period of time, I wanted to be certain that my teeth are ready for all that sugar!” he chortled.

Of course, Santa will tell you that it is not enough to look after your teeth just for the Holiday Season!

“No, no, no!” he laughed. “Taking good care of your teeth is a year round responsibility! To keep my smile looking its best, I brush at least twice a day and floss at least once. And I visit my dentist at least twice a year…sometimes more if I need to. I also like keeping in touch with my friends at www.rideaudental.ca for great oral health tips year round too!”

“And just as importantly, I make sure I eat a good diet, full of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is not always easy to get fresh foods like that at the North Pole. But it is sure worth the effort. I find a good diet really helps keep my teeth strong and my gums healthy!”

A good diet? Santa? With all those cookies?

Santa chuckled. “Yes, it is hard to believe. But really, it is only the one day a year I do this. The rest of the year, I keep sugar to a minimum and focus on my health. You have to be strong and in good shape to travel across the world in just one night!”

“Don’t let my ‘bowl full of jelly’ belly fool you!” he continued. “I take healthy living seriously. And for me, that includes looking after my oral health! After all, an unhealthy mouth usually means an unhealthy body!”

So, we asked Santa if he had any final tips for everyone before he went back to preparing for the Big Day!

“Just look after yourselves,” he winked. “That means love yourselves and each other. It is an important part of the Spirit of the Season! The more you do that, the happier you will be. All that love, and those healthy teeth, will look great in the smiles of your Holiday photos!”

“Because,” Santa continued, “living the Spirit of the Season year round is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon

 

 

Looking after your oral health definitely does require good brushing and flossing habits as well as regular visits to your dentist. However, if you do not take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, brushing, flossing and your dentist may only delay the inevitable major restoration your mouth may require some day.

A good diet is vital to prevent such harmful conditions as periodontitis. In particular, foods that are high in anti-oxidants may help improve your periodontal health. To understand how anti-oxidants can help, you must first understand what they are up against.

Our bodies are constantly being exposed to dangerous free radicals. These free radicals are toxins that damage our bodies at the most basic cellular and DNA levels. Left unchecked, they can contribute to such chronic conditions as periodontitis, heart and lung disease and diabetes.

Sources of free radicals include cigarettes, sunlight, stress, pollution, certain medications, food additives and household cleaners, just to name a few. As you can see from this list, it is virtually impossible to avoid the sources of dangerous free radicals.

However, anti-oxidants help protect our cells by combating the effects of these free radicals. One of the benefits anti-oxidants provide is their ability to improve the health of patients suffering from periodontitis.

People with periodontitis usually experience swelling of the gums, pockets between the teeth and connective gum tissue of 5 millimeters or more, and bleeding of the gums. Increased levels of anti-oxidants have been found to reduce swelling and pocket depth while virtually eliminating bleeding. In other words, combined with improved oral health care practices, anti-oxidants can have a dramatic affect on reducing periodontitis.

This begs the question then as to how one can increase the level of anti-oxidants in the body. While there can be a number of sources, the best way would be to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you consume. Many people may also require appropriate vitamin supplements to attain optimal levels.

Of course, many of you will have heard reports about the anti-oxidant benefits of red wine and dark chocolate! While we certainly would not advocate some indulgence in these areas, it is quite apparent that overall health would be better served by looking for anti-oxidants in other sources!

Once again, the moral of the story is that there is a strong link between your oral health and your nutrition. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions in this regard. We can be found at www.rideaudental.ca and would be happy to help.

In the meantime, increase those fruits and vegetables in your diet. Because increasing your level of anti-oxidants is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

The Ever Important Dental X-Ray

November 17, 2011 | Posted Education

If you have visited your dentist regularly, you will have had an x-ray. It has been an essential element to complete dental treatment for years.

The x-ray has been around so long, we might take its technology for granted. Yet it continues to be an amazingly useful diagnostic tool for dentists. It operates by sending out waves of energy that can pass through solid objects. The more dense the object, the more the rays are absorbed.

Teeth are quite dense compared to your cheeks and gums. As a result, your teeth will absorb more x-ray energy, which is why they show up lighter in colour on the x-ray film. Existing fillings are denser than teeth and appear lighter on the film. However, since cavities are areas of the teeth which have decayed, they appear much darker than the rest of the tooth.

This simple contrast in the darkness of the x-ray image enables your dentist to see things that cannot be observed with the naked eye. For instance, your dentist can use x-rays to spot early signs of decay between teeth, under the gum line or beneath an existing filling. An x-ray can also reveal bone loss associated with periodontal disease, locate signs of infection or the fact that a nerve beneath the tooth has died, which can be a precursor to root canal.

The value of the x-ray is its ability to help your dentist find these potential problems as early as possible. When found early, treatment may be much easier and less intrusive.

The question that remains is how often you should have an x-ray. Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer to this question. Your dentist will want you to have x-rays as often as your dental health requires. Some people may only require x-rays every year or two. Other patients may need them more frequently, perhaps as often as every six months.

For instance, people with periodontal disease, those with a number of fillings, or who suffer from dry mouth or who smoke may benefit from having x-rays every six months. More frequent x-rays bring into question the health concerns associated with x-ray radiation.

Patients should feel confident that dental x-rays subject you to very small levels of radiation. Furthermore, your dentist will take all of the necessary precautions to ensure your exposure is kept to a minimum.

If you continue to have any concerns about x-rays, you should speak to your dentist about it. You need to be comfortable with the treatment you receive. This means balancing any concerns about x-ray radiation with the benefits of early detection of dental problems. Because finding dental problems early is a healthy habit… and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Wayne Perron

Dental Surgeon

As dentists, we are strong believers in YOUR power to control so many aspects of your oral health, as well as your life! Taking positive steps with diet, exercise, dealing with stress as well as regularly brushing and flossing your teeth can all improve your oral health.

Unfortunately, even the strongest, healthiest teeth may fracture as a result of an unforeseen accident. This may require that you seek some form of dental treatment. Of course, the nature of the required treatment may vary depending upon the manner of the fracture.

For instance, cracks in the teeth can be treated with different options, depending upon the severity of the crack. Very minor surface cracking of the enamel may be treated with a simple polishing of the affected tooth.

However, if you notice the appearance of a crack on your teeth, you should not assume it is minor in nature. Have your dentist take a look. The crack may be indicative of a more severe fracture that goes through the entire tooth.

You may not be experiencing any pain yet, but such a crack can leave your root exposed. It could require a filling, a crown or possibly a root canal if the root or pulp of the tooth has been damaged.

Many people active in sports may chip a tooth. Again, the severity and location of the chip can determine the ideal treatment. A very minor chip may require little more than filing away any sharp edges created.  If the shape is not cosmetically appealing, veneers may prove an attractive option to get that tooth to, once again, look…attractive!

However, larger chips may leave a root exposed and require more intrusive intervention. Again, a crown could be the option best suited to this situation.

If you experience a serious break, you will know it. Such a break will usually be the result of a strong trauma, and it will usually be accompanied with very noticeable pain, bleeding and often swelling. You will have to see your dentist immediately.

In some instances, the fracture may be so severe that your dentist might suggest implants as the best alternative. Implants are wonderful options as they look and perform just like a natural tooth. Patients who have had them have been thrilled with the results!

For all the hard work you do to take care of your teeth, we hope you never see your efforts undone by an accident that leaves you with a fractured tooth. However, if this should be the case, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Even if you think it is a minor break, x-rays may reveal a potentially more serious problem than you might think.

Let your dentist determine how severe the damage is and provide you with treatment options. Because treating fractures as early as possible is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

It is easy to see that some people might look at the title of this article and feel they are attending a meeting of Dental Phobics Anonymous! That is certainly not the intent here. You will not be asked to stand up, say your name and admit you do not visit your dentist!

However, there is a good chance that many of you do not visit your dentist on a regular basis. Some studies have indicated that, in North America, as little as 45% of the population visits their dentist at least once per year. On a more local level, only 45% of local Ottawa seniors reported visiting the dentist at least once per year.

As dentists, we consider that a rather alarming statistic. First of all, due to the potential for your oral health to change rapidly, we recommend that you visit your dentist at least twice per year. For those individuals experiencing specific dental issues, such as periodontitis, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits.

We understand that there are a number of factors that interfere with your ability to make it to the dentist. Work days seem so much longer than ever before as technology seems to have us permanently linked to the office. Single parents or two income families often struggle to balance work life with getting their kids to whatever activity they have that night.

Even if you want to go to the dentist, life can be so busy it just seems to get in the way!

It is certainly not our place to lecture anybody about the importance of good oral health. That being said, we would be remiss if we did not, at the very least, remind you just how important regular dental visits are!

Your mouth is truly a window into your overall health. People in poor oral health tend to be more likely to experience poor overall health as well! The bacteria that builds on the teeth can penetrate into your bloodstream and cause infections to spread, or result in cardiovascular diseases!

Sometimes, an underlying health condition that may not seem to be linked to oral health can be spotted by your dentist. For example, some dentists have spotted signs of undiagnosed diabetes in patients. Imagine how their health could have been further compromised without that dental visit!

Then, of course, there is the potential life saving diagnosis your dentist may provide through early detection of oral cancer! Visiting even once per year is not sufficient to increase the likelihood of early detection. You need to get to the dentist at least every six months to provide your dentist with the best chance to catch oral cancer as early as possible.

We understand that this may seem like a large investment in time. But it is your health we are talking about. And if one of your children has to miss one hockey practice because you have a dentist appointment, we think that beats the option of discovering oral cancer when it is too late!

So invest the time to see your dentist. Because regular dental visits are a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon

Do you or anyone in your family find it hard to sleep at night? Are you waking up irritable in the morning due to that lack of sleep? Have you ever considered the possibility that the problem may be the way that you breathe?

Specifically, the problem you may be facing is that you are a mouth breather!

For some people, the first task to work past when dealing with mouth breathing is the attitude that it is not a big deal. Breathing through the mouth for a short time period after physical exertion may not be problematic.

However, regular, prolonged mouth breathing is a real problem!

For instance, consistent breathing through the mouth can result in the facial muscles developing in an abnormal way to accommodate the breathing style. This stress on the muscles can cause headaches in the short term, and can even lead to facial deformities over an extended period of time.

People who breathe through the mouth are more likely to have inflamed tonsils. This can cause something of a vicious circle as the more inflamed the tonsils become, the more they close the airway for the mouth breather, possibly resulting in further disruptions to the breathing pattern.

Mouth breathing can also cause inflammation of the gums. This may result in gingivitis or bad breath.

Of course, sleep disorders may be the most serious problem associated with mouth breathing. Proper sleep is vital to allow our body time to heal and repair itself. If mouth breathing is impairing your sleep, your body may not be getting the rejuvenation it requires from a good night’s sleep.

When we are looking at young children, lack of sleep can lead to developmental issues and behavioural problems. The behavioural issues in some such children have been mistaken for ADHD and children have been prescribed unnecessary medication as a result.

Your dentist may be able to spot the signs of mouth breathing. Inflammation of the tonsils or gums may be a sign that you or your child suffer from this problem. A referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist may be necessary to determine if tonsils may have to be removed.

Otherwise, your dentist might be able to solve the problem with an appliance that will encourage more healthy breathing through the nose. The exact remedy you require will vary depending upon the severity of the problem. You can discuss this with your dentist and any other appropriate health care professional.

If you suspect mouth breathing may be a problem for you, discuss it with your dentist. It may be quite simple to correct and the sleep you get as a result will be well worth it. Because a good night’s sleep is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon