Archive for August 2012

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