How to stay cavity free this Halloween

Halloween is almost here, which means we will be facing the scariest, most terrifying, most horrifying of monsters: CAVITIES. With all the candy and sugar around, the formation of cavities is thriving, especially in children’s mouths. Since cancelling trick or treating is certainly out of the question, here are a couple of tips to help stay cavity free this Halloween.

Eat dinner before going trick or treating
Eating before going trick or treating leaves your children feeling fuller longer, making them less likely to binge on candy afterwards.

Drink water
Drinking water definitely does not replace brushing teeth, but it helps wash away some of the excess sugar and bacteria stuck in your child’s mouth.

Sort through the candy
After trick or treating, go through the candy with your children and let them separate their favorite candies from their least favorite ones. The pile of unwanted candy can already be discarded, preventing your kids from eating candy just for the sake of it.

Set limits
With your children, decide the amount of candy they are allowed daily. Limiting to 1 or 2 pieces of candy a day is reasonable and makes sure your children are not eating too many sweets.

Restrict candy to lunch or dinnertime
Allow your kids to have a piece of candy after lunch or dinner as dessert, to prevent them from snacking on sweets throughout the day. Additionally, saliva levels are higher after meals, which helps wash away some of the bacteria and eliminate plaque.

Brush teeth more thoroughly
Teach your children the importance of brushing and flossing, and encourage them to brush an extra 2 minutes if they’ve eaten candy during the day. They are going to have to work hard for that sugar!

Choose wisely
Sticky candies like caramels, or hard candies like lollipops take a long time to dissolve, exposing teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and increase the risk of tooth decay. Safer options include chocolate, sugar free gum and even powdery candies (which dissolve quickly in the mouth).

What about braces?
Eating candy with braces doesn’t always have to be a nightmare! To keep braces intact, avoid nuts, caramel, gum, popcorn and chewy candies. Chocolate, soft candies and mints are safer options!

Get a dental cleaning
A dental cleaning is the safest and most foolproof way to make sure your children’s teeth are clean and healthy, especially after Halloween. In any case, we recommend that children and adults alike get a dental cleaning every six months to ensure their oral hygiene is in top shape.

Click here to book an appointment for a dental cleaning online, or call us at 514.277.773.

Happy Trick or Treating!

Healthy lunchbox treats for kids this back to school season

Back to school season is already upon us! And with this comes every parent’s dilemma of what healthy snacks to pack in their child’s lunchbox every morning. Here are some fun and healthy treats that are easy to pack and good for your teeth.

Cheese and yogurt: cheese and yogurt contain calcium and protein, which strengthen the teeth’s enamel. They also lower the risks of cavities by getting rid of all the unwanted bacteria that get stuck to the surface of your teeth. Yogurts can also be a delightful and healthy substitute for dessert.

Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Chewing an apple generates a lot of saliva, which in turn helps wash away the bacteria and food particles in your mouth. Pack an apple or a couple of slices daily to keep your child’s teeth in top shape.

Celery: celery is a great source of vitamins A and C, which strengthen the gums. It also acts like a toothbrush by gently scrubbing away the bacteria on your teeth. Make this snack more fun by spreading some low-fat dip or cream cheese.

Carrots: just like apples, carrots are high in fibre and reduce the risk of cavities. They are also rich in vitamin A, which are great for the gums. Packing slices of carrots or baby carrots is a great way to add some orange crunch to your child’s lunch.

Almonds: almonds are very nutritive snacks! They are full of calcium and protein, and low in sugar and saturated fats. Sending a handful of almonds or adding them to a salad is a great way to treat your child to a nutritious treat.

Strawberries: strawberries are a fun and tasty snack. They reinforce your gums thanks to their high vitamin C content, not to mention that they are rich in antioxidants.

Try to avoid:
Candy: whether hard or chewy, candy is full of sugar and increases the risk of developing cavities.
Sodas and sports drinks: sodas and sports drinks have high acidic contents that erode the teeth’s enamel if consumed in large doses.
Chips and crackers: when chewed, chips and crackers become mushy and often get stuck in your molars or between teeth which can cause problems for your gums.

The key to a healthy diet is balance! Make sure that your child gets at least one source of protein, fruit, vegetable, cereal and dairy to maintain great oral and general health.

9 tips to keep your teeth healthy when travelling

Going on vacation this summer? Don’t forget about your teeth! As your travel buddies, they require just as much care and attention on the road as when you are home. Here are 9 tips to help prevent dental complications while travelling.

Before your trip

1. Pack your dental hygiene essentials
Packing a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss goes without saying, but don’t forget to bring other dental accessories that you may use, such as a mouthguard, mouthwash, floss threaders for braces, etc. Travel size dental products are really convenient and allow you to travel light. Traveling with an electric toothbrush? Be sure you have an adaptor for it!

2. Get a dental checkup
Consulting your dentist before travelling is always a good idea. Ask for a thorough exam so that your dentist can spot any problems before they become potential emergencies. Most dental problems can be solved quickly, while the more complicated treatments can often be postponed until your return.

During your trip

3. Give your toothbrush some air
A wet toothbrush can breed bacteria. In your travel bag, make sure your toothbrush is covered, in a travel container or resealable Ziplock bag, to keep the bristles clean and out of touch from other objects. As soon as you reach your destination, take your toothbrush out of its travel container and let it air dry.

4. Forgot your toothbrush?
If you forgot to pack your toothbrush or toothpaste, don’t worry! You can always grab a new toothbrush at the hotel front desk or at the nearest drugstore. If dental products really aren’t available, rinse your mouth profusely with water to wash away some of the bacteria.

5. Be cautious with water
If the local water is compromised or simply unsafe to drink, you shouldn’t use it to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. Bottled or boiled water are safer options wherever you are.

6. Chew the bacteria away
Although constant gum chewing is not recommended, you can make an exception while traveling. On vacation, you can’t always brush your teeth after every meal, and therefore chewing sugarless gum will help neutralize the acids in your mouth and increase the flow of saliva, allowing for food debris to be washed away.

7. In case of emergency
Keep your dentist’s phone number or business card on you. You’d be surprised by how many dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone! If you are visiting family or friends, ask them to recommend their local dentist. Your hotel’s concierge can also recommend a good dentist. If you have travel insurance, the company’s hotline can refer you to a qualified dentist, and even provide translation help if necessary. In any case, try calling the clinic beforehand to make sure that it follows standard hygiene regulations, such as using new gloves for each patient and sterilizing instruments.

After your trip

8. Get back to your dental routine
Let’s be honest: we all get a little lazy with our teeth on vacation. We skip flossing or brushing a couple of times, and indulge in sweets and sodas. But don’t let these temporary bad habits become permanent ones! Get back to your dental routine of brushing and flossing to make sure your pearly whites remain healthy.

9. Go see your dentist… again
If you’ve experienced any problems or complications, we recommend you see your dentist when you return. If you’ve consulted another dentist during your trip, ask to have your file transferred to your dentist back home, so that he or she can remain updated on your oral health. Plus, us dentists love hearing all about your adventures abroad!

Prevent dental complications abroad by following these simple tips. Invest time in talking to your dentist before your departure so you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest. And don’t forget to send us a postcard!

Brushing your tongue demystified – Why it’s important

 Flossing in addition to brushing is already a challenge for most people. Remembering to brush your tongue as well, makes you wonder if it’s really worth it.

You should be brushing your tongue, and here is why…

Your tongue houses the most bacteria in your mouth. Even though brushing your teeth or rinsing with a mouthwash will eliminate a good portion of the bacteria, whatever is found on the tongue will deposit itself once again on your teeth, hence the importance of brushing your tongue thoroughly. Brushing your tongue can also help with breath issues.

You should brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth by going back and forth and side to side with your toothbrush and then rinsing thoroughly. If brushing your tongue makes you gag, think about investing in a tongue scraper instead.

Happy brushing!

Best Foods For Your Dental Health

 While it is common knowledge that some foods better than others for your dental health, few people know that certain staples of your nutrition are literally good for your teeth.

Think of incorporating the following items into your diet for healthier, stronger teeth:

  • Cheese and milk

Cheese is full of calcium that strengthens your enamel and prevent the erosion of your teeth. Moreover, since cheese and milk have a high pH, they protect your teeth against acidic foods that cause cavities.

  • Nuts and grains

Nuts and grains are full of protein and lipids which do not cause cavities and even cancel out the acidity of sweet foods if eaten immediately afterwards. Cashews in particular are known to act against the bacteria responsible for cavities. When eating nuts and dried fruits mixes, always remember to finish off with the nuts instead of fruit.

  • Cranberries

Research has found that the polyphenols (the antioxidants) found in cranberries are beneficial for your dental health. Indeed, these antioxidants are proven to inhibit the production of acids which harm your teeth as well as the formation of biofilm on your teeth caused by bacteria and responsible for cavities. Cranberries may also protect your teeth from periodontal diseases. (source:

  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables

Crunchy foods like apples, carrots and celery not only stimulate the production of saliva; they also detach the debris attached to your teeth.

  • Raw onions

While they won’t do wonders for your breath, raw onions have powerful antibacterial properties which are beneficial for your dental health. Just don’t forget to brush your teeth after your meal.

  • Sugarless gum

Gum stimulates saliva production inside your mouth which helps protect your teeth from cavities by “washing” your teeth.

  • Water

On top of its many healthy properties, water also hydrates your salivary glands.

Next time you’re looking for a healthy snack, think about these options to improve and maintain a healthy oral hygiene. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and floss regularly as well.

Do I really need to go to the dentist every six months?

One of the most popular questions that we get from patients is “Do I really need to come every six months”? How often you need to go for a dental exam depends on your oral health needs, not on your insurance coverage. Since the goal of a dentist visit is to catch small problems early, more frequent visits to the dentist may mean lower costs in the long run.
For many people, this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, what problems you have that need to be monitored or treated, and how fast tartar builds up on your teeth.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I floss every day?
  • Do I brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and follow my dentist’s instructions on how to brush properly?
  • Do I eat a well-balanced diet, including food from all food groups, and limit sweets and sticky foods?
  • Do I smoke, and if so, how many cigarettes per day?
  • Do I have a history of cavities or gum disease?
  • Do I have a history of cavities or gum disease?

The answers to these questions are all factors that can affect your oral health. They will help you and your dentist decide how often you need to visit for dental exams.