How to care for aging teeth into the golden years and beyond

As you begin aging, taking care of yourself and your health becomes so much more important. But you should also consider how you are taking care of your aging teeth. Over time, wear and tear can take a toll on teeth.

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body –  harder than your bones. Because the set you have now is for the rest of your life, it’s important to limit any damage to keep your smile looking picture perfect.

So what can you do to protect your aging teeth?

  • Cut down on wear and tear and avoid chewing hard foods like ice. It can chip your enamel or even fracture your teeth. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist about avoiding any damage this may cause.
  • Keep gums healthy and avoid plaque build-up and gum disease with proper brushing and flossing. That means brushing twice a day and flossing every single day.
  • Attend to any issue relating to a dry mouth. As you get older, your mouth gets drier and medications can worsen this. If you find this happening to you, drink more water and talk to your dentist about products that can assist with this.
  • Limiting things like lemon and citrus fruits, excess sugar, pop and juice, and starchy foods is a good idea.
  • Brush and floss gently and take care of sensitive teeth. If sensitivity is an issue, we can recommend a toothpaste or in-office treatment to help make every sip of tea or spoonful of ice cream more comfortable.
  • Be kind to your teeth and mouth. Look out for sores, red or white patches or changes to your oral cavity.
  • Stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Most importantly, make sure you keep on top of regular check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist can see anything you might be overlooking in the oral health department.

Good continuous oral hygiene is the biggest part of making sure your smile ages beautifully. Call and book your next appointment and let us help you keep your smile in tip-top shape.

Asian Eats and Oral Health

If you’ve been to a dentist, you know that sugary foods are something you should limit. But what foods are good for your teeth? More importantly, where can you get good-for-your-mouth Asian eats in the Yonge and Eglinton area?

Here’s what we’ve found so far:

Asian Eats: Little Sister

Making the “Best of Toronto” list on BlogTO, Little Sister is a delicious place to get Indonesian-Dutch cuisine. A simple but flavourful choice are the shrimp lettuce wraps. Perfectly cooked prawns come nestled in bib lettuce with sambal chilli sauce for a touch of heat, pickled cucumbers and crunchy shallots.

While leafy greens like lettuce have high water content, which promotes continual saliva production and cleanses the mouth, shallots are known to destroy harmful bacteria. They’re also a good source of antioxidants, which can prevent plaque from forming on teeth. Located on the stretch of Yonge between Davisville and Eglinton, this place is a must-visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.

Asian Eats: Lime

Pan-Asian with a twist, lime serves up some mean fresh soft rolls perfect for sharing. Shredded carrots, leaf lettuce, red pepper, cucumber and fresh herbs in rice paper are served with your choice of mango, chicken and shrimp or avocado and crab filling.

Minerals found in carrots kill bacteria that cause tooth damage, as well as acting as a natural abrasive to stimulate gums and eliminate plaque.

Plus, foods that contain a lot of vitamin C, like mangos, prevent collagen from breaking down, which helps keep gums strong and less susceptible to periodontal disease. With the leaf lettuce along for the ride, it’s a fresh way to keep your mouth in good health. Check it out just around the corner from our office at Eglinton and Redpath Ave.

Asian Eats: Green Papaya

An authentic Thai and Vietnamese restaurant just north of our office across from Best Buy, green papaya is an elegant place to sit down for a casual meal. For a tasty hit of vitamin C, fresh mango salad is a great choice here. With raw red onion slivers containing sulphur compounds that kill dangerous bacteria that harm teeth, this dish does double duty when it comes to your oral health.

Another tasty option is the chicken satay. These skewered delights are topped with fresh peanut paste and sesame seeds. Peanuts are full of teeth-healthy micronutrients like phosphorous, magnesium and calcium. Sesame seeds are also packed with tooth-strengthening calcium that helps repair enamel damage. Plus these little babies are shown to scrape plaque and clean teeth as you chew.

Next time you’re in for an appointment, let us know if you took any of our suggestions. By then we’ll have a few more.

Should you be using an electric toothbrush?

The electric toothbrush was invented in the 90’s.  Did you know that the modern nylon toothbrush (as we know it today) was invented in 1938? Before that, and for over 500 years, people used a wooden or bone handle with boar bristles on the end to brush. And before that, humans chewed on thin branches to clean their mouths.

With all the upgrades we’ve had in other technology we use every day, it’s crazy to think that people have been using the same type of manual toothbrushes for almost 80 years!

So when the electric toothbrush was introduced, it was a pretty big deal. Some seem to swear by its benefits, while others have kept loyal to the classic manual brush.

So, should you upgrade your trusty manual toothbrush to its new-age electric brother? Let’s explore the pros and cons of electric brushes, so you can decide if it’s worth a switch!

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Less work for better results
  • Built-in timer to let you know when your two minutes of brushing is up
  • Gets kids brushing: great for mischievous or forgetful little mouths, the tickling can be a lot more fun for kids. Plus if their brushing technique isn’t totally developed, the moving bristles help them get the most out of every brush.

Cons

  • Extra expense
  • Charging or buying batteries can be a hassle
  • Bulkier: takes up a lot more space on counter tops, or when travelling
  • Not as durable: just like any other piece of electric-powered equipment, your toothbrush is faster, easier, but also prone to breaking if you drop it

The facts on the electric toothbrush

Some studies show that electric toothbrushes remove significantly more plaque, and are better at fighting gum disease than manual toothbrushes. That being said, most dentists agree that as long as you consistently brush and floss correctly, your good oral health will remain just that.

The truth is, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. But if you’re wondering if you would benefit from an electric toothbrush, ask about it at your next appointment. Or, if you’d like to, ahem, brush up on your manual cleaning technique, you can ask about that too.  If you have any questions feel free to ask us at your next appointment.

Summer Festivals for Canada’s 150th Summer

Since there’s a lot of hype around Canada’s 150th birthday this year, there’s a lot going on in the city in terms of summer festivals. From catching free live entertainment with the kids, to sipping on some craft brews, to trying the CNE’s newest deep-fried innovation of the year, right at home is the place to be this summer 2017.

Events and festivals are some of the best reasons to live in this great city. Here’s the down-low on festivals this July and August.

Summer festivals in July?

With Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1st, there are four official locations for city-wide celebration. The biggest one is a free four-day festival at Nathan Phillips Square from June 30th to July 3rd. Boasting two stages with live acts like the Barenaked Ladies, as well as a host of Canada’s best current indie bands, roots, pop, urban and world music acts. Plus they have dancing, street art, circus acts and, of course, food vendors. Check out the stage lineups and if you’re busy that day you can still catch the nightly fireworks show at 10:55PM.

Next up is the Beaches International Jazz Festival July 7th – 30th. It’s the biggest Jazz festival in the city, attracting one of the most diverse audiences of any event in Canada, at over one million visitors. It includes more than 10 stages with a dynamic musical roster from R&B acts, to ska and swing, exciting activities, games and gourmet food trucks galore. Young or old(er), it’s the perfect free fest to bring the whole family to.

Formerly called Caribana, the always vibrant and raucous Caribbean Carnival starts July 17th at Nathan Philips Square. For a cultural explosion of music, performance, costume and food, definitely hit up The Grand Parade. The highlight of the three-week festival, masqueraders in costume dance their way from Exhibition Place west along Lakeshore to The Boulevard Club. Watch the city come alive with the rhythms of Calypso, Soca and Reggae. And, if the Caribbean breeze were a sound, the Steel Pan.

To finish the month off with a buzz, Toronto’s Festival of Beer July 28th – 30th at Exhibition Place has something for every beer lover. Sample ambers, lagers, stouts and a host of other bubbly specialties from around the world, as well as local Ontario Craft Brewers. Plus if you like good vibes with a brew or two, Sloan is the headliner this year, among other notable acts. Tickets are $42.50 and include five sample tokens to get you started and a take-home festival sampling cup, so no need to BYOS (Bring Your Own Stein).

Make the most of Summer Festivals in August

Canada’s largest street festival, Taste of the Danforth is one of the city’s signature summer events, showcasing the best in Hellenic food, culture, music, plus interactive games for the kids. Its yearly attendance of 1.65 million people is insanely impressive given it’s been run for 23 years by local community volunteers. Grab a char-grilled Souvlaki kebab by the stick August 11th – 13th and get ready for free acrobatic stunt shows, an array of live music and flamenco dancing.

Every Tuesday starting June 27th all the way until August 29th, you can grab tickets to the Open Roof Festival. An outdoor music and film fest held at 99 Sudbury Street, catch a new live band play then sit down for a great film under the stars. Age restrictions depend on the rating of the film being shown, but it’s definitely a family affair so bring whoever you love to watch movies with! Plus, proceeds of each $15 ticket support Canada’s independent music and film scene.

Finally, there’s the Canadian National Exhibition. Acrobatic shows, pogo daredevils, bandshell concerts and even a casino, the Ex has everything. Plus don’t forget the must-try food concoctions of the year: the Canadian Bacon Taco with peameal for the shell is stuffed with 18-hour braised pulled pork. Or try the Poutine Dog, a Canadian twist on the corn dog. Save 34% on your tickets before August 17th. And if you’re bringing the kids you might want to think about a $40 ride-all-day pass for an unforgettable day on the midway. Especially since admission for kids 513 is already free! Runs August 18th to September 4th.

Wishing you a Happy Canada Day and a safe and fun summer!

Are you in gum disease denial?

How often do you forget to floss? If the answer is “never,” you’re one of only 28% of people who regularly floss their teeth. When you’re rushing out the door in the morning or dozing off before you remember to, flossing (and sometimes brushing) isn’t always at the top of our minds. We get it! But if you’re one of the 32% of people who don’t floss their teeth at all, you’re definitely at high risk for gum disease.

Gum disease occurs when gums become infected and inflamed from improper dental hygiene. Seven out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease in their lifetime due to improper brushing and flossing.

There are generally two types of gum disease: gingivitis, which is the least troublesome and can be solved through improving your oral hygiene routine, and periodontitis, when gingivitis progresses and must be treated. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, so it’s important to keep your mouth in check!

So, how can you tell if you have gum disease?

Here are six signs you can check for at home right now:

  1. Bad breath: Have you noticed an unusually odorous funk that won’t go away? It may be embarrassing, but asking a friend or family member their honest opinion can help you figure this one out.
  2. Red or swollen gums: This one is pretty self-explanatory. But there may be no pain and only visual signs of gum disease, so it’s an important thing to note.
  3. Tender or bleeding gums: This one is easy to check. Floss your teeth. If they bleed, you probably have gingivitis.
  4. Painful chewing or sensitive teeth: This one is a little more serious and should be examined by your dental professional.
  5. Loose Teeth: Ditto with this one – and time to book an appointment.
  6. Receding gums or longer appearing teeth: Same answer as above.

It’s also important to note that certain people are at greater risk for gum disease. Like smokers, pregnant women, those with diabetes, on certain medications or with compromised immune systems.

If you’re still uncertain, book a cleaning. We’ll tell you what’s going on in there.

Is men’s oral health different than women’s oral health?

Have you ever wondered if gender affects how you should care for your teeth? With June being Men’s National Health Month and Father’s Day this past Sunday June 18th, it’s something that got us thinking. Men’s oral health and women’s oral health is generally the same: brush twice a day for two minutes, floss at least once, etcetera, etcetera. But overall, men tend to have higher rates of gum disease, tooth loss and oral infections. Why is this?

We found some interesting stats on men’s oral health and what you can do about it.

So here are some dental tips and tricks for men everywhere.

Dry mouth

Did you know that men are at a much higher risk for heart disease and high blood pressure? It’s important because it means men more commonly experience dry mouth caused by these health concerns as well as medications used to treat them. Being a big factor in why our teeth decay as we age and produce less saliva, the premature dry mouth men experience causes more rapid decaying than women. Try to drink lots of water and use a moistening mouthwash to help combat a parched grin.

No pain, no problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), men are less likely than women to visit a dentist regularly. Preventative dentistry, like regular check-ups and cleanings, are important for catching oral issues early. So don’t just wait until there’s a noticeable problem you could have avoided and keep up to date with your dentist.

Men’s oral health, don’t just brush it off

A recent survey shows that half of men brush their teeth only once a day. Also, 34% of men from 30 – 54 years old suffer from gum disease compared to just 23% of women. Being that irregular brushing and flossing is the biggest factor in developing gum disease, it’s probably not a coincidence. So don’t forego this twice-a-day dental ritual.

Check yourself

Did you know that men are diagnosed with oral cancer twice as often as women? Whether it’s caused by chewing tobacco, smoking, alcohol consumption or maybe even none of the above, it’s something to watch out for. The good news is men have larger, longer tongues than women on average, so checking to make sure your tongue is in good health is easier. Healthy tongues are pink, firm and don’t have any unusual bumps or sore/dry spots. And if you experience anything that looks or feels strange, book an appointment with us and we’ll be happy to take a look!

Tooth Avulsion/Knock-outs: What to do when you lose a tooth.

Did you know that more than 5 million teeth are injured or knocked out (or what we in the dental community refer to as tooth avulsion) every year?

It’s not something people worry about until it happens to them, but preventing dental injury is as important as regular brushing and flossing.

Sports-related mishaps account for three times more dental injuries than other accidents or falls. And with the Stanley Cup Playoffs on right now, it got us thinking about what you can do if you lose one of those pearly whites:

Tooth Avulsion, what do to do? Act fast!

A permanent adult tooth can be saved if you see your dentist immediately. Within 30 minutes is best, but the sooner the better. Keeping the tooth moist in transport is vital.

Quick steps you can take to save your smile:

  1. Carefully collect your tooth; avoid touching the root-end.
  2. If it’s dirty, rinse it with some milk or water. Never wipe or brush it off, this can damage the root.
  3. Once clean, put it back into the socket and hold it in place until you can get to the dentist. This will help keep the root alive as long as possible.
  4. If you can’t keep it in place, hold it in your mouth between your gums and lower lip.
  5. If all else fails you can put it in a small container of milk or your own saliva.

See a Dental Professional

Putting a tooth back in place can be simple. Depending on timing and the extent of the trauma, your tooth may be able to be re-implanted successfully and you can keep it for years to come.

Preventing a Dental Injuries

It may be hard to avoid an unforeseen accident. But since athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when not wearing a mouthguard, here’s three options that are ideal protection:

  • Custom mouthguards: They offer the best protection and are a perfect fit for your teeth and gums. They are fabricated by your dentist.
  • Stock mouthguard: Pre-formed and ready-to-wear, it’s a quick and cheap option.
  • Boil and bite mouthguard: A convenient at-home option that softens when it is boiled to take the shape of your mouth.

Still, the best way to avoid tooth avulsion is taking proper precautions in preventing it. Ask us about custom mouthguards at your next appointment. Because you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But for the pros, it’s just another part of the good ol’ hockey game!

Pickle Barrel: The emporium next door

If you’ve never been to the Pickle Barrel, you don’t know what “choice overload” is. You’ll never in your life see a bigger, more diverse menu. But more importantly, you’ll never see so much divergent quality on a menu. It’s not that they do a few things well, they do EVERYTHING well.

How Yonge and Eglinton got a Pickle Barrel Location

The Yonge and Eglinton location was Pickle Barrel’s third location after the flagship at Leslie and Cummer and Promenade Mall. And given the demographics around here, they couldn’t have chosen a better spot.

Young families love that there’s something on the menu to suit every kid’s taste  including seriously delicious french fries. And for the parents, the bar is fully stocked with everything you may want or need  you can even go sit at the bar for a much-needed break from the mall madness that is the Yonge Eglinton Centre.

Speaking of the bar, Pickle Barrel adds to the area’s “Young and Eligible” reputation as a pretty good date spot. The lighting at the bar suits a romantic encounter, and the appetizer portions are perfect for sharing. If the date goes well, you can go across the hall to Indigo for more chit chats. If not, you can go next door to the movie theatre where you don’t have to talk at all.

The Pickle Barrel takeout counter: great for a quick lunch

The neigbourhood’s full of highly rated and much-visited takeaway spots, but if you have the time to wait a bit longer for your order, it’s worth the trek up to the second floor of the Yonge Eglinton Centre. And no matter what you order, don’t leave without a box of famous Pickle Barrel party sandwiches. You don’t need to be having a party, a get-together or a soireé. You just need to be the kind of person who likes to eat really yummy food.

Speaking of which…

The Caesar salad. It’s a must. In fact, it’s the one thing you absolutely must try at least one. It’s a bold statement given (a) how great their deli and desserts are, (b) how international their menu is and (c) there are no pickles or barrels associated with a Caesar salad. But OH…MY…GOD.

If you can somehow get hold of their Caesar dressing recipe, we STRONGLY urge you to make an appointment to see us so we can clean your teeth and get it from you.

The smile: why do we do it and what does it mean?

As dentists, we understand the importance of a smile. While our patients want healthy mouths, this is not what they are typically thinking about every day. They’re thinking about looking good when they smile: in pictures, at work, to their spouses and to themselves.

The all-natural smile

Our brains have been pre-programmed to communicate non-verbally with our mouths.

In the primate world, showing one’s teeth means two very different things. When teeth are being shown apart, it is an indication they’re in the biting position and ready to attack. This was clearly a non-verbal warning as opposed to an act of aggression like it might be for a dog, because primates have the dexterity to not need to bite their adversaries.

But primate observation has also confirmed that teeth shown together is a sign of submission and belonging.

Behaviour psychologists have seen this cross over to humans. Babies who bare their teeth with a smile are known to be showing fear. On the other hand, a non-toothy, not-so-broad but open-lipped smile is showing pleasure. It’s not the teeth-clenched smile that the baboons flash to show submission. Instead, it’s more of a pleasant hybrid of open and closed.

As for closed-mouth smiles, these are rarely received well. Meanings behind them range from feigned interest and indifference to jealousy, rage and annoyance.

All the more reason to keep your pearly whites white, your gums healthy and the space between your teeth free of embarrassing green bits of salad.

Interesting smile fact

Frank McAndrew, professor of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill, who has been studying facial recognition for some time conducted a fascinating experiment with children who’d been born blind. They had no sense of what smiles looked like or how smiles affect others. But nonetheless, they smiled naturally just as the kids with full eyesight. They instinctively presented the right kind of smile in any situation. Based on their mastery of visual cues relating to smiling, if you didn’t already know that they were visually impaired, you might never be able to determine this.

Five reasons to live at Yonge and Eglinton

Toronto’s immigrant population grew 24.8% from 2,032,960 in 2001 to 2,537,405 in 2011. Since then it’s continued to grow, and every neighbourhood is benefiting from this influx. Given the relative price of living at Yonge and Eglinton, many immigrants opt for other areas; some close to us (Marlee and Eglinton; Bathurst and Lawrence). But we think if you’re already this close to Yonge and Eglinton, you might as well just live here, because the amount of time you’ll save being in a self-contained neighbourhood like ours will end up paying for itself in the long run.

Here are our top five reasons for living here:

5. The Yonge and Eglinton Strip

From Sporting Life at Blythwood down to Eglinton, anything you could possibly want to buy is available. Food, clothes, apparel, services, entertainment, HiFi, kids stuff, seniors stuff: it’s all here and it’s all accessible — more so since the city widened the sidewalks.

4. The Yonge Eglinton Centre

This recently renovated mall is still home to the movie theatre, the Indigo and the Eglinton subway. And now that it’s been redone, it’s become just as much of a place to chill as it is a place to shop.

3. The greenery

When you fly into Toronto, you’re amazed by how green it is. Our area’s flanked by two parks: Sherwood to the east and Roselawn to the west. If you’re into breathing the sweet fresh air of a better life, this is the place to do it.

2. The people

You won’t find a friendlier part of Toronto. It’s like the folks who live here know where they came from. And they know where the neighbourhood came from. It wasn’t that long ago that Yonge and Eglinton was an afterthought. Not so anymore. People say hello to each other on the street and from the patios lining it. And because of its walkability, you’ll see your neighbours. And that’s what builds neighbourhoods.

1. Yonge Eglinton Dental

What can we say? We’re fun, professional, caring and very good at our jobs. We like to think our area has the brightest smiles in town. Most of that’s the neighbourhood. But some of that’s us.