Halloween Shopping at Yonge and Eglinton

Yonge and Eglinton is a Halloween hot spot in the city. Perhaps it’s the number of young families or the tight knit community.

If you live around here and you want to get in on the action, here are a few places to hit up.

Candy

The Metro at Yonge Eglinton Centre has you covered for the basics, but if you’re looking for more, take a walk over to Uncle John’s Candy Shack at 635 Mount Pleasant (just south of Eglinton).

Costumes

No doubt about this one: the place to go is the Little Party Shoppe at 2566 Yonge Street just north of Briar Hill. You’ll find the traditional scary stuff like ghouls and goblins, but they’ll also stock the funny get-ups too.

Decorations

We’re big fans of A Buck or Two in the Yonge Eglinton Centre for everything you’d need to frighten up your lawn. And it’s right by the LCBO so you can stock up on Bailey’s to keep you warm while you give out candy to the kinder.

Music

No, it’s not necessary to have a scary soundtrack going as the kids come up to your door. But it’s a great touch. Yes, you could search the web for ideas, but you could also swing by Indigo and talk to the staff about what to get. They’re among the more creative people in the neighbourhood.

Post-Halloween dental check-up

Look, we know you’re going to load up on sweets the next few weeks (especially if you think you’re going to buy Halloween candy in advance and not eat it). So book a check-up for November and let’s get your smile ready for the holidays.

Halloween Special: Top 5 Vampire Movies

Vampires have pronounced fangs to break human skin so the blood flows out — but they generally don’t have to be as sharp as they look in vampire movies: neck skin is among the softest and most penetrable on the body.

Speaking of vampire movies, if you’re looking to settle into something vampy this Halloween, here are our top 5 vampire movies.

#5  Nosferatu (1922)

This was the original vampire movie — a silent film based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. It was also the first movie to introduce the montage scene: different events happening at the same time, intercut together to tell the whole story. From a horror standpoint, this classic doesn’t quite hold up to modern standards. But from a dental standpoint, the “less fangled/more mangled” way director F.W. Murnau had the vampire’s teeth designed was inspiring.

#4 — Once Bitten (1985)

Before Jim Carrey was Jim Carrey, he was a B-list actor in B-list films. Once Bitten certainly qualifies, but what makes this one different is the quality of the performances by its stars. Carrey is, of course, a master of physical comedy, and he’s supported by Lauren Hutton who plays the Vamp and Cleavon Little in his last major film role. The story’s a bit cliché and it definitely has that ’80’s cheese feel, but it’s virtually impossible not to like.

#3 — Underworld (2003)

Imagine a world where vampires and werewolves have been engaged in a secret centuries-long battle for supremacy in the shadows. Now imagine the main vampire assassin was Kate Beckinsale. That’s Underworld, and it’s a wild ride. Special nods to Canadian Scott Speedman for an excellent performance as a human caught in the middle of the war and Michael Sheen (who also played Tony Blair in The Queen) as werewolf leader.  Fun fact: Sheen and Beckinsale were married at the time this movie was made.

#2 — Thirst (2009)

Korea has been described as the Italy of Asia, referring to the nation’s penchant for passion. Korean films tend to reflect this: visually visceral design and raw emotive acting. If you haven’t been exposed to Korean cinema, Thirst is a great place to start. This Cannes winner is the story of a priest who gets turned into a vampire and is forced to reconcile his time-held beliefs with his new desires.

Our favourite of all the vampire movies: #1 — 30 Days of Night (2007)

If you’re the kind of person who likes being scared to the point of having to sleep with the lights on, this is your vampire movie. It’s terrifying. And it’s a mind-trip too. The only star you’ll probably recognize in the cast is Melissa George, but it won’t matter because veteran horror producer Sam Raimi (Army of Darkness) made sure the star of the show was the psychological warfare the film wages on its audience.

Notable mentions:
Blade: Wesley Snipes is a vampire superhero protecting humans from the bad bloodsuckers.
From Dusk ’Til Dawn: Quentin Tarantino directs George Clooney into a brothel run by vampires.
Interview With a Vampire: Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. That’s about all you need to know.

Five Fun Dental Facts

With this week’s blog we thought we would give you a few fun dental facts that you might not have known. You can break one or more of these out at your next dinner party — and we’ve even added a follow-up topic to each one so you’re not just that Cliff Clavin type who breaks out random facts at dinner parties.

Dental facts: Did you know tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body?

Tooth enamel is made of calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite, a more durable version of regular calcium-rich hydroxyapatite, which is what your bones are made of. Its strength has a downside, however: tooth enamel is mostly inorganic and one of the only body parts that can’t regenerate or repair itself on it’s own.  All the more reason to protect it by brushing and flossing, limiting acid exposure and going to the dentist regularly.

Follow-up dinner party topic: Would you rather your tooth get knocked out and have to replace it with a bridge the following week, or break your leg and have to be in a cast for 12 weeks?

Dental facts: Did you know the side of your mouth you most chew on is the side of your dominant hand?

One explanation is that you’d hold your fork in your dominant hand, and so food would go in from that side. But it’d be interesting to see what side of your mouth you chew on when you’re eating something with two hands, like a burger.

Follow-up dinner party topic: Left-handed people often feel the world is built for right-handed people. But with the gradual elimination of handwriting, is this still the case?

Dental facts: Did you know you produce between 2 and 4 pints of saliva a day?

Imagine two pint glasses full of spit. Gross, right? But necessary. A well-hydrated mouth means less risk of cavities and nasty breath.

Follow-up dinner party topic: Is it ever okay to spit in public?

Dental facts: Did you know your jaw muscle can produce between 170 and 200 pounds of strength per square inch (psi)?

This makes your jaw the strongest muscle in your body. By comparison, the force an average person creates when they hit a nail with a hammer is roughly 100 psi. On the flip side, the strongest dog jaw belongs to the Kangal Shepherd and creates 740 psi.

Follow-up dinner party topic: Have you ever been bitten by a dog? And did it sully your view of dogs?

Dental facts: Did you know that every person has a unique tongue print?

Fingerprints and bite marks have always been the gold standard for identifying people. But these can both be manipulated with self-mutilation and dental surgery, respectfully. No one’s going to get a new tongue, which is why the biotech industry is currently working on tongue print identification that can be adopted world-wide.

Follow-up dinner party topic: Can you roll your tongue? And did you know that more people can than can’t?

Five Yonge and Eglinton Smile Spots

We see a lot of happy people at Yonge and Eglinton. And why wouldn’t we?

According to Toronto Life, Yonge and Eglinton is the #1 neighbourhood in the city. The strip is full of life all the time. And even more beautiful now than at any point throughout the year.

But if you’re in the area and looking for something more specific to turn the corners of your mouth up, consider one of these places:

Absolute Comedy

This club has been a staple at Yonge and Eglinton for generations, first as Yuk Yuk’s and now as Absolute. Comedy It’s intimate, relatively inexpensive and is known for drawing top talent and hot crowds.

Silver City Yonge and Eglinton

No matter what movie you come to see, the surround sound and massive screens will put a smile on your face. And if you want to really smile, upgrade to a VIP auditorium.

High school baseball in Eglinton Park

Just to the west of Yonge Eglinton Centre, Eglinton Park hosts many of the area’s inter-school matchups. The pureness of the games will make you smile, as will the grit of the players, not to mention some of the bat flips — there’s some serious swagger out there.

The Kids Section at Indigo

On Saturday mornings, a few of the staff members put on a puppet show and read books to the children and their parents. It’s hilarious.

The Strip

When all you need is a bit of retail therapy to boost your mood, walk up Yonge Street from Eglinton to Lytton. You’ll find clothes, shoes, tech, toys, gear, jewellery, glasses, cookware, flatware, furniture and probably the best sporting goods stores in town (that would be Sporting Life’s two locations).

And one place to make that smile shine

That would be us. From checkups to whitenings, we’ll make sure you’re proud to flash that grin. We’re now accepting new patients. Book an appointment and we’ll be happy to see you.

Halitophobia: The Fear of Having Bad Breath

Imagine spending your life petrified of having perpetually bad breath, no matter how often you brushed, flossed and/or rinsed?

This is called halitophobia, and the world’s leading expert on halitosis, Mel Rosenberg of Tel Aviv University, says it affects 1% of the population.

According to Dr. Rosenberg, halitophobia is classified as a Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

“Sufferers, particularly women, get obsessed with an aspect of their physique — their nose is too big or their bellies are too fat — and the obsession takes over their whole lives, leading to serial nose jobs, multiple gastric bypass surgeries or, in the case of halitophobia, increasing isolation.”

Severe instances of halitophobia can lead to serious issues like agoraphobia. At the same time, symptoms of many other anxiety disorders include dry mouth, which can lead to halitosis.

The physical effects of halitophobia

For many halitophobics, elements of obsessive-compulsive disorder come into play in the forms of over-brushing, flossing too hard or excessive rinsing. While a bit of elbow grease can help dislodge food and break up tartar, too much can lead to a weakening of the enamel and trauma to the gums.  The former can lead to cavities, while the latter could lead to significant periodontal issues.

What to do about the fear of bad breath

As we know with other mental illnesses, it doesn’t matter how thin or beautiful or young others think you look if you can’t see it. But what makes halitophobia different is that it’s far less subjective. Either your breath stinks or it doesn’t. And unlike questions of size or beauty, no one’s going to lie to you about bad breath. If you have it, ask someone and they’ll tell you. If they say you don’t, trust them. They have no emotional or societal reason to lie.

Concerned about bad breath?

Book an appointmentWe can help.

How fake smiles make you feel better

We all know genuine smiles can go a long way. As it turns out, so can fake smiles.

A 2012 study called Grin and Bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response found “physiological and psychological benefits from maintaining positive facial expressions during stress.”

Those benefits include a lift in your mood, a lowering of your stress and a boost to your immune system.

The physical act of smiling, genuine or otherwise, causes a release of dopamine and serotonin into the brain. The former increases feelings of happiness, while the latter has been associated with reduced stress.

As for a fake smile’s effect on your immune system, that’s an interesting one.

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how the brain is connected to the immune system. Evidence in that field clearly indicates that depression weakens your immune system, while happiness boosts it.

And Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist in Los Angeles found that fake smiles can lead to the same results.

“What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity,” says Dr. Grossan. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humour is happening.” In other words, your immune system is a body reader, not a mind reader. It won’t question why you’re smiling.

How to effectively make fake smiles

A lot of advice in this field centres around thinking about the people in your life who make you happy. That’s one way of getting there, but it’s tough to do when things aren’t going well. Far too often, the positive thoughts are immediately followed by feelings of guilt or shame or anger or longing. And then those thoughts kill your smile.

So here’s an alternative. Forget about the people or the things. Think of a time you had a genuine belly laugh. Think about what made you laugh and how you laughed. And think about how hard you laughed (‘cause you probably remember). That image of you laughing will put a smile on your face and keep it there.

We took an informal survey around the office about belly laugh moments. One that stuck out to us was the first time we saw “There’s Something About Mary.” That got us thinking about our favourite scenes from the movie, like this one we can’t stop watching now.

If you really can’t think of anything to smile about….

Then get your smiling in while you’re brushing your teeth. You’re basically smiling already when you’re scrubbing your front teeth.

9 Toothpaste Life Hacks

When Colgate invented modern toothpaste in the 1950s, they were trying to create a significant advancement in at home oral care. But they got way more than that. Consider the following:

Fill thumbtack holes

Dab toothpaste onto the wall, then smooth it out with a playing card.

Relieve the itch from bug bites

A drop will cool the area down. Best to apply before bed (and after brushing) and leave it on overnight.

Toothpaste to clean shoes?

The cleaning agents in toothpaste can take out scuffs in leather and remove dirt from plastic or fabric. Squeeze a bit on the spot, scrub it in with a brush or sponge, then wipe it clean with a cotton towel.

Remove ink stains from your skin

Regular hand soap always leaves a hint of the ink on your hands. Toothpaste doesn’t — and you don’t need that much.

Wash out water rings on wood

Use a small amount, a damp cloth and a bit of time to buff gently (no serious elbow grease required). It may take a few rounds, but it’ll work. It’s best to test first on a less visible area if your piece of furniture is an antique.

Clean baby bottles

Instead of risking soap residue ingestion, use children’s toothpaste as it’s already been approved for kids to swallow.

Lift collar stains

Save the money you’d spend on to-go sticks. A brush and a bit of white toothpaste is all you need. Scrub the toothpaste in, rinse it out, then wash your shirt as you normally would.

Take crayon stains off painted walls

For anyone with kids, drawn-on walls are going to be a reality one day. Don’t panic. Dampen a cloth, run in some paste and scrub the wall. The crayon wax will come right out.

Extend the life of your iron

Your iron can develop a crust over time that can damage it, or even worse, your clothes. Use a little bit of paste and a cloth to clean the iron plate every so often.

Why smiling is contagious

Smiling isn’t so much contagious as it is an involuntary reaction known as mirroring — the act of matching a person’s facial expression.

Adrienne Wood, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, studies non-verbal communication; specifically, the way people communicate through facial expressions.

“In order to recognize the facial expressions and emotional expressions we see, we recreate what it feels like to do that facial expression,” said Wood. “We refer to that stimulation to understand what the person in front of us is feeling and what their intentions are. Then you know how to respond appropriately. This is all happening without you even thinking about it.”

This was backed up by another study by T.L. Kraft et al., who found that humans subconsciously “try on” each other’s expressions in order to understand how others are feeling. In essence, the contagiousness of smiling is our way of connecting with others and triggering the appropriate emotions in the moment.

Fake smiling

As it turns out, forcing a smile can actually change your emotions, according to a report by Psychology Today. If you’re not feeling your best on a particular day, the act of smiling can trigger your body to release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin – neurotranmitters that make you feel good – to elevate your mood. Some people have found that simply smiling at themselves in the mirror can achieve this result. And if the grin staring back at you is clean and healthy, it will make you feel even better about yourself… all the more reason to look after those pearly whites of yours!

How a healthy mouth leads to a better smile

Yes, taking good care of your teeth will make them look better. And you’ll smile bigger because you’ll be more confident. A healthy mouth also means better breath, so you won’t feel like you have to hold back a hearty “HA!”

A last word about contagious smiling

You’ve no doubt heard that 90% of human communication is non-verbal. Your gestures speak volumes about what you’re feeling and how you feel about the person you’re “not speaking” to. Smiling will go a long way to making every conversation more positive.

Yonge and Eglinton on a budget

Yonge and Eglinton has a reputation as one of the more posh areas of Toronto, but the area has its fair share of budget-conscious activities as well. If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful things to do, consider the following:

A walk through Greenwood Park

You can get into this massive green space at the east end of Greenwood Avenue, and the path will take you all the way up to Lawrence Avenue. You’ll find open areas for picnicking and frisbee, some fabulous off-leash dog areas and a ravine for exploring.

Wednesday comedy at Absolute Comedy

Tickets to the 8:30 pm Pro/Am show are only $8. The line-up features three to five local amateur comics and one or two of the professional weekend performers. Perhaps you’ll get to say you saw a future star way back when?

The Mandarin at Yonge and Eglinton

It’s hard to find better value than this classic Chinese buffet just south of Eglinton on the west side of Yonge. For just $27, you can eat as much as you want – and as far as Chinese food goes, it’s some of the best in the area and the kids will love it.

Pho King Fabulous!

It’s more than a great name – it’s great cheap food. For $10.50 you can get a massive bowl of delicious Vietnamese soup that’ll fill you up for the day. Find them at 2411 Yonge Street between Erskine and Broadway.

The Little Party Shoppe

If you’re looking for cheap gifts to put in loot bags or to bring to a soirée, this is the place to go. Most of what you’ll find is well-priced and you’ll find something for every theme. Be sure to visit them around Halloween – they definitely go all out for it.

Enjoy your visit to Yonge and Eglinton!

5 reasons to bring out-of-towners to Yonge and Eglinton

By all means, show your guests the CN Tower, Queen Street West, Casa Loma and Canada’s Wonderland, if you’ve got young ones staying with you. But save an afternoon for Yonge and Eglinton.

5. Yonge and Eglinton is a shining example of smart urban planning

Yonge and Eglinton is great for drivers, bikers, walkers, store owners, restaurateurs, professional service providers and dogs. And the best part is that you notice the features that make it so. The sidewalks and streets are wide, but there’s still an intimacy to the area. It doesn’t feel overwhelming: once you get north of Broadway, it’s almost all unique low-rise buildings.

4. The shopping’s great

You’ll find a few big boxes on the strip, but it’s by and large independent boutiques. And even the national names have a neighbourhood feel. The Roots store at Yonge and Lytton is one of the city’s best.

3. Strolls through the neighbourhood are awesome

Back to the urban planning thing again, the area’s full of beautiful, tree-lined streets, little green spaces and a giant park with a pretty perfect walking path through its ravine. Also, Yonge and Eglinton homeowners have great taste. You’ll see some amazing houses.

2. So. Much. Good. Food.

Every taste is represented here and it’s all delicious. You’ll find cheap and cheerful breakfast joints, 5-star dining at Marc McEwan’s North 44˚, Korean, Middle Eastern, Thai, Italian, French, Greek, Canadian and a new Poke place. Mmm.

1. The people

We’re really nice. Sure, people say that about Toronto in general, but it’s amplified at Yonge and Eglinton because people are genuinely happy to be here – and it comes through. Lots of big bright smiling around here. The shopkeepers get a lot of business. The restaurants are full. Foot traffic is pretty regular, but never overwhelming.

You won’t find Yonge and Eglinton in any guide books. And most people don’t think of it. But if you want to see the neighbourhood Toronto Life chose as the city’s best to live in, this is it.

Coming by subway? Get off at Eglinton Station on the #1 line.