The Tooth Fairy and all its forms

Back in 2010, 20th Century Fox put out a fun movie called “Tooth Fairy” in which Dwayne Johnson (you may know him better as The Rock) plays a minor league hockey player who becomes a tooth fairy. It’s a fun movie, made even better by the casting of Julie Andrews – of Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music – as Lily, the head tooth fairy. You really couldn’t have cast that any better.

In this re-imagining of the classic children’s fable, the tooth fairy is actually a team of tooth fairies that circle the globe collecting baby teeth and leaving rewards. It certainly makes more sense than one fairy for all the planet’s children (not that the tooth fairy needs to make sense), but that’s not to say that moms and dads can’t sell the idea of a single tooth fairy. Of course they can. In fact, some of the most outlandish stories have been sold to kids at this all-too-traumatic time in their lives when their little teeth are being pushed aside by their big-boy and big-girl chompers.

Tooth Fairy Data

In 1984, children’s author Rosemary Wells (Max & Ruby, Noisy Nora) decided to find out what North American children really thought of the tooth fairy. She found that 74% believed the tooth fairy to be female, 12% said the tooth fairy was neither male nor female and 8% thought the tooth fairy could be either male or female. Of the 74% who saw a female, an overwhelming majority described her as that classic Tinkerbell fairy, while most of those who saw the tooth fairy as male see him as non-human. And that’s interesting because a tooth fairy tour around the world reveals a number of creatures.

International Tooth Fairies

In Spanish and Hispanic cultures, the tooth fairy is known as Ratoncito Pérez (or Pérez Mouse), who crawls under pillows and exchanges money for teeth. The mouse myth also exists in Italy where he’s called Topolino. In France and Belgium, the mouse is female and named la petite souris (the little mouse). In Spain, the tooth fairy is a lady named Mari Teilatukoa (Mary from the roof) who catches teeth thrown up in the air.

The “toss the teeth up in the air” theme is also prevalent in Asia – specifically in India, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. But there’s a twist to this custom: it’s only the bottom teeth that get chucked. Top teeth are placed in crawl spaces underneath the floor. The Japanese add an action to the custom: they throw bottom teeth straight up in the air and top teeth straight down to help the adult teeth come in straight. Middle Eastern countries have also embraced the tooth toss-up, but in those countries it’s an offering to Allah.

The one thing to remember

While it’s a seemingly innocuous construct and can be used to promote healthy oral care habits (“the tooth fairy pays more for healthy teeth, so brush every day”), the tooth fairy can lead to problems.

One of our patients told us about her oldest daughter who essentially extorted her parents by threatening to tell her little sister that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist.

“On the one hand, I was super upset,” said our patient. “On the other hand, I was kind of impressed.”

Yeah, us too.

Boy’s night locations at Yonge and Eglinton

As trendy as Yonge and Eglinton is, most people would agree that our area is what you’d call “family friendly.” But even though it mostly gets a PG rating, we do have a few spots for boys to be boys, as it were. So whether looking for somewhere to hang out after softball or just wanting to unwind with a couple of mates, these spots at Yonge and Eglinton for a Boys’ night are definitely worth considering.

Top 5 Boys’ Night Locations at Yonge and Eglinton

The Right Wing (2497 Yonge St)
This is our neighbourhood sports bar and it’s a good one. The walls are lined with big screens and the owners will let you put on whatever game you’re into. Definitely try the wings: the sauces are homemade and pretty fantastic.

Spacco (2415 Yonge St)
This is our neighbourhood pool hall, and it’s all class in there. It’s also known on the strip as a great place to meet a lady or two, and mow down on delicious pizza. In the summer, their patio rivals just about anyone’s in town.

The Keg (2201 Yonge St)
Dudes and their steaks. Yeah, it’s a bit cliché, but no one grills a better filet mignon. The bar’s always hopping, especially given that it’s located on the ground floor of one of Toronto’s biggest “single in the city” condos, and the service is always on point.

La Carnita (130 Eglinton Ave E)
Imported from College Street, this Mexican joint is always on the city’s top 10 trendiest list. It’s co-owned by buddies of Drake, and it has a Sweet Jesus Ice Cream store attached to it for a delicious post-burrito dessert.

St. Louis Bar & Grill (2050 Yonge St)
This was the original “boys’ night out” spot on the strip. Almost any day of the week, you’ll find tables of teammates chowing down on famous wings and fries and downing pitchers of well-priced beer. Their summer patio is also a staple of the neighbourhood, but count on waiting a bit for a spot on it: it’s supremely popular.

Yonge Eglinton Dental (2345 Yonge St)
If you wanna start boys’ night a little earlier with a group teeth whitening, we gotcha covered.

Chattering teeth

Inspiration comes at strange times. Anybody in the creative space knows this, as does anyone in the research or science space. Sometimes the planets align, show you something you were meant to see and put you on course to make history or a lot of money. In the case of Eddy Goldfarb and his chattering teeth, it was both.

Back in the 1940s, a product called the Tooth Garage – bedside denture case – hit the market. The idea was that false teeth could remain strong teeth if you kept them protected. Millions of people across America saw the ad, including Eddy Goldfarb, then a young inventor in Chicago. When he read the ad, he immediately imagined a giant set of teeth driving a car home after a long day at work, pulling into the garage and going inside for dinner.

For some people, the story would’ve ended there, but young Eddy turned his vision into reality. That ridiculous image he had in his head became “Yakkity-Yak Teeth,” or what you probably know as “those wind-up hop-along chattering teeth.”

Chattering Teeth Take a Big Bite (of the toy business)

Goldfarb had a knack for knowing if something was going to be a hit. And he knew Yakkity-Yak was a winner. He brought it to toy kingpin Marvin Glass – the creator of Lite-Brite and Rock’em Sock’em Robots, who in turn brought it to Irving Fishlove, the actual creator of fake vomit. They saw it. They loved it. They optioned it. And they blew it up.

Before long, Yakkity-Yak teeth were a staple among television variety show comedians like Ernie Kovacs, Red Skelton, Jimmy Durante and Milton Berle. And because (a) television was so new and (b) there weren’t many channel or show options, they caught on.

For the next 17 years, while Goldfarb held the patent on the Yakkity-Yak teeth and Fishlove held the patent on the motor inside it, the two made a mouthful of money together and Eddy used his proceeds to pursue his inventing. When it was all said and done, these strong teeth gave Eddy Goldfarb the juice to invent so many other toys, including Kerplunk, probably his most famous.

When the patent did run out, toymakers from across the globe jumped on the dental bandwagon and came to market with all sorts of Yakkity-Yak iterations, almost all of which you can buy on Amazon today. And it’s pretty much a guarantee that every practising dentist received at least one from someone in their family when they graduated dental school.

But Eddy made his money. And it 2003, for his 800+ plus patents and all his remarkable achievements, not the least of which was Yakkity-Yak chattering teeth, he was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

As dentists, we like to think that means there’s a bit of us in that Hall of Fame. And even if that’s not true, we’re going to continue thinking it anyway.

Father’s Day Special: The Best Dental Dad Jokes

Our Mother’s Day post this year contained some valuable information for women, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t show up for Father’s Day with equally valuable stuff. So very quickly:

  • According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), men are more likely to miss dental visits due to work, forgetfulness or stubbornness.
  • The AGD also found that men brush their teeth less regularly than women.
  • Given the two points above, it’s not surprising that the AGD found 34% of men between ages 30 and 54 have gum disease, compared to just 23% of women. Also, dry mouth and serious periodontal issues are more common in men.
  • Men are at a higher risk for HPV than women according to a University of Texas study.

So, guys, do the simple things right. Brush twice a day even if you don’t feel like it. Floss once a day, even if you think it’s a pain in the butt. And if you haven’t booked your next appointment, get on it. But before you do, some Dental Dad Humour:

Father’s Day Bad Dental Jokes

Q: What did the frequent patient say to the dentist when checking in?
A: I’ve been here before. I know the drill.

Q: What is the best time to schedule a dental exam?
A: Tooth-hurty.

Q: What do you call a dentist who isn’t a fan of tea?
A: Denis.

Q: Why did the smartphone need tooth whitening?
A: It had a little bluetooth that need to be taken care of.

Q: Why did the King schedule a dentist appointment?
A: He needed a new crown.

Q: Why did the dentist leave the airport?
A: He was afraid of the cavity search.

Q: Why did the deer need braces?
A: Buck teeth.

Q: What do dentists call their x-rays?
A: Tooth pics.

Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Yonge Eglinton Dental.

More green space at Yonge and Eglinton

Behind all the cranes in the area (and we’re seeing a lot of them lately) is a major transformation of the neighbourhood – one that includes a ton of new green space, something every neighbourhood should want and probably needs.

Most of the new green space is attributed to condo development — which is also going to mean more area residents.

If you’re thinking about moving to our neck of the woods, you can take solace in a few things:

Firstly, you can come here knowing that you’ll have a dentist. We’re accepting new patients and we’d be thrilled if you were one of them.

Secondly, the concrete jungle that looks to be coming is so much more. Here’s an announcement from one of the developments en route to completion. They’re just down the street from us and as you’ll read, they’re doing things the right way.

Yonge and Eglinton is already the #1 neighbourhood in Toronto

Seriously. Toronto Life said so. And so do we. It’s fantastic here: bustling but familiar. Everything you need within walking distance, and so much of what you’d want. Easy access to the subway, the highway and soon both airports.

And the influx of new condos means new people from around the world, so it’s about to get even better.

What will you use the new green space for?

Dogs? Kids? Walking with your honey and stopping for a kiss? Yeah…that sounds good.

But you know what sounds even better? New restaurants on the strip. We’re hoping for Peruvian, Ethiopian and possibly some Scottish (Haggis is trending everywhere these days). But if we get another delicious Italian joint, that would be just fine too. Hard to beat paninis and Pellegrino on a patio in the summer, and no place better to do it than Yonge and Eglinton.

Tooth Truths: 6 Tooth Myths Debunked Forever

While absolutely no evidence exists to 100% disprove the existence of a tooth fairy, these tooth myths have been put to bed.

Tooth Myth #1: White teeth = healthy teeth.

Like books, teeth shouldn’t be judged by their covers. While a whiter smile will do wonders for your confidence, no evidence suggests that whitening your teeth will improve their health. That still comes down to brushing and flossing regularly, seeing your dentist twice a year and staying away from sugary foods that contribute to poor oral health (and usually poor overall health too).

Tooth Myth #2: Everyone’s gums bleed.

Nope. Swelling and/or bleeding gums after brushing or flossing is a telltale sign of gum disease. It’s not normal and it should be addressed. The good thing is that nursing your gums back to health isn’t particularly challenging; it requires a simple commitment to brush and floss regularly in combination with regular dental visits.

Tooth Myth #3: Braces are only for young people.

While adolescence is the best time to correct alignment issues, it’s certainly not the only time. While many adults find the maintenance of having braces too challenging to add to their already-hectic schedules, many other adults push through, have braces put on their teeth and look infinitely better in no time.

Tooth Myth #4: Brushing properly negates the need to floss.

So incredibly wrong. Brushing accounts for roughly 65% of a clean mouth because it can really only focus on the bigger surface areas (front, back, top). But brushing can’t get between your teeth, which is where most of the decay-causing food particles wind up (the other 35% of the job). Not flossing will lead to cavities you don’t see until it’s too late. When that happens, a root canal or extraction could be your only option. And then you’ll think “why didn’t I take the 2.5 minutes every night to floss?”

Tooth Myth #5: You don’t have to be concerned about baby teeth.

Yes, you SHOULD concern yourself with baby teeth. Baby teeth play an important role in guiding the erupting permanent teeth to the right position. Removing one too early can create alignment issues in the adult teeth coming in behind them if no intervention is performed. Also, and maybe most importantly, getting your kids used to going to the dentist will go a long way to ensuring they continue going as adults.

And the last of the Tooth Myths: A straight set of teeth has only aesthetic value.

No doubt that straight teeth look better than crooked, gangly ones. But they have health benefits too. Crowded teeth hide some tooth surfaces, which means they’re not brushed properly. This can lead to gum disease and/or tooth decay. Also, crooked teeth can lead to an uneven distribution of biting forces, which can lead to not chewing your food properly and jaw related issues.

Bonus Myth: You don’t need to see the dentist twice a year.

That’s just crazy talk. Book an appointment.

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

You know what would make mom really happy this Mother’s Day? The gift of knowing her pride and joy is making life just a little bit easier for her on an everyday basis. So if you’re looking for the best Mother’s Day gift ever, take one thing off her plate for good. And if you’re looking for a place to start, try your teeth.

Mother’s Day Gift: Eight promises that will improve your oral health

1. You can promise to drink lots of water. It’s not just the choice of water over juice and pop that will help keep your mouth clean, but the act of wetting your mouth on a regular basis flushes out bacteria. Every time you drink a glass of water, you help your teeth and gums out a little bit.

2. You can promise to keep a packet of floss in your school bag. And you can promise to use it after lunch to keep bacteria from forming over the afternoon. If you can show mom that you know how to floss effectively, even better.

3. You can promise to use a bit of mouthwash every night. A little rinse goes a long way to getting anywhere your toothpaste didn’t. And any bits of food left will be neutralized and flushed away.

4. You can promise to snack healthily most of the time. That “most of the time” is important because it’s not realistic to think you’ll never have a cookie or a piece of chocolate (of course you will). But if the majority of what you snack on are fruits and veggies, your teeth and gums will be so much healthier for it. We recommend finding fruits and vegetables you like and asking mom to have them cut up and ready to eat. She’ll be more than happy to oblige.

5. If you’re going to drink pop, you can promise to drink it through a straw. This way, the sugary syrup will have less direct contact with your teeth.

6. If you’re going to chew gum you can promise to chew sugarless gum. The Xylitol in it (sugar substitute) kills oral bacteria, pulls food particles off teeth and promotes saliva flow.

7. You can promise to brush and floss twice a day, every day.

8. And finally, you can promise not to make a stink about going to the dentist.

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Yonge Eglinton Dental!

The Perfect Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton

Looking for a way to spend a spring Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton? You’ll have no shortage of things to keep you busy.

Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton: Early Morning

Get some exercise in with a walk in Eglinton Park, just north west of the Yonge and Eglinton corner. There is a great play structure and some gorgeous green fields where dog lovers toss balls and frisbees. If you time it right, the spring bloom is awesome. Grab a coffee from one of the many shops along the strip before you head in.

Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton: Mid-Morning

Once you’ve gotten your appetite going, take your empty belly over to Uncle Betty’s at 2590 Yonge Street for their scrumptious chocolate donuts that are only available on the weekends. You won’t be disappointed. Donuts not your thing? No problem. Their brunch menu is known as one of the best in the ‘hood.

Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton: Late Morning

This is prime people-watching time, and one thing Saturdays at Yonge and Eglinton has is people. And with all the new condos in the area, the mix of people you’ll see is inspiring. It used to be fairly homogeneous around here…but not anymore.

Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton: Lunch

The strip’s full of choice, but we’re big fans of the Pickle Barrel at the Yonge Eglinton Centre, mostly because there’s something for everyone. We highly recommend the deli sandwiches. Mmm.

Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton: Mid-Afternoon

Get your shopping on in the Yonge Eglinton Centre and beyond. The west side of Yonge Street is where you’ll find more of the bigger box stores, but the east side is lined with boutiques of all kinds. The exception is Sporting Life at the southeast corner of Yonge and Lytton. It’s a neighbourhood staple and a must-visit.

Saturday at Yonge and Eglinton: Late afternoon

Been outside and on your feet all day? Reward yourself with a movie at the Silver City Yonge and Eglinton. Here’s what’s playing today

The one thing you shouldn’t do if you have morning sickness

If you’re one of the “lucky” pregnant women who gets morning sickness, the one thing you should avoid is brushing your teeth until after it passes. Immediately after vomiting the pH in your mouth will drop and soften the outer layer of your enamel. Until the pH levels in your mouth are neutralized by your natural defenses like saliva, your teeth will be more easily damaged by your tooth brush .

Also, the stomach acids you produce during bouts of morning sickness will eat away faster at freshly cleaned enamel. In this narrow case, the residual layer of plaque or bacteria that’s formed on your teeth overnight will actually help protect your teeth.

You may have that yucky, gunky feeling in your mouth for longer than you’d like, but you’ll be able to brush it away in no time.

In the meantime, you can rinse your mouth out with lukewarm water instead. But resist the temptation to flavour that water up, because the last thing you want to do is introduce more acid.

What about that dry mouth that can accompany morning sickness?

It’s a common side effect of pregnancy, and it can lead to tooth problems. Drinking water often improves this symptom. Also, if you want to get the saliva flowing a little bit more, we’d also recommend sugarless gum (which will also come in handy to quell the morning sickness feelings).

What about my bleeding gums?

Swollen gums and gingivitis are part of the miracle, so don’t freak out if your gums bleed when you floss. Keep up your oral hygiene and know that this side effect has nothing to do with your dedication to oral health.

And what about my crazy cravings?

Look, we’re not going to tell you to deny yourself those sweets if that’s what you feel you need to get through the day. But we would tell you to keep an eye on how much of it you eat. It goes back to acid, which sweets and starchy snacks create in your mouth.

And the one thing you should do?

Book an appointment for a teeth cleaning before you have your baby. Because once it’s out, you’re not going to have the time. We can pretty much guarantee that.

A Sinus Infection and Tooth Pain

Spring time is sinus infection season for a few reasons. The most common culprit is the return of allergy season. If you’re a sufferer, you’re gearing up for the inevitable swelling of the nasal passages and the increased mucus in your nose. This blocks the opening of the sinus drainage pathways and can lead to infection.

But while pollen is the main reason for the increase in sinus infections at this time of year, it isn’t the only one.

There’s also the “do-I-or-don’t-I-wear-a-jacket-today” dilemma that most of us face when it’s sunny and 6˚C out there – because after a long winter, 6˚C feels like 16˚C. And while it’s true that you can’t catch a cold directly from not dressing appropriately, it does affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to catching someone else’s virus. Then the increase in bacterial mucus has the same sinus blocking effect and the increased possibly developing a sinus infection.

Tooth pain and a sinus infection

When a cold or a bout of allergies turns into a sinus infection, you can develop tooth pain. But it’s not the acute tooth pain that you’d experience from a chipped tooth, cavity or a root issue. The pain from a sinus infection is more like an overall feeling of pressure in all your teeth – because that’s exactly what’s happening. The mucus builds up in your maxillary sinuses, which are above your molar teeth roots. The pressure pushes down on your dental nerve endings, which is what causes the discomfort.

So what can you do about tooth pain caused by sinus infection?

Unfortunately, the only way to treat the pain is to treat the sinus infection itself. Over-the-counter cold-and-sinus medication will help, but here are a few home remedies that may offer some relief:

Drink Coconut Water

Hydrating the mucus membranes decreases mucus buildup so you don’t get any worse. The coconut water specifically is high in electrolytes like magnesium, potassium and sodium, all of which can give your immune system a bit of a boost to clear the infection a bit faster.

Eat Chilies

Getting your nose running and your eyes watering will help you clear some of the blocked mucus. And as a bonus, capsaicin (which is what gives chilies their kick) is a natural pain reliever.

Hum A Few Tunes

Seriously. Humming increases airflow to your sinuses, which can help clear and drain them. We’d recommend longer songs like American Pie or Inna Gadda Da Vida.

Sleep Sitting Up

Propping your head up will get gravity to do some of the draining work for you while you rest. If you can’t do that, some extra pillows will also work.

As for brushing and flossing with a sinus infection…

It may be a bit uncomfortable to keep up with oral care when you have sinus-infection-related tooth pain but keep it up. The last thing you’ll want after clearing the discomfort of a sinus infection is tooth problem. If think you are having a toothache, a sinus infection and you are unsure if they are related book an appointment to see your dentist.  Often it is very simple to sort this out.