Oral Health



4 Myths And Facts About Sleep Apnea

Thanks to the internet, the amount of available information for sleep apnea has increased dramatically. More people know about it and the medical community has taken great measures to raise awareness about the condition. Approximately 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and it’s important for people to learn the facts so we can deal with it effectively. However, there are still many people who are misinformed about the risks for sleep apnea. For this reason, we’ve compiled a few of the common myths and the real facts behind them.

Myth 1: Only people who snore have sleep apnea.

Fact: While snoring is commonly associated with sleep apnea, many people who don’t snore also have the condition. Snoring is only one of the many symptoms. In fact, if you’re a former snorer but have currently stopped, it could mean that the sleep apnea has become worse. Why? Because it’s possible your airway may have become completely blocked while you sleep, impeding your ability to snore. When diagnosing sleep apnea, all possible symptoms should be taken to consideration.

Myth 2: Sleep apnea harmless

Fact: Sleep apnea can harm your health if it’s not treated. In addition to causing breathing difficulties, insomnia, and memory impairment, sleep apnea can increase the risks of obesity, high blood pressure and even stroke. But that’s not all…

Because sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime tiredness, this can make it difficult to focus. The result? Higher chances of work-related accidents, injuries and even deaths. During a train accident in Utah in 2008, 9 passengers on board were killed. The cause of the accident was later discovered to be due the conductor’s decreased alertness caused by sleep apnea. If you think you may have sleep apnea, please don’t wait and get checked right away.

Myth 3: Only “old people” get sleep apnea.

Fact: This is one of the biggest misconceptions about sleep apnea. The fact is anyone can get sleep apnea regardless of their age. Whether you’re only 5 years old or over 70, you can get it. While it can be adorable seeing a young child snore, this can also indicate underlying problems, such as childhood obstructive sleep apnea. This condition affects many children and can lead to cognitive and behavioral problems. It’s true that sleeping disorders are more common in older individuals, but it doesn’t mean that children aren’t immune to them.

Myth 4: You need surgery to treat sleep apnea

Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Invasive surgery may have been the only treatment option in the early days, but that’s not the case anymore. Nowadays, surgery is only considered for the most serious cases.

Thanks to advancements in technology, there are a number of effective, non-surgical ways to treat sleep apnea, such as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and oral appliance therapy. CPAP involves using a machine to make breathing easier while you sleep. The machine keeps the throat’s airway open by increasing the air pressure in it.
Oral appliance therapy has the same objective but the patient is fitted with a small oral device instead while they sleep. The device helps to prevent the throat muscles from collapsing and blocking the airway. Both of these treatments have been shown to be effective for treating sleep apnea.

Hopefully some of your myths about sleep apnea have been debunked. The next time someone tell you some nonsense about sleep apnea, you can let them know the facts. And if you have sleep apnea or know someone who does, we offer customized solutions for treating it. Contact us at Lord Dufferin Dental to schedule an appointment today.


What’s The Best Age For Braces?

A question parents frequently ask is “When should my child get braces?”
Often the answer isn’t that simple.
2 equally qualified orthodontists will likely give you a different answer. To complicate matters more, they may differ on their treatment plans as well.
So why this disparity?
And what should you do?
While there is no ‘perfect age’ for braces, there are some factors to help determine when your child is an ideal candidate for them.

Orthodontic Screening
The first thing you should do is book an evaluation with your orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in diagnosing and correcting problems with the teeth and face, and will be able to assess whether your child needs braces.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children should be evaluated by the time they’re age 7. However, some circumstances may require earlier intervention, such as:
• Excessive overcrowding of teeth
• Open bites: when the upper and lower front teeth fail to meet
• Overbites: when the upper teeth protrude past the lower teeth
• Underbites: when the lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth
• Crossbites: when the upper and lower jaw fail to line up

Phase 1 & Phase 2 Treatment
The phase 1 treatment (also known as early intervention treatment) starts before all the permanent teeth have grown out (often when the child is 6 to 10 years old). This treatment is usually recommended to make more space for developing teeth and correct oral problems, such as overbites and cross bites. Phase 1 treatment often involves limited dental hardware, such as expanders and partial braces.
Phase 2 treatment (also known as comprehensive treatment) begins when the child is older (age 11 to 13) and when all their permanent teeth have grown in. This treatment usually involves full braces.
Whether your child will need phase 1 or 2 treatments will depend on the state of their teeth and if the orthodontist feels earlier intervention is required.

Why early examinations are beneficial
Having your children examined earlier (before age 7) has numerous benefits, including:
• Long-term treatment can be properly determined
• Oral problems can be identified earlier
• Teeth can be more easily guided for braces, reducing the time they have to be worn
Talk to your orthodontist and together you can come up with the best treatment plan for your child. Braces not only help straighten teeth, they also enhance your child’s self confidence by improving their smile.
At Lord Dufferin Dental, our orthodontists are qualified and experienced to help you determine when your child is ready for braces. Contact our office today for more information.

Fluoride: Is It Really Good For You?

For decades, it’s been the dental credo that fluoride is an essential part of preventing cavities and building stronger teeth. But when it comes to our overall health, its status remains less clear. Water fluoridation remains a heated topic of debate.

While medical establishments urge people to educate themselves about the benefits of fluoride, others are more wary. Some vocal groups argue that even if fluoride has helpful properties, the dangers of it are too risky for a beautiful smile. We’ll take a closer look at the controversy surrounding this substance.

So what is fluoride?

Believe it or not, it’s a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in the food we eat and the water we drink. However, the natural fluoride level for these things can vary greatly, and thus why people are debating whether adding fluoride to drinking water is safe.

There’s solid evidence that shows fluoride is beneficial for your teeth. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that fluoridated water reduces tooth decay over a person’s lifetime by 25 percent. A study in the Journal of Dental Research also supports these claims. The researchers analyzed data from almost 3800 adults who participated in the 2004 to 2006 Australian National Survey of Adult Oral Health. Based on their results, they found subjects who lived in communities with fluoridated water had significantly less tooth decay – up to 30 percent less – when compared to subjects who lived in unfluoridated communities.

But that’s not the whole story. While fluoride helps fight tooth decay, ingesting extreme amounts of it can be dangerous. Young children can also develop fluoride toxicity by ingesting large amounts of fluoride. In fact, getting too much fluoride can increase the risk of fluorosis – a condition that stains the teeth.

But don’t be alarmed – you would have to drink 5,000 to 10,000 glasses of fluoridated water in one sitting to reach unsafe levels. Basically any substance can be considered toxic if over consumed. A great example is alcohol. In small quantities, it’s been shown to have health benefits, like reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. But if you’re taking 10 shots of vodka in 30 minutes, you’re going to find its pretty lethal stuff.

Like any substance, it’s the dose that makes the difference. Fluoride in small amounts has been shown to be effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay. People of all ages can benefit their oral health by exposing their gums and teeth to fluoride. Fluoride helps to rebuild your tooth enamel which can be worn-down from acidic bacteria by the foods we eat. Fluoride also makes it more difficult for plaque to stick to your teeth.

The easiest way to get fluoride is by simply drinking water. Health Canada monitors safety levels and has deemed drinking water in Canada among the safest in the world. You can also use fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash or oral supplements. These few fluoride sources are more than enough to keep your decay at bay.

In the end, you shouldn’t be worried about fluoride. In fact, the fluoridation of drinking water is one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. So sit back and enjoy that refreshing glass of water. Your teeth will thank you for it.


How to Instantly Cure Bad Breath

Imagine, you’re sitting at the restaurant with your gorgeous new date.

You’re both laughing and having a great time.

Everything is going perfectly.

When it suddenly hits you…

Your breath smells!

Maybe it was the onions you ate for lunch.

Or the maybe it was the coffee you had after work.

But you know at this moment, you have to get rid of the stank before your date realizes and runs for the hills.

So what can you do?

Here are some tips to quickly freshen your breath – and maybe also save your date.

Tip 1: Moisten your mouth

Bad breath can often be caused by a dry mouth, so you want to keep your mouth moist and wet. Drinking water helps fight bad odor since it washes away food debris and bacteria in your mouth. In fact, you should be drinking 6 to 8 glasses a day.

Ask for a glass of water with a lemon. Squeeze the lemon into your water and mix it.

Lemons contain citric acid, which will help mask the odor.

To get the best benefit, eat the pulp too.

Tip 2: Use salt

Salt is a great way to kill bacteria in your mouth.

Saltwater rinses have been around for ages. References appear as early as 2700 B.C., where the Chinese used it to treat gum disease. It was a common part of the oral hygiene routine for the upper classes during the Roman Empire.

Grab some salt (there should be some on the table), if you can take it without your date noticing. Another option is to leave for the bathroom and ask the waiter for some salt and a glass of water.
Gargle it for 5 to 10 seconds to kill off some of the bacteria.

If your date asks, you can always just say you have a sore throat.

Tip 3: Eat something crunchy

Order a salad that comes with apples, celery, or carrots.

The fibrous nature of these foods promotes saliva production and maintains healthy pH levels in your mouth.

They’re high fibre content also has the added benefit of gently massaging your gums while freshening your breath.

Tip 4: Munch on parsley

Parsley is a fantastic natural breath freshener.

It contains chlorophyll to fight bad breath and neutralize internal body odors before they leave your body. The herb is also rich in calcium and fluorine, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

Ask for a dish that comes with parsley for instant breath refreshment. Be sure to excuse yourself after to check if any of the herb is stuck in your teeth.

Tip 5: Clean your tongue

Did you know that as much as 50% of the bacteria in your mouth live on your tongue? Yuck. And it’s these particular bacteria that cause bad breath.

The best way of removing bacteria on your tongue is by scraping it off.

• Sneak a spoon into the bathroom and moisten it (this makes it easier to wash the scraped off gunk).

Turn the spoon upside down, stick out your tongue, and gently scrape your tongue from back to front. Don’t forget the sides. Also try to relax or you will gag.

Once you’re done, rinse your mouth. You’ll be surprised with how much cleaner your mouth will feel.

Practicing Good Dental Hygiene

To keep your breath smelling fresh, it’s important to brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. Good oral habits also keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Bad breath can be caused by variety of things, including dry mouth, gum disease, smoking and medications. If bad breath is a persistent issue, you should check with your dentist or doctor for any underlying problems.

5 Home Remedies To Soothe A Toothache

A toothache is a terrible thing to endure.

If you’ve been unlucky enough of having one, you know how painful they can be.

The numbing throbbing pain you can feel in your jaw and just about every other part of your body.
They also have a knack of hitting you at the worse possible times – when it’s late at night and your dentist’s office is closed. Talk about frustrating!

So why do we get toothaches?

Toothaches happen when the central portion of the tooth, the pulp, becomes inflamed. The pulp contains nerve endings that are highly sensitive to pain. Inflammation to the pulp can be caused by various reasons such as cavities, trauma, and infection.

It’s important that if your tooth aches you should see a dentist as soon as possible. There’s a chance it could be infected and if left untreated it can lead to bigger health problems beyond the affected tooth.

These 5 home remedies should hold you over until you can visit the dentist:

Salt water
This is probably one of the best ways for soothing a toothache. Mix ¼ to 1/2 tsp. of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle it for 5 to 10 seconds, spit it out and repeat. The salt water helps kill the bacteria in the affected area and reduce the pressure on the nerve endings.

Note: Don’t swallow the salt water.

Painkillers provide quick, effective relief for minor toothaches. Having a sore tooth can make it difficult to eat, speak and even sleep, so an over-the-counter pain medicine can help ease the pain.

Note: Don’t place the aspirin on the gum of the affected tooth. Aspirin is an acid and will burn your gums. Swallow the aspirin instead.

Clove Oil
Clove oil, also known as Eugenol, is a common ingredient found in dental products. Cloves have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant and anesthetic properties that help ease tooth pain and fight infection.

Mix 2-3 drops with olive or cooking oil and apply the mixture on the sore tooth. You can also dab a cotton ball in the oil mixture and rub it on the affected area.

Note: You can find clove oil at most drug stores

Ice Pack
Fill a Ziploc bag with ice, wrap a cloth around it, and hold it over your cheek where it hurts. The cold temperature will numb the pain.

Note: Don’t apply the ice directly on the affected tooth. Teeth inflamed by toothaches are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, so this will only increase the pain.

Hard Liquor
Alcohol is an antiseptic and an astringent and can help ease the pain of a toothache. Swoosh a bit of whiskey, scotch or vodka. Another option is pouring some it on a cotton ball and applying it to the sore tooth.

Note: A strong mouthwash with alcohol will also work.


7 Foods That Will Naturally Whiten Your Smile

Some foods can seriously harm your teeth…
…they can turn a beautiful white smile into a grossly dark sight.
Coffee, tea, and red wine are common stain offenders. But it’s not all bad news. There are also foods that can help get your teeth whiter.
What are they?
Here are 7 of the best foods to brighten your smile:

Strawberries may stain your shirt, but are great for your teeth. The red fruit contains malic acid, which removes surface stains and discolorations. The berries’ texture also helps to polish your enamel, making it smoother and whiter, while its antioxidant properties help to prevent gum infections.

Your mom was right – Drink milk and you’ll be big and strong. But she forgot 1 thing: It will strengthen your teeth as well.
Milk is loaded with calcium, vitamin D and phosphorous, which help make tooth enamel stronger and whiter. It also promotes saliva secretion to help balance your mouth’s pH level and fight against bacteria.

Eating cheese with your meal can help fight cavities. Like milk, it contains calcium, phosphate and also casein, which help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Not like many vegetables, broccoli rarely gets stuck in teeth, so won’t cause staining. It contains fiber and iron, which help to reduce inflammation and protect your teeth against bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tip: The best way to eat broccoli is raw. The florets (the flowery part) will polish and clean your teeth while you chew.

Chewing this hard fruit will keep your choppers in tip-top shape. The apple’s crispy texture scrubs your teeth and gums, while its high malic acid content helps to remove stains while increasing saliva production
Remember, an apple a day keeps the cavities away.

Carrots are a fantastic natural teeth cleaner. Similar to apples, its crunchy abrasive texture polishes teeth and removes surface stains. Carrots also encourage saliva production to protect teeth against cavity-causing bacteria.

Don’t be fooled by its small wrinkly appearance. Research shows that bran cereals with raisins are more effective at cleaning the mouth than the same cereal without raisins.
Like many of the other foods on this list, munching on raisins promotes saliva production, which helps fight stains and plaque.

Oral Health And Mental Health – Is There A Connection?

Good oral health not only improves your overall health, it enhances your self-image and quality of life.

But does your oral health also impact your mental health? And vise versa?

Is there a correlation?
The answer isn’t so simple.
Research shows people with mental health problems are less likely to focus on their oral health due to other issues they’re facing, such as depression and trauma. But people with poor oral health are also more likely to have emotional and self-image problems.

It’s safe to say the oral-mental health relationship is complicated.

We’ll examine this matter more closely now…

How Mental Illness Drugs Affect Oral Health

People who suffer from mental health problems are likely prescribed drugs to treat their symptoms. However, one common side effect of most mental illness drugs is increased dry mouth. This can impact oral health by increasing the risk of dental caries, gum disease, oral infections, and even salivary gland inflammation.

Medication-induced dyskinesia is another worrying consequence of long term anti-psychotic drug use. This condition is characterized by continuous muscle contraction that appears shortly after taking antipsychotic medication. Any of the body’s muscles can be affected, such as the jaw, throat, and tongue. When the throat muscles are affected (a condition known as acute laryngospasm) it can be very serious, since it can impair breathing.

Lifestyle-Socio-Economic Factors and Barriers

People with mental health problems are more likely to have lifestyle and socio-economic challenges that can contribute to poor oral health. These may include:
• Lack of understanding about oral diseases and how to prevent them
• Unhealthy eating habits
• Poor life style choices (binge drinking, smoking and drug use) as a way to deal with problems.
• Bad past experiences with dentists
• Fear and anxiety about dental treatments
• Poor housing conditions (including homelessness) and lack of privacy for personal hygiene
• Mental illnesses, such as dementia, which can affect a person’s ability to think clearly and take care of him/herself

Any of these factors can hinder someone with mental health problems to get proper oral care. It’s important to address these issues to make oral health care more within reach for these individuals.

How to Improve Oral Care for People with Mental Health Problems

Finding ways to make oral care more accessible and providing better education about dental hygiene are the best ways to improve oral health for people with mental health problems. Mental and dental health are closely linked since physical wellbeing has an impact on mental wellbeing and vise versa. Promoting and ensuring good dental habits is especially vital because mental health problems can seriously impede daily function.

Advice on healthy eating and importance of proper lubrication to alleviate the dry mouth symptoms are crucial to relieve the unpleasant oral side effect caused from mental medications. Highlighting the harmful effects of smoking, heavy drinking and drug use will also help people to make healthier life style choices.

More collaboration between dental care, mental health, and social care segments is needed. This will help dental professionals to understand the major diagnostic conditions and how to better treat people with mental health problems. This will also help them feel more comfortable receiving dental treatment.

Simply put, more needs to be done to ensure everyone is getting proper dental care. Because everyone deserves a healthy beautiful smile.

Do you have any suggestions yourself?

We’d love to hear them in the comment section below.

Should you Floss Before or After Brushing?

You probably already know that flossing is important for your oral health. Unlike brushing, which cleans the outer surfaces of your teeth and gums, flossing cleans between them. Flossing removes the harmful bacteria stuck between teeth, which can turn into plaque and cause bigger problems like gum disease. These are places that a toothbrush simply can’t reach.

But there’s been much debate as to whether it’s better to floss before or after you brush. Even dentists can’t seem to agree on this matter. This can cause a lot of confusion for people wanting to improve their dental hygiene habits. So what’s the correct way to floss? Read on to find out.

Flossing before brushing

The benefit of flossing first is that you can dislodge the debris between your teeth before brushing. This allows the fluoride from toothpaste to better penetrate between your teeth since the debris has already been removed. This helps protect your teeth from cavities in those areas. However, some dentists say flossing after brushing makes more sense since you can better remove food that’s been left behind instead of possibly pushing it back between your teeth with a toothbrush.

Flossing after brushing

If you floss after you brush, there will be less plaque for you to get rid of since some of it would have been removed when you brushed. This makes flossing less time consuming and feel like less work for people. Some dentists also suggest brushing first since this is the way most of us have been taught. And since there’s no hard evidence as to which order is better, they say we should just continue what we’ve been doing before.

So, what’s the verdict?

Whether you floss before or after you brush doesn’t really make a difference. Many people have done it both ways and have gotten good results. If you’ve been flossing before brushing your teeth for 20 years and have healthy teeth and gums, there’s no need for you to change your ways now. The important thing to remember is to floss at least once a day. Flossing is critical to your oral health and should never be skipped.

When flossing, don’t just move the floss up and down between your teeth. You should gently curve the floss around each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. This ensures the whole area around the tooth is clean. To learn more dental tips, feel free to visit us at the Lord Dufferin Dental Centre. You may be surprised what you learn!


Wisdom Teeth: To Pull Or Not To Pull?

You brush and floss.
You take care of your teeth.
But for some reason, your jaw hurts.
In fact, it’s throbbing…
You visit your dentist to see what’s wrong. That’s when you discover your problems are due to a wisdom tooth. Your dentist recommends surgery to remove it. Yikes.
So what should you do?
Read on to get all the facts about wisdom teeth and learn about your options…

What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are your third molars and located at the very back of your upper and lower jaw. They get their name because they often appear when you’re in your late teens to early twenties – old enough when you’ve gained some experience and ‘wisdom.’ However, not everyone will get wisdom teeth and some people are born without them.

Why wisdom teeth may be a problem
Wisdom teeth can be problematic if they can’t grow out properly. A wisdom tooth is ‘impacted’ if it gets stuck in your gums and is unable to reach its normal position (for example, because its tilted or another tooth is blocking it). Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful and cause problems with chewing, swollen gums, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth.
Wisdom teeth can also be partially impacted – meaning the tooth has broken through your gums. Partially impacted wisdom teeth can cause cavities and gum disease because they are more difficult to clean.
Most people who have problems with wisdom teeth are between the ages of 15 to 25 years old. People over 30 are less likely to have issues; however, it’s not uncommon for people to need surgery to remove their wisdom teeth even in their 40s or 50s.

When should wisdom teeth be removed?
Generally, it’s best to have impacted wisdom teeth extracted between the ages of 16 to 20. The reason is they’re easier to remove because your bones and roots are still soft and developing. As you age, the bones surrounding your teeth harden, making them harder to remove and making surgery more risky. Also your gums and tissue will take longer to heal as you get older.

Risks of having wisdom teeth removed
As with any surgery, there are always risks. After your wisdom teeth are removed you may experience:
• Pain and swelling in the area where your tooth was extracted
• Bleeding that may last 24 hours
• Difficulty opening your jaw
• Dry socket, which causes discomfort and happens when one of the blood clots in the open tooth socket becomes dislodged.
• Nerve damage – under the roots of your teeth, there’s a nerve in your jawbone which can potentially become injured if the impacted wisdom tooth isn’t removed correctly. Damage to the nerve can cause your lower lip to become numb.

What are your options?
Realize not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. Some people have enough room in their jaw for wisdom teeth to grow. If impacted wisdom teeth aren’t causing you problems, there’s no reason why you ‘have to’ remove them. But keep in mind that not all wisdom teeth cause pain and you may not even realize you have them. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist regularly so he can examine you and check for potential problems.
The dental professionals here at Lord Dufferin Dental Centre are experienced of dealing with a wide variety of teeth problems. Contact out office today at 519-938-9500 and we would be happy to help you with your dental needs.

A Healthy Smile, A Healthy Body

Regular checkups with your dentist can do more than keep your teeth healthy – it can keep your body healthy too. There’s a strong correlation between one’s oral health and overall health. The hygiene of your mouth can greatly affect the rest of your body.

Bacteria that accumulates on teeth may make the gums susceptible to infection. In defense, your immune system attacks the infection leading to the gums being inflamed. The inflammation continues until the infection is stabilized. If left untreated, it can erode gums and teeth resulting in
gum disease (known as periodontitis) and problems with other body parts.

Gum Disease and Health Issues

Research from the Academy of General Dentistry shows a link between gum disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, digestive problems and heart disease. Women with gum disease are also more likely to give birth to pre-mature or low weight babies.

Other studies reveals that most systemic diseases – diseases affecting the whole body – involve oral complications, such as mouth ulcers, swollen gums, and dry mouth. Systemic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, leukemia and oral cancer.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

The gum disease/diabetes relationship may be the strongest one of all. Inflammation originating from the mouth may negatively affect the body’s ability to manage sugar levels. People with diabetes have problems controlling blood sugar levels since their body cells don’t break down sugar the way healthy body cells do. This results in extremely high blood sugar and insulin levels. To make matters more complicated, gum disease and diabetes appear to have a two-way relationship. High blood sugar levels can also promote infections to grow, such as gum infections.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Researchers at the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with gum disease are two times more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those without it. The two diseases have a number of common risk factors, such as being overweight, unhealthy eating habits, and smoking.

If you suffer from gum disease, oral bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream and lead to infection in your heart and lungs. The bacteria can also stick to the insides leading to blockages and blood clots to form. All these factors greatly increase one’s risk of having heart complications, such heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

Establishing Good Hygiene Habits

You can minimize potential health complications by:

Brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes after every meal with fluoride toothpaste.
Flossing daily to remove plaque and using mouth wash to get rid of bacteria.
Eating plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to get your nutrients.
Avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, which increase one’s risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer.
Visiting your dentist annually for cleanings and to check for cavities and gum problems.
Following these steps can not only protect your teeth, it can also save your life!