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How to Make Brushing Fun

Children often view brushing their teeth as another chore, and one that they like to avoid whenever possible. There’s no better time than Children’s Dental Health Month to change this perception and here’s how:

Game Time
It’s no secret that kids love games, so why not make brushing teeth a game? This can be an especially great tactic for rounding up multiple children to brush their teeth. One way to make brushing a game is to see who brushes their teeth for the full time (2 minutes is the recommended duration for brushing) by giving each child their own timer. Also having some kind of reward system, like a brushing chart to track all the times a child brushes his or her teeth, would help incentivize the routine.

Lead by Example
Brushing your teeth with your kids not only shows them that brushing is an important step in your morning and nightly routine, but it can be an activity that they can then look forward to doing together.

Practice Makes Perfect
When kids practice brushing their doll’s teeth or maybe helping to brush a pet’s teeth it teaches them the importance of oral hygiene and also makes them feel like “brushing experts” who know just how to do it. Another approach would be to have young children practice brushing your teeth. They will find this activity a fun role reversal and can serve as an opportunity to show them how to properly take care of their own teeth.

Personalize Brushing
Young children, especially those with siblings, tend to want to establish their own identity early on by having toys and belongings that are clearly “theirs.” For that reason, one way to get kids excited about brushing their teeth is when they have a toothbrush that is special for them. This could be a toothbrush that’s just their favorite color, one that is battery operated or one that is branded by their favorite movie or TV show. Having their favorite flavor or specially branded toothpaste can also boost excitement around brushing.

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How To Prevent Clenching and Grinding Your Teeth

Stress-or anxiety-induced teeth grinding and jaw clenching is a problem that is extremely common. We can go to our dentist and get prescribed a mouth guard that protects our teeth, but this doesn’t always solve the root of the cause. Many other issues may arise due clenching such as tension headaches, earaches, facial tension, dizziness, Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, and toothaches.

Known as bruxism, the problem of clenching your jaw originates in the masseter muscle. This muscle is the primary jaw muscle that resides between the cheekbone and back corner of the jaw. Pound for pound, the masseter muscle is (debatably) the strongest muscle in the human body when paired with its satellite muscles. It can generate upwards of 150 pounds of bite force. Like every muscle in the human body, the masseter muscle can be massaged, stretched, and treated to help relieve clenching.

Two great at home solutions for this are:

1. Daily Massage: Throughout the day, it is good practice to occasionally massage the muscle. To do so you can use your index finger and middle finger or thumb to feel for knots and apply pressure where needed. Either constant pressure or small, kneading circles work best around the cheekbone notch to relieve the most stress.

2. Daily Stretching: Consider all the ways throughout the day you exercise your mouth whether it be eating, talking, or chewing gum. You always want to stretch after working out and the same goes for the masseter muscle. A good way to do this is to put a cork in it, literally. Bite down on a cork long ways and hold that position for as long as you possibly can. This takes the tightly wound muscle and stretches it out to the point it will feel weird to bite down, but that’s okay! The stranger it feels to bite down, the less likely you will experience jaw grinding and teeth clenching.

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Tips on How to Improve Your Smile for Summer

Summer can be a time of vacationing, breaks from school, BBQs, and a lot of outdoor events. With such a busy social calendar, the summer is a great time to start changing your habits to improve your smile. Below are six easy tips to improve your smile for the summer (or any time of the year!)

1. Schedule a dental check-up: Spring and summer time are the best times to consult with your dentist for upcoming procedures. Since schedules are less hectic and more carefree.
2. Purchase an at-home-teeth-whitening kit: With most store-bought kits offering up to six weeks of daily treatments, summer is a perfect opportunity to get your teeth porcelain white. Used once daily in the morning or after your nightly teeth-brushing session, at-home-teeth-whitening kits make for a quick and easy procedure.
3. Start carrying floss and mouthwash with you: In the summer time, you may find yourself out and about into the wee hours of the morning. It is always handy to have your floss and mouthwash for a quick freshening-up when you don’t have an opportunity to brush your teeth.
4. Use plaque locator products: There are many products on the market from specialized floss, mouthwash, swabs, and tablets to help point out the plaque that you may have missed while brushing your teeth. With these products, you can start identifying the areas you typically miss, and correct your brushing techniques accordingly to remove as much plaque as you can.
5. Purchase a clear retainer for straighter teeth: Whether it is from your dental professional or a take-home kit, clear retainers are always a smart product to begin using at any time. If you get in the habit of wearing it every night, your teeth will remain straight, have less abrasions from grinding, and help keep your bite aligned.
6. Keep clear of sugary soda and sports drinks: Summertime can be filled with drinks that are abrasive for your teeth, like soda, sports drinks, lemonade, and other sugary or acidic beverages. If you reduce consumption of these beverages, your teeth will have a better chance of remaining white, be less prone to cavities, and it will help retain your enamel from dissolving away from acidic products and citrus.

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5 Surprising Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth

There are many surprising and not-so-surprising foods that are bad for your teeth. But what are some foods that are surprisingly good for your teeth? Despite what you might think, these five foods can actually help improve your oral health and brighten your smile.

• Dark Chocolate: Chocolate has always been the patron saint of cavities, but dark chocolate is actually a great snack for your teeth. Dark chocolate has many properties that improve your smile. Not only does it contain tannins, antioxidants that prevent bacteria from forming, but it also neutralizes bad breath microorganisms and contains the chemical compound theobrimine, which can harden tooth enamel. Dark chocolate also contains minimal sugar.
• Cheese: With more than 99 percent of all calcium in the body stored in your bones and teeth, it’s no wonder that products high in calcium would be good for your teeth. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, and it is also able to raise the pH of your mouth to perfect levels.
• Artificial sweetener: Who knew artificial sweetener could actually be good for your teeth! Artificial sweetener in sugar-free gum promotes salivating, which washes away the acids produced by bacteria.
• Kale: Not only does kale contain loads of calcium, it also requires a lot of chewing, which generates saliva and scrubs your teeth like a car wash.
• Strawberries: Strawberries may be red in color but they contain malic acid, which acts as a natural enamel whitener.

With these five foods as part of your daily diet, you can improve your oral health and keep that smile beautifully bright.

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6 Tips for Protecting Your Lips and Face from the Sun

Hopefully you’ve been having a great summer, and have had lots of opportunities to enjoy being outdoors. Our bodies crave being outside—we all know how important it is to get our share of vitamin D.

While you’ve been out, you’ve also hopefully been using plenty of sunscreen and taking other measures to protect your skin from overexposure to the sun.

Too much overexposure can put you at risk for basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that forms on the top layer of skin. Basal cell is a nonmelanoma type of skin cancer—it’s typically not as serious as melanoma skin cancers, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. It can also be hard to notice since it’s slow-growing and often painless.

Some of the more common areas for basal cell to form are on the lips, ears and the top of your head.

If you see your doctor regularly, ask her to check for moles or other skin irregularities. The good news is that most basal cell carcinomas can be cured if they’re caught early, and they almost never spread.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid worry is to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself in the sun. Here are a few tips:

1. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Some people may need a higher rating, so ask your doctor.
2. Don’t wait till you’re outside to put sunscreen on. Apply it a good 30 minutes in advance.
3. Don’t forget your lips! Look for a lip balm with SPF in it, too.
4. Consider where you spend time in the sun. Highly reflective surfaces, like near water or a shiny car, can cause burns more easily. Relaxing in a patch of grass is comparatively less risky.
5. Apply sunscreen even on cool or cloudy days. A lot of people mistakenly think they can’t get burned in the winter or on overcast days. Make sure you’re always protected on the areas where your skin is exposed.
6. Limit your time. It’s easy to get distracted and realize you’ve been in the sun for hours. Take frequent breaks in the shade. It can be refreshing to cool off anyway.

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Beer Can Actually Be Healthy for Your Teeth

The Perils of Losing Baby Teeth

For most, growing up and losing our teeth can be a joyous occasion. It is symbolic of adulthood and comes with the perks of visits by the tooth fairy. But for some, it brings on pure devastation.

For this little girl, the idea of losing her baby teeth elicits unadulterated and adorable agony.

Watch as her parents try to calm her cute plea of resistance:

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12 Teeth-Friendly Foods

Ever wonder if the foods you’re eating are good for your teeth? Odds are you’re more worried about avoiding the foods that may damage or rot your teeth.

Here are a few surprising foods that can actually help improve your smile.

• Milk and Yogurt: High calcium content strengthens teeth and makes the enamel healthier and whiter.

• Pears: Aside from their sweet taste, pears have the capability of neutralizing odor-causing and staining bacteria as well as help wash away food debris with its juicy interior.

• Water: Not only is water the best drink out there for you, it also washes away pigmented food and reduces the acidity in your mouth. It is recommended to drink a sip of water after each time you consume dark colored food and drinks.

• Oranges: Citrus can be very detrimental to your teeth enamel as it strips away the protective coating on your teeth, but in small doses can actually help whiten your teeth by eroding and killing bacteria, plaque and food debris.

• Cheese: While all cheeses contain healthy amounts of calcium, the whiter the cheese, the better it is for your teeth. Goat cheese for instance is a stainless cheese that contains plenty of calcium to strengthen your teeth plus help to prevent any staining.

• Broccoli: Raw broccoli can help keep your teeth looking bright, as the florets of the broccoli will scrub the surface of your teeth without sticking, acting like a natural brush.

• Celery and Carrots: Vegetables with high water content, such as celery and carrots are great for minimizing food debris and stains on your teeth. Not only do they promote saliva production, but they also help strengthen gums.

• Baking Soda: Most toothpastes share the common ingredient, baking soda, which is actually a form of salt. Using baking soda on its own also acts as a mild abrasive that works at scrubbing away plaque and surface stains.

• Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and in this case, the dentist, too. The crispness of apples strengthens gums while the high water content helps wash away plaque, bacteria, and can neutralize acidity.

• Onions: Who would have thought the common bad breath vegetable would also aid in better oral health? Their colorless interior helps prevent any staining while the aftertaste will be sure to make you want to brush right away.

• Seeds and Nuts: Aside from their high protein, vitamins and fat content the abrasiveness of seeds and nuts cleans the surface of teeth by scrubbing plaque and stains.

• Strawberries: Though they may be red, strawberries actually contain malic acid, a natural astringent that helps remove surface stains and discoloration.

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Ever Wondered Why Your Mouth Heals Faster Than The Rest of Your body?

Cutting your mouth happens more times than you’d probably prefer counting. For many, eating croutons or a stray cracker can be a treacherous task. Although it initially causes irritation and pain, it heals in mere hours—faster than an elbow scrape or paper cut. But why is that?

In contrast to the skin tissue on the outside of the body, mouth tissue has a tendency to repair itself faster for numerous reasons. First, the mouth is mostly mucous tissue, therefore it is structurally “simpler” to create and remodel than exterior skin. Another reason is that the head and neck receives a lot of blood supply, so although the wound may appear to bleed more being in such close proximity with the head and neck, it increases the speed in which the blood clots and heals.

So, the next time you have a cut in your mouth, don’t fret; it will heal quickly. And if it is not healing quick enough, there are other ways to help speed up the healing process. Try to swish around salt water to help with seal the wound, or use a black tea bag that contains tannins to help prevent infection.

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Why Preventive Dentistry Really Is Important

Prevention is better than cure – our parents, guardians and teachers taught this to us to ensure we realized the importance of maintaining good health. Preventive dentistry also focuses on preventing dental issues rather than looking at ways to cure them. At the heart of preventive dentistry is the belief that if one follows all the important steps of maintaining good oral hygiene, several dental issues can be prevented.

Why do I need preventive dentistry?
If you speak to any of the dentists in Unionville or the surrounding regions of Markham, they’ll tell you that most of the dental issues that their clients experience result from poor oral hygiene. Failing to brush and floss teeth regularly and skipping dental visits explains the increase in dental emergency cases in Markham. People don’t maintain oral hygiene and ignore their dental health until it creates major issues for them. Instead of relying on a cure to treat dental ailments, preventive dentistry focuses on taking care of one’s teeth so the risk of developing a major disease diminishes.

What does preventive dentistry include?
Preventive dentistry generally includes the following:
Regular brushing and flossing
Healthy diet
Patient education
Fluoride use
Routine dental visits
Injury protection

Let’s get some information on the above-mentioned aspects of preventive dentistry.

Regular brushing and flossing – Brushing your teeth twice everyday and flossing at least once helps remove plaque from the teeth. If you don’t brush or floss regularly, plaque can build up inside your mouth to create tartar – acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. An important thing to remember is that while many people make it a point to brush twice a day, the duration for which they brush is often less than a minute. Most dentists in Markham recommend that one should brush for at least two minutes.

Healthy diet – In addition to regular brushing and flossing, having a healthy diet also plays a major role in preventive dentistry. Eating cheese, chicken, nuts and meat protects tooth enamel while chocolates and carbonated soft drinks increase the risk of tooth decay and gum diseases. Eating a healthy diet not only benefits dental health but also works wonders for your overall health.

Patient education – People who are aware of the consequences of poor oral hygiene are more likely to take their dental health seriously. Educating people through public forums, media and other avenues instils excellent oral hygiene habits and ensures they make an informed decision about their dental health.

Fluoride use – For more than half a century, fluoride has been used as a defense against tooth decay. Markham’s water comes from Lake Ontario and is treated to make it safe for drinking and other public use. Addition of fluoride in Markham’s water works as a preventive measure for the entire community. Fluoride is also present in toothpastes, gels and foams.

Routine dental visits – Many dental problems don’t have any major signs or symptoms until they reach an advanced stage. Therefore, it is important to visit a dentist every six months to detect any problems while they are at a nascent stage. Dentists have the tools and equipment to carry out a complete dental check-up and prevent dental ailments from reaching a serious stage.

Injury protection – Even if you maintain good oral hygiene, an injury suffered due to an accident can seriously affect your dental health. Therefore, it’s important that you take appropriate care to save your teeth from injuries. It is advisable to wear a mouthguard while playing outdoor sports. Wearing a helmet when riding a bike also helps prevent serious injuries.

There are a number of reputable dental services in Markham that teach the importance of preventive dentistry to their patients. There is also a plethora of information available on the internet that you can read to get more information about preventive dentistry. You can do your bit to raise awareness about preventive dentistry by sharing this article with your loved ones.

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