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Stop Summer Drink Choices From Destroying Your Smile

summer drinks woman protect smileIt’s a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the temperature is hot. You may find yourself enjoying it by relaxing at the cottage, at a BBQ or maybe you are on the patio of your favourite restaurant.

Wherever you may find yourself chances are at some point you will be enjoying a cool liquid refreshment, but did you know by choosing some of the most popular summer beverages you could be causing your teeth serious decay?
Unlike eating sweets where on the biting surfaces of teeth we have thicker layers of enamel which acts as protection against decay. Drinking sweetened liquids fortified with sugar, flavoured syrups or honey attacked the teeth in areas where we have the least amount of enamel and thus make us more prone to cavities.

With the hot weather, we have been experiencing this summer people have been turning to liquids such as juice, Ice cappuccinos, soda, fruit smoothies and other drinks that contain high levels of sugar, syrups and honey. This has resulted in a large increase of patients coming in with a number of unforeseen cavities.

So what are some summer drinks you can enjoy without a significant risk of tooth decay? Drinking water with a couple of drops of lemon, orange, a slice of cucumber, or a few berries will help add a little flavour without the excessive amounts of sugar or syrup sweeteners. There are plenty of fruit and vegetable infusion recipes that can be found online and there are infusion recipe books available at most local bookstores during the summer months. It can also be fun to experiment yourself with different combinations to find a flavour that you enjoy!  Just keep an eye on the amount of fruit you are adding as fruit is high in natural sugars. One note of caution that should also be considered when researching infusion recipes or making your own; you will want to watch the amount of lemon juice you use as it has a high acidity level and large amounts consumed on a regular basis will also break down the enamel protecting your teeth.  It is probably safest to stick to 1 – 2 slices or to just a few drops of lemon to your infusions.

Now that you have an idea of what summer drinks are safe the next step is planning! It is all well and good to be aware of the effects that drinks sweetened with sugars and syrups can have on your teeth, but if you are constantly being caught away from home and unprepared you will have limited (if any) convenient choices other than just plain water when looking to quench your thirst! You might find it helpful to invest in a glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle as these types seem to retain less flavour that has been left behind after cleaning; when compared to plastic. Or if you are so inclined there are a number of reusable containers specially designed for infusions that include mesh filters and inserted baskets to hold the fruit or vegetables.  Once you have a reusable container that can travel, you could then prepare your infusion ahead of time even the night before and keep it in the fridge. That way once you are ready to head out your infusion will be as well.  In most cases (depending on the recipe) you should be able to refill your bottle with more water a few times while still retaining flavour. This will provide you with healthy, teeth friendly drink options while you are out enjoying your summer.

Remember it’s important to keep hydrated during these hot summer months but watch those sugar-filled drinks!

Sports Mouthguards – Chipped Teeth and Concussions

sports mouthguard torontoHockey fans! Going back to school is just around the corner so that means it is time for hockey season!  Every season there is a rush to get new equipment and now more than ever mouthguards for hockey are very important.

Not just because they protect against broken and chipped teeth but they are also a major contributor to the prevention of concussions.

Concussions have been getting a lot of media attention lately and with very good reason.  It is important to have your child or future hockey star fitted with a proper mouthguard. They come in many colours, but white guards which can blend in with the ice and red guards which can make your child seem as though they are bleeding at the mouth should be avoided. The true blue colour of the Maple Leaf’s is probably the best choice. Your child is constantly growing and so is the development of their teeth and getting a new mouth guard that fits correctly will provide maximum protection without affecting the proper development of their jaws and teeth.

There are a number of mouthguards available on the market.  Buying a quick one from your local sporting centre might seem an easy fix but it is not as they do not provide the best protection and do not have a custom bite guard made in the dental office. Here at Polar Dental we can provide you with a custom-made guard at a relatively inexpensive price and check your child’s teeth for proper development at the same time.

5 Tips to Take Care of Dental Braces

  1. Clean between brackets! It’s important to clean between your braces brackets, especially underneath the wires, with a wire brush. You can pick up a small wire brush from your dentist.  This helps get off any plaque which might be on your teeth, and it also helps to avoid future cavities and toothaches.
  2. Pick the right foods! Hard foods such as apples, carrots, candies, nuts, and chips can break your brace brackets. They can also be incredibly hard to remove from your braces if they get stuck! It’s best to avoid most hard and chewy foods entirely, as they can be incredibly painful and difficult to deal with. If you break a bracket, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible so that it can be fixed. Also, after getting your braces tightened, it’s best to eat only soft food for a few days. This is important, as your teeth are extra sensitive after tightenings and might hurt a little bit too. Opt for foods that require little to no chewing, such as applesauce or soup.
  3. Be extra careful brushing your teeth! Braces require a little extra maintenance when brushing. Before you start, you’ll need to take off elastics. After that, it’s important to brush for at least two minutes. You should be making round movements with your toothbrush over each individual brace, to get out any leftover food and to ensure your breath smells alright! Be sure to get underneath the wires too.
  4. Use mouthwash! This is important whether you have braces or not, but mouthwash can be really helpful in two ways. First, it makes your breath smell minty and fresh after a long day of eating many different meals and snacks. Second, it removes any other tiny bits of food which might still be in your mouth. Listerine is an excellent mouthwash to start with, and it comes with many different flavours to choose from as well.
  5. Floss! We all know that flossing helps clean your teeth, but with braces it’s even more important to remove those food pieces which might be stuck. Carefully thread the floss underneath and around your braces, and you’re good to go!
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Our governing College, Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) has advised dentists that they strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services should be suspended immediately. Public safety is our number one concern. We need to put our patients’ interests and the safety of the community, first. Ontario has declared a state of emergency, and the Canadian government is strongly urging all Canadians to practice social distancing.

Dental hygiene services in a time of a "pandemic" are not considered emergency or essential services. Our College has advised that we postpone all appointments for Hygiene scaling/cleanings until further notice. We may however, be open for EMERGENCIES. We ask that you call one of our offices to schedule this, and to be pre-screened.

What is the definition of an essential service?

In dentistry, a “true emergency situation” includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we are here for you and want to help. Please call our offices to speak with one of our representatives who will be able to screen and advise you accordingly.  CONSULTATIONS OVER THE PHONE will be available with the Doctor, if needed.

This strong recommendation to suspend non-essential services, is being followed in interest of the public, our patients and our Team. We all need to act in a socially responsible manner. The College will revisit this recommendation in the first week of April. We will continue to keep you up to date.

Stay safe, and healthy.

Drs. Jim Argyropoulos, Robert Polese, Ari Voudouris & Associates