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Good dental habits begin at an early age

Help older kids brush up on oral health

(NC)— Did you know that an estimated 57% of kids aged 6 to 11 years-old  have cavities? That number increases to 59% for teens, but with good oral care, specialists tell us that all children can grow up cavity-free. The habits you help them develop now will last a lifetime, so take a look at these helpful tips:

12-24 Months: Begin regular dental visits by age one. Teach a toddler about dental hygiene when the first teeth come through. Children should get used to holding a toothbrush and should watch others as they brush. Let them practice brushing, but continue brushing their teeth for them. Begin flossing when most of the baby teeth are in.

2-5 Years: Teach young children to use no more than a pea-size amount of toothpaste and make sure they do not eat it. Continue to brush and floss their teeth for them. Avoid sugary sweet treats.

6 + Years: Encourage children to begin flossing. Your dental hygienist will demonstrate proper technique. Continue to supervise brushing and flossing. The surface of your child’s permanent molars may be sealed with a light coating to prevent cavities in the deep fissure and grooves of the teeth. Keep a record of any accidents or falls that could affect the placement or condition of permanent teeth.

More information about oral care is available online at

How to care for your child’s teeth

Healthy smiles for babies and toddlers

baby toddler dental health pic

(NC)—We don’t usually associate cavities or gum disease with infants but in fact, oral diseases begin very early. For example, early childhood caries (cavities) is a form of severe tooth decay in the primary (baby) teeth of children from birth to age 3, and it affects more than 10 per cent of preschool-aged children in Canada. Baby’s first teeth are crucial to healthy adult teeth, and early childhood cavities can lead to much bigger oral health issues later in life.

Reduce the risk and follow these simple care tips with your little one:

• Be a good role model. Keep your own teeth and gums healthy.

• Wipe baby’s mouth and gums with a clean, wet cloth or piece of gauze after feeding.

• Gently clean newly erupted teeth with a small, soft toothbrush.

• Avoid fruit punches and other sweetened drinks in baby bottles, especially before bed.

• Reduce the frequency of nighttime feedings.

• Use only pacifiers with an orthodontic design, and don’t dip it in sugary substances.

•  Avoid transfer of your saliva onto items used by baby, including bottles, cups, pacifiers. Bacteria spreads.

• Rinse baby’s mouth with clear water immediately after any liquid medication is given.

• Check for early warning signs by lifting up baby’s top lip. White, chalky teeth or brown or black stained teeth indicate a problem. Contact your dental professional immediately.

• Gradually introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet. These foods, which require chewing, stimulate saliva flow and help to neutralize acids.

• Begin regular dental visits by age one.

More tips and information about oral health care is available online at

Celebrating National Dental Hygiene Week 2012!

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
St. Francis of Assisi


This year I was able to get out and celebrate National Dental Hygiene Week within the community of Kensington. I had the pleasure of visiting with 4 different West Hillhurst Preschool Classes and boy was it fun! Teeth were counted in English and en francais; we learnt how to brush teeth and gums using Doogan Dog as a trusty but sneezy model,: kids listened with wide eyes and open ears during story time and explanations about what sugar bugs did in their mouth! What an attentive, and happy go lucky audience.

Dental Hygiene Week is a time when Canada recognizes the initiatives of this profession and how it impacts Canadians. It is both a good time and bad time to be a hygienist in 2012; good because of the changes made to the Health Professions Act that gave Canadians more direct access to dental hygiene care and bad because of economic changes that affected  the landscape of once plentiful jobs for us hygienists.

If there is one thing that has not changed, it is the constant need for access to preventive oral health care in this country. I would like to personally thank every hygienist I know who has been instrumental in spearheading these legislative changes that would affect how healthy Canadians mouths could be.  You pioneers and trailblazers are amazing individuals! This is a great time to be a hygienist and it is only going to get better. Lots of faith, hope, and love.



How untreated periodontal disease is linked with diabetes and cardiovascular disease

November is National Diabetes Awareness month in Canada.  Nine million people in Canada are affected by diabetes! That means that every hour of every day there are 20 people diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This spring when I attended the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver, I attended a seminar by Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH, FACE, that opened  up a can of worms for myself and the importance of integrating a diabetes monitoring and screening system as hygienists within the clinic.

The basic way to check and monitor diabetes as a patient and as collaborating health practitioners ( e.g. your hygienist), starts with the “ABC’s”.

A is for A1C- Glycosylated hemoglobin, glycohemoglobin (blood test) can report a blood sugar level average over a period of 2 -3 months. The Canadian Diabetes Association’s recommended level for A1c is below 7%.

B is for blood pressure – high blood pressure can lead to eye disease, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. You may need to change your eating and exercise habits and/or take pills to keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg.

C is for cholesterol – High cholesterol and other fats in the blood can lead to heart disease and stroke so a Lipid Panel or Lipoprotein (blood test)  will help to assess this component.. The Canadian Diabetes Association’s recommended level for total cholesterol is below 200 mg/dl, LDL below 100 mg/dl, HDL above 40 mg/dl in men and above 50 mg/dl in women, and triglycerides below 150 mg/dl.

Untreated periodontal disease is associated with poor glycemic control in diabetes, and is considered the sixth complication of diabetes. For those who have the geek in them to read further about diabetes and is complications from a periodontal disease perspective, I have included a link to an excellent clinical paper on these matters. I am hoping that my next follow up blog this month will discuss C-reactive protein ( an inflammatory marker measured to diagnose cardiovascular disease, a big complication of diabetes). Thanks for reading!

Your friendly neighbourhood hygienist,




Healthy Mouth, Healthy you [video]

View more about how bacteria in your mouth can affect your whole body in this video.

No Obligation consult

Want to know how healthy your mouth is? Book a free, no obligation, consult with one of our Registered Dental Hygienists, by completing this appointment request form.

If the eyes are the window to the soul then the mouth is the window to the body!

There are more reasons to brush and floss than just for fresh breath, and less cavities! This article from MayoClinic’s website discusses certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and their link to the bacteria in your mouth. Good information to chew on:)