13 Secrets Your Dentist Wants You to Know
Don't dodge the dentist's chair! Canadian dental experts weigh in on how to make your next checkup as comfortable as possible—and keep your teeth pearly white in between.
Canadian dental facts for healthier teeth and better oral hygiene
It turns out soda isn’t the only beverage that takes a toll on teeth. “Not only do fruit juices, energy drinks and sports drinks contain a lot of sugar, the acidity can cause significant decay,” says Dr. Mitch Taillon, past president of the Canadian Dental Association. To protect your enamel, don’t brush your teeth for 30 minutes after downing these drinks (or better yet, avoid them altogether).
You only need to floss the teeth you plan to keep
Patients who don’t floss are missing out on cleaning over a third of the surface of their pearly whites. Find out the flossing mistakes everyone makes.
Dentists can screen for more than just cavities
An estimated 5,400 Canadians were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2020, according to the Ontario Dental Association, and the disease can be hard to spot in its early stages. Tell your dentist about any persistent sores, discoloured patches or difficulty chewing or swallowing.
Here are 20 symptoms you should never ignore.
A dental cleaning isn’t just a glorified tooth brushing
Only a professional can remove tartar or calculus, a cement-like form of hardened plaque.
Here’s expert advice on how to stop grinding your teeth at night.
Periodontitis—also known as gum disease—may increase your risk of heart disease
Oral exams at least once a year are a must.
Find out how it’s actually possible to reverse heart disease.
Staff are trained in non-pharmacological techniques to make your visit less stressful
“Giving my patients control gives them more confidence,” says Taillon. “No matter what I’m doing, if they raise their hand, I’ll stop.”
This is exactly how long you need to brush your teeth.
Dentists aren’t judging you
They’ve definitely seen worse teeth than yours. Delaying or skipping dental visits will only compound the problem, requiring more invasive and costly treatments later on.
They’re not trying to swindle you, either
“Costs depend on the complexity of the treatment, whether you’re in an urban area, the technology available and your dentist’s level of specialization,” says Taillon.
Baby teeth need fillings, too
It’s a myth that cavities in young children’s teeth don’t matter. Neglecting oral health in the early years can lead to serious problems with permanent teeth, gums and even speech.
Never ignore these signs of a potential dental emergency.
Bleaching your teeth doesn’t weaken them
Peroxide can cause some temporary sensitivity, but if bleaching is done properly, it won’t affect the integrity of your enamel, according to the Canadian Dental Association.
Use these tips to protect your teeth from coffee stains.
Three-quarters of Canadians visit a dentist at least once a year
Here’s more good news: childhood tooth decay has decreased threefold in the last 40 years.
Here’s how to choose the best toothbrush for you.
No dental insurance? No problem
If you’re one of nearly a third of Canadians without dental insurance, you don’t have to wait until you end up in the emergency room for tooth pain. If you’re a senior or have young children, contact your provincial dental association to find out if you’re eligible for free dental-care programs. Taillon also recommends checking out dental schools for affordable checkups, cleanings and even restorative work. Fees can set you back as little as $15 a filling.
Find out how often you should replace your toothbrush (and what could happen if you don’t).
The field is physically and psychologically taxing
Like other health care professionals, dentists are prone to perfectionism and are known to prioritize the needs of patients over their own. It’s no surprise, then, that dentists report nearly double the rate of stress as the general population. Still, Taillon says the rewards are worth it. “What we do can make a huge difference in patients’ lives.
Now that you’ve got these Canadian dental facts under your belt, check out the signs of disease your teeth can reveal.