Northern Dental Care blog covers topics from dental health to overall health and well-being. Please feel free to share posts you find useful.

You Only Get Two Sets of Teeth

Is it okay to care less about the primary or baby teeth since they’ll eventually be replaced by adult teeth?

Southdown Dental

A person has only two sets of teeth. First is the primary and second is the adult teeth. Both have their purpose. If they get lost prematurely, this can lead to oral health issues, such as an improper bite or bone loss.

A baby’s first teeth usually start to erupt during their 6th month, beginning with the central teeth at the bottom. The timeline varies per child. Regardless, it’s crucial to keep the baby teeth until the adult teeth take their place.

Why Keeping the Baby Teeth is Crucial

The baby teeth secure the spot for adult teeth. When a child loses a tooth, adjacent teeth can shift into the empty space. When the adult tooth starts to come in, there may not be enough room to accommodate it. As a result, it can erupt in an awkward position.

If a child loses a tooth due to cavities, injuries, or an accident, talk to your dentist about using a space maintainer. This will help keep the spot open for the adult tooth and keep the other teeth from occupying the space.

The permanent or adult teeth usually begin to erupt around the age of 6, but this can also vary from one person to another. It replaces the baby tooth by dissolving its root until it falls out on its own.

An adult tooth will still take a few years to mature. On its early stages, it is not fully mineralized yet. Getting fluoride can help strengthen it. Lack of fluoride can increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay.

Invest in Preventative Dental Care

When you go to the dental office, the first goal of the dentists and their team is to provide you with preventive care.

Ensuring good oral hygiene practices at home and maintaining dental appointments are key. If your area does not have fluoridated water, your dentist may recommend getting supplemental fluoride.

With that said, please take care of your baby’s teeth. Prevent premature tooth loss at all costs. When you’re a child, missing a tooth may not be a big deal but the truth is, this can have a significant impact in your mouth. The remaining teeth are pressured to work harder, shouldering the job left by the missing tooth. This can result in premature wear.

Missing teeth can also affect your bite or how your teeth meet together. If you would like to have a tooth removed, you’ll need to talk to your dentist about getting a replacement to prevent potential oral health care issues.

Take care of both your baby and adult teeth. You’re getting no more than these two sets in your lifetime.

By |2020-04-02T15:15:30+00:00May 22nd, 2020|blog|0 Comments

Why Do I Have Dry Mouth?

Does your mouth feel dry when you wake up or even during the day?

Southdown Dental

Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can also cause bad breath. But you don’t have to endure it for long. Your dental team can help you manage to treat it.


Dry mouth or xerostomia is caused by the lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is important as it helps neutralize acids in the mouth, control bacterial growth, and flush down food debris. Saliva also helps make eating and chewing enjoyable experiences.


Dry Mouth Causes


  • You may experience dry mouth as you age. This can be attributed to the changes in the body and medications you take, to name a few.


  • Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, can leave the mouth feeling dry.


  • Health conditions. Having illnesses such as eating disorders or a weakened immune system can also cause dry mouth.


  • Smoking. Smoking tobacco or cigarettes can also trigger dry mouth.


  • When there isn’t enough moisture in the mouth, dry mouth can occur.


Dry Mouth and Your Oral Health


When you have dry mouth, you become more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and mouth ulcers. Saliva helps keep the mouth clean and also aids in food digestion.


How to Prevent Dry Mouth


  • Change medications. Talk to your physician or dentist about changing your prescriptions.
  • Use products to moisturize your mouth. Consider using products that restore and help maintain moisture in the mouth.
  • Swish with a fluoride rinse. Look out for the alcohol-free variants that are safe for daily use. Check the recommended products by the Canadian Dental Association.
  • Chew sugar-free gums. Increase salivary flow by chewing sugar-free gums and to also help keep the mouth clean.
  • Brush and floss daily. Brush three times a day to prevent plaque from building up. Floss to remove debris below the gum line.

The treatment for dry mouth depends on its cause. If you feel you have a dry mouth, talk to your doctors. The tips listed above may help relieve dry mouth, but they won’t resolve it for good.


By |2020-04-02T15:09:39+00:00April 22nd, 2020|blog|0 Comments

What Do I Do About Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone but it’s most common among those ages 20-40.

It starts when the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel, erodes. The pigmented layer beneath it, or the dentin, becomes exposed, which then results in increased sensitivity.

Southdown Dental

Possible Causes of Enamel Erosion

  • Bacteria feed off sugary food and then produce acids that beat down the enamel. This leads to the thinning of the enamel and exposure of the dentin.
  • Receding gums. Tartar not removed on tooth surfaces may cause receding gums. The gums protect the teeth against bacteria. Once they weaken, they become loose and form pockets where bacteria invade. This can also trigger tooth sensitivity.
  • Brushing too hard. Aggressive brushing and using a brush with hard bristles can also cause the enamel to wear away.
  • Tooth whitening. Getting your teeth whitened may cause sensitivity but this should not last. Let your dentist know if you already have sensitive teeth prior to the procedure.
  • Tooth grinding. When you grind or clench your teeth, this can also erode the enamel and damage your teeth. This can be difficult to diagnose as it occurs while you’re asleep. Your dentist can check for signs that you may be grinding your teeth. They can also customize a nightguard to protect your enamel.

Tips to Relieve Sensitivity

Sensitivity can cause extreme pain in your teeth. The level of discomfort varies. Here are some ways on how you can manage and feel better.

  • Take note of your triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
  • Talk to your dentist about using fluoride toothpaste or toothpaste types specifically made for sensitive teeth.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Don’t forget to floss between teeth and below the gum-line.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or switch to an electric toothbrush. Spend at least two minutes to cover all areas of the mouth, including your tongue.
  • Don’t brush right after a meal as your teeth are highly vulnerable to acid attacks at this time. Wait at least an hour.
  • Stay on top of your routine dental visits.

If your tooth sensitivity persists and only gets worse, contact your doctor for possible treatments. Don’t let sensitivity get in the way of you enjoying your daily life.

By |2020-04-02T15:02:21+00:00March 22nd, 2020|blog|0 Comments

Myths and Facts about Cavities

Here we clear up the most common myths and facts about the cause of cavities.

Sugar Is the Prime Cause of Cavitiessouthdown dental

Myth. Cavity causing bacteria cause cavities, specifically streptococcus mutants. When you ingest carbohydrates the bacteria in the oral cavity also like to eat them as well, the by-product of this digestion by the bacteria is acid. It is the acid in the mouth that can break down the hardest structure in the human body-enamel. Once the acid penetrates the hard out enamel, an initial cavity has begun and can become much larger over time. Saliva and fluoride are both important factors in the mouth that can help buffer the acid and also remineralize the tooth structure before an initial cavity turns into a large one. Continual snacking on carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks throughout the day put you at higher risk for dental decay vs. regular meals. It is the regular feeding of oral bacteria that is harmful, water is recommended throughout the day instead of coffees, teas or pop which have added sugar or milk. Foods that should be limited to mealtimes include crackers, chips, rice, pasta, potatoes, milk, juice, bread and anything else with sugar/carbohydrate content.


All Fillings Eventually Need Replacing

Myth. A silver or white fillings needs to be replaced only if it breaks, a cavity forms around it or if it is leaking. If a filling is stable and serving the purpose it should be left alone. All fillings have a life expectancy, most do not last a lifetime. How long your filling lasts depends on each individual’s oral factors such as oral hygiene habits and grinding/clenching habits. Good oral hygiene with daily brushing, flossing, rinsing and wearing a splint if you grind/clench may help prolong the life of your fillings.

Cavities Always Occur Only Between Teeth

Fact. Cavities can start anywhere on the tooth where bacteria are left. If you leave bacterial plaque on the teeth in areas you are unable to brush or floss a cavity can start. Besides in between the teeth, a common area for dental decay to occur is on the deep pits and fissures on the biting surface of the teeth. Dental decay that occurs between the teeth are typically due to a lack of regular flossing, as you are leaving these areas untouched as the toothbrush cannot reach these areas to clean.

Cavities Are the Only Reason for Root Canals

Myth. Root canals are needed for teeth that have damaged and/or an infection in the pulp of the tooth (where the nerve resides). Cavities that are left and not treated can lead to needing a root canal, but other causes such as fractures, cracks and trauma to teeth can cause damage to the nerve which may also necessitate a root canal. Severe clenching or grinding may also damage the nerves to the teeth to the point they need a root canal.

Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities

Fact. Definitely! Dental decay and gum disease are both caused by different types of bacteria. You need to remove these bacteria from the mouth in order to facilitate health and prevent disease. It is recommended to brush 3x a day for 2 minutes preferably with a high quality electric toothbrush, floss once a day and rinse daily. It is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities and fluoride is naturally antibacterial as well! Antimicrobial mouthwashes reduce bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. If you are diligent with daily care at home your incidence of cavities and gum disease will be reduced.


By |2019-11-28T19:16:47+00:00February 22nd, 2020|blog|0 Comments

What do I do about receding gums?

Gums should fit snugly around the tooth. However, there are instances when they wear away and recede. The roots of the teeth have no protective coating, unlike the crowns. When gums recede, the roots become exposed.

Receding gums can cause pain, increased sensitivity, and infection. Here are some tips to prevent it from progressing.


  1. Maintain good oral hygiene habits. This is the simplest way to slow down gum recession. Be sure to floss between the teeth and below the gum line at least once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth at least twice per day. If you’re having difficulties using a manual toothbrush, switch to an electric toothbrush.


  1. Improve your brushing techniques. Brush gently, making sure to cover all areas of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces. Use small strokes as you brush back and forth. Hold your toothbrush in a vertical position when brushing the inner sides of the teeth. And spend at least two minutes every brushing session.


  1. Use a custom mouthguard. If you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, consider investing in a custom mouthguard at the dental office. This appliance can help protect your gums against the damaging effects of teeth grinding. A mouthguard can help distribute pressure across the jaw and prevent your top and bottom teeth from hitting each other. Unlike store-bought options, a custom mouthguard fits and works better.


  1. Have your dentures checked. If you’re using dentures, take them to your dentist for a check. Over time, dentures may no longer fit as comfortably as the bone, gums, and jaw alignment also change. They’re also subject to natural wear and tear. Ensuring your dentures are a good fit for your mouth will also help prevent gum recession.
  2. See your dentist regularly. Be sure to keep up with your routine dental appointments. Your dentist will be able to detect early signs of receding gums and assess any dental work you have had.

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist regularly can help prevent, stop, or slow down gum recession. Talk to your dentist today about tips on treating any gum issues you may have. Keep your gums in good condition to keep your teeth in place.

By |2019-11-28T19:11:58+00:00January 22nd, 2020|blog|0 Comments

I’m afraid of the dentist but I know something is wrong

Fear of the dentist is common. If your anxiety stops you from going to the dental office, even if you feel that something is wrong, consider these tips.


Talk to a dentist.

It may sound counterintuitive, but your dentist and their team are there to help. They understand that some patients feel uncomfortable about dental visits.


If you have been avoiding dental appointments, ask your contacts for recommendations. You may have friends or relatives with dental fears, yet are able to visit their dentist regularly.


Once you find someone that you feel comfortable with, talk to them about what makes you feel anxious. Think of your first visit as an opportunity to meet the staff and have a feel of the office environment.


Choose an early appointment.

Prevent yourself from dwelling on your fears. Choose the earliest appointment so you don’t spend the entire day thinking about it.


Don’t feel pressured about doing any treatment on your first visit. If it helps, get someone to accompany you. Your dentist and their team members won’t mind if it’ll make you feel more comfortable.


Learn about sedation options.

Your dentist may recommend certain sedation options so you can receive the treatment you need. They will also work with you in creating a custom treatment plan.


You can start with simple procedures that you need, such as fillings, and then work your way up to more extensive ones.


Establish a sign with your dentist so they’ll know when you want the procedure to stop. Your dental team wants to ensure you’re comfortable and will help you feel more in control.


Think about other things.

If the thought of being in the dental chair makes you feel uneasy, think about other matters while waiting for your name to be called.


Play virtual games, listen to your favourite music, or talk to your friends about a holiday trip or get-together plans.


Manage Your Fears with Help from Your Dental Team

The more you get to know your dental team and once you have already established trust and rapport with them, the easier it’ll be to show up for your appointments.


The longer you delay that dental visit, the more serious an oral health issue can get. Remember, it’s okay to tell your dentist that you’re nervous.  So don’t let your fears keep you from going to the dental office, especially when you feel that something is wrong.

By |2019-11-22T18:01:11+00:00December 22nd, 2019|blog|0 Comments

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a common gum disease characterized by swelling and redness of the gingiva. Gingiva is the gum tissue surrounding the base of the teeth.


Gingivitis is caused by the body’s response to bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. Bacteria naturally exist in the mouth. Some are good and some are bad. The bad bacteria can spread with poor oral hygiene.


Other factors can trigger gingivitis but for bacteria-related cases, the problem is the plaque that sticks to the tooth. Plaque contains bacteria and food debris. When not removed, it irritates the gums and as a response, the body starts to fight the bacteria.


When you notice bleeding, tenderness, and redness in your gums, that’s a sign your body is attempting to beat down harmful bacteria. Don’t panic when you see blood when you brush. Gingivitis is reversible. And this shouldn’t keep you from brushing and flossing.


Some stop brushing and flossing thinking this could only cause the gums to bleed more. But when gingivitis starts, the more you need to start paying closer (and not less) attention to your dental care habits.


Risk Factors for Gingivitis


Aside from gingivitis, other possible reasons for bleeding gums include hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstrual or post-menopausal cycles. At these times, the mouth can become extra sensitive.


Those diagnosed with diabetes and other diseases are also more susceptible to gingivitis. Taking certain medications can also increase your risk of developing gum disease.


How to Treat and Prevent Gingivitis


Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is key.


  • Brush three times a day for at least two minutes at each time.
  • Floss daily as well to clean between teeth and below the gumline.
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Drink water more often, especially after meals.
  • See your dentist every six months.


Some are more prone to developing tartar. Talk to your dentist about this so you can be advised about the right frequency for your dental hygiene appointments. You may need to visit the dental office more often to get rid of plaque not removed by daily brushing and flossing and keep them from maturing.

By |2019-11-22T17:53:33+00:00November 22nd, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Does vitamin deficiency affect my oral health?

Vitamin deficiency in the body can also affect your oral health. Should you notice something unusual with your mouth, that could be a sign you need more of certain vitamins.

If you feel your teeth are getting weaker, this can be a sign that you need more calcium. Calcium is present in dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese. It can also be derived from salmon and sardines. Eating more leafy greens and cereals can as well help increase calcium in your body.


If you have inflamed gums you may have a vitamin deficiency in the body and you may need more magnesium. Like calcium, magnesium also helps strengthen and build the tooth enamel. These two work together to increase resistance against acid attacks.


The more calcium your body absorbs, the more magnesium you’ll also require. You can obtain magnesium from dark leafy vegetables, bananas, avocados, fish, and nuts, among many others.


Another vitamin working with calcium to strengthen your teeth and bones is Phosphorus. It can be found in eggs, nuts, meat, dairy, and whole grains. You can also get it from seafood such as sardines, tuna, salmon, and shrimp.


Tooth loss and severe gum bleeding can also indicate vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C helps strengthen gums and accelerate healing. You can get vitamin C from spinach, citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, and potatoes.


Lack of vitamin B can cause sores, redness, and glossiness in your tongue. Be sure to add lean ground beef, poultry, almonds, bananas, and potatoes to your diet to increase the supply of vitamin B.


If you’re missing vitamin A, your mouth may feel dry and white patches may also appear. Vitamin A is beneficial for the mouth as it keeps mucous membranes healthy. Vitamin A can be sourced from poultry, meat, and dairy products.


Maintain a healthy diet so you can also ensure good oral health. If you experience any issues mentioned above, let your dentist know. An examination is necessary to diagnose the issue and identify the right treatment method.

By |2019-11-22T17:48:10+00:00October 29th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Food and Beverages That Can Damage Your Smile

What you eat matters for your oral health. To minimize plaque buildup in your mouth and avoid dental emergencies, you need to pay more attention to your food choices, and that includes snacks and beverages. With that, take note of these items that can ruin your smile.


Hard candies. They look and taste good, but they aren’t teeth-friendly. Too much sugar can draw cavity-causing bacteria in. Plus, munching these treats can also lead to a cracked or broken tooth. If you’re to have some, be sure to drink water afterward. And don’t forget to floss and brush your teeth before ending the day to prevent plaque buildup.


Canned fruits. Fruits are good but it isn’t always the same for the canned version. Canned fruits are high in sugar, especially those that come with syrup. If you’re craving for fruits, pick the fresh ones instead. Throw in crunchy choices, such as apple and pear. They’re rich in water and fiber and chewing on them help stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth.


Ice. It’s not food per se but some people enjoy chewing on it. Chewing on ice can be dangerous for the teeth not because it can cause cavities or plaque, but because it can be too hard and cause chipping or cracking. Apply ice to relieve swelling but don’t put it in your mouth, like a snack.


Coffee and tea. These beverages have a lot of benefits, but that is when they’re taken in pure form. Adding too much sugar to your coffee and tea isn’t good for the teeth. More so, if you’re taking several cups a day. Bacteria feed on sugar and produces acid that attacks the tooth enamel. While there’s saliva to counter this, it might not be able to keep up if there are excessive sugar and acid in the mouth. These beverages can also cause tooth staining. After having coffee or tea, make it a habit to drink water too.


Sports drinks. Sports drinks can be beneficial but they can also pose harm to your teeth. They’re loaded with sugars that can cause cavities. Instead of hydrating with sports drinks, choose water instead. Then, you won’t have to be cautious about how much you’ve already had.


Sticky food. Dried fruits and chocolates taste great and it can be hard to give them up. You don’t have to entirely, but you need to ensure good oral hygiene habits. These two can be sticky and when left on tooth surfaces for too long, they can attract bacterial growth and result in cavities. The better alternative is to have fresh fruits and water for your drink.


Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration and other oral and health issues. Drink moderately. If there is too little saliva production in the mouth, this can result in tooth decay and unpleasant breath.


Crunchy food. Potato chips are hard to resist. They’re tasty but they’re also starchy too. Starchy food can cause plaque buildup if not removed from the teeth. They can also get stuck in tight spaces between teeth. Minimize intake and when you do indulge in them, always flush down with water. Floss and brush properly too and stay on top of your dentist appointments.


Popcorn. Some patients report a cracked or chipped tooth due to popcorn. Husks can also get into tight spaces between teeth. If you’re having popcorn, beware of hard kernels and husks. Or if possible, have another snack.


Switching to a balanced diet is easier said than done. For a start, moderation will be helpful. If you have particular oral health condition or needs, your dental team may also be able to advise you further on food that you should avoid and those that you’ll need more of.


If you have dental-related questions you want to ask a dentist  please contact our team.




By |2019-11-22T17:47:49+00:00September 22nd, 2019|blog|0 Comments

What is a Black Triangle and How Do You Treat It?

Black triangles, also known as open gingival embrasures, form between the two front teeth. Not all gaps between teeth are unhealthy. Some can occur naturally, such as diastema.

Black triangles are called such as you can see the dark space behind the teeth. There are more reasons why they occur. Listed below are some of them:


  • Receding gums
  • Gum injury
  • Bone loss
  • Aggressive flossing and brushing
  • Tooth infections
  • Poor dental work


Having gaps between teeth can impact your oral health. Food debris can get stuck, attract bacterial growth, and result in gum inflammation. While there are patients that are happy with their gap tooth, some aren’t. If you would like to fix your black triangles, your dental team can help.


Ways to Address Black Triangles

If black triangles are left untreated, they can worsen and cause the gums to recede further. If the black triangle is minor or small, it can help to improve your oral hygiene habits. Don’t miss your routine hygiene and checkups so your dental team can monitor the status of your teeth.


If the problem involves gum issues or periodontal diseases, your dentist may refer you to a specialist for treatment. You can also look into dental veneers and dental bonding to correct the issue. The empty space will be covered using a material that’s color-matched to your tooth.


Can You Prevent Black Triangles?

Black triangles, per se, can’t be avoided as some people are predisposed to them. You may have black triangles if your gum tissues are thin or you have triangular-shaped teeth. However, there are ways on how you can reduce the risk of gum recession and gum diseases.


By maintaining good oral hygiene habits and looking after your mouth, you can keep your gums in good condition. If there’s anything unusual with your gums or mouth, such as increased sensitivity, excessive bleeding, or swelling, don’t be shy to discuss it with your dentist.


Which Dental Treatment Should You Choose to Improve Your Smile

Here at Altima Port Hope Dental, we let our patients decide which treatment they want to proceed with.


If you’re concerned about your black triangle, we can examine your mouth and recommend suitable options. But, you’ll never be obligated to undergo treatments.


Our team of dental professionals helps you achieve the smile you want, when you’re ready and at your own pace.


So, are you ready to see a dentist today? Contact us to schedule an appointment.

By |2019-08-02T13:20:06+00:00August 15th, 2019|blog|0 Comments