The Problem I Have With Whitening Toothpaste…

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Whitening Toothpaste

More and more, people are chasing after that bright white Hollywood smile. It’s no wonder. Pick your favourite celebrity, or any celebrity these days, and chances are they have a sparkling white smile. We are constantly being bombarded with ads featuring 3D or Optic or Iceberg or Fill-in-the-adjective White! And I get it – we all want to feel confident about our smiles. We want them to look their best. Consequently, more people are searching for a cheap and easy option for achieving this. The most obvious choice people are turning to is whitening toothpaste, and there are heaps of them on the market these days to choose from.

Whitening toothpastes are designed to remove surface stains from your teeth on a daily basis. How? They use abrasive particles to scrub and clean the surface of your enamel, getting rid of the stain while brushing. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming) If only it were that simple.

First, I should mention that the efficacy of whitening toothpastes has been met with mixed reviews. While I believe products should do what they claim to do, that is not the main problem I have with these products. I don’t actually even want to discuss if they do in fact whiten your teeth.

My biggest issue is that they may be causing more harm to teeth and gums than people realize. Because they are more abrasive than regular toothpastes, over time, they can actually wear down and cause damage to the enamel, which is the hard, protective outer layer of your tooth. This can dramatically increase tooth sensitivity and even the potential of getting cavities. And thin enamel, ironically, can even make the teeth look darker or yellower. The abrasiveness of whitening toothpaste can also increase gum recession. What people may not realize is that once the damage to the enamel is done, there is nothing you can do to easily fix it.

Not all toothpastes are created equal; some are less abrasive than others. If you are concerned about the colour of your teeth, you would be better off to use a lower abrasion toothpaste along with special whitening products. That way, you can get the white teeth you want without potentially irreversibly damaging your teeth in the process.

If you have a question regarding your current toothpaste, ask you dental professional to shed some light on which products are best suited for you.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

New and Improved Website

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To stay current and to make things easier for our patients, we have made some changes to our website! If you’ve visited our website before, the first thing you’ll notice is that the overall look has changed. Visually, the layout is very simple and clean, making it easier to navigate and read. Previously, you may have had issues viewing our page from your mobile devices. Now, we have a sleek new responsive website that will be easy to view on any of your devices, including your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Yay!

We’ve also made some changes to our online booking. To better serve you, we now ask you for your preferred time for appointment, what the nature of your appointment is (check-up, cleaning, filling, etc.), and the best time to reach you. This way, we can better find times in our schedule that work for you. You can still call us to book an appointment if you’d prefer, and we strongly encourage calling if it’s an emergency, as in that case we’ll try to see you ASAP.

As before, on our website you’ll find our comprehensive list of services we provide with explanations for each. There’s our bio page where you can “meet” and learn about each member of the ThirtyTwo team. You’ll also find our community involvement page, which touches on Homeless Connect and the KIA trips our team has taken part in, and our Q&A page. You can see pictures of our office and even take a virtual tour. And you can, of course, find all of our contact information there as well.

Not only can you access our blog from the website, but there are also links to our Facebook and Google pages, where you can follow us, read, or even write your own reviews (hint hint, wink wink).

Happy surfing!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Introducing OraVerse®

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When new dental products come onto the market, dentists are usually the only ones who get really excited about them. However, this new product might get our patients more excited than us!

Show of hands: Who enjoys the feeling of being frozen? Let’s be honest, being frozen is the worst. You can’t eat. You can’t speak without slurring. You drool. It’s embarrassing, and there’s always the potential of biting your lip or tongue, causing injury. Or what about the important work presentation you have at 1:00 p.m., and you’re just hoping your freezing has come out by then. Most people can’t wait for their dental freezing to come out. So what if I told you we could shorten the time by half! OraVerse® claims to do just that.

OraVerse® is an anaesthesia reversal drug that has actually been used in the U.S. for a number of years, and is now slowly making its way up to Canada. It is administered the same way anaesthetic is. Once your dental procedure is complete, your dentist injects the reversal agent into the same area where the anaesthetic was placed (the good news is that you shouldn’t feel this injection, since you should still be frozen in that area). Clinical trials have shown that patients who received OraVerse® regained normal sensation and function twice as fast (or even faster) as those without it. There are very few possible side effects – the most common negative side effect was having a bit more soreness around the injection site due to the additional injection. Patients should know that no dental plan will cover this procedure, so there is a small fee that patients would have to pay for themselves, but there’s no question that some things are just worth it!

So my question is “Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

What on Earth is Gum Disease?

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Gum Disease

A lot people wonder, “Why do I need to get my teeth cleaned? Is it really that important?” The short answer is YES! Getting your teeth cleaned on a regular basis is important, not only for your oral health, but your overall health as well.

So what exactly is gum disease?

It is an infection of your gums and supporting tissues that evolves over time. Gum disease includes two stages: a reversible stage and an irreversible stage.

The initial phase of gum disease is called gingivitis and is reversible. Gingivitis is identified by bleeding gums and tender, red, swollen gums. Gingivitis generally develops when plaque and tartar sit on the teeth and infect the gums. A professional cleaning and daily brushing and flossing can reverse the effects of gingivitis, leaving you with a healthy mouth. Brushing and flossing can remove soft plaque, but scaling is needed to remove hard tartar from the teeth.

The second stage of gum disease is called periodontal disease, which is irreversible. Periodontal disease is classified as Early, Moderate or Advanced. The signs of periodontal disease are bone loss, moving teeth, exposed roots, and possible tooth loss. The second stage of gum disease develops when the first stage – the reversible stage – is left untreated. The infection, that started in the gums, spreads into the supporting tissue and bone around the teeth, leading to loss of bony support. Once the process of bone loss starts, you cannot grow the bone back. Moreover, the progression of bone loss can continue if left untreated.

This is where the importance of dental cleanings comes in. With the help of frequent, regular dental hygiene visits, and excellent home care, you can stop the infection and prevent further bone loss. “But I don’t have bone loss,” you may say. “Why do I need to get another cleaning?” Regular dental hygiene care is a preventative therapy to ensure patients do not develop periodontal disease. The best and most effective treatment of gum disease is PREVENTION. If we can prevent a patient from losing bony support, we can ensure they will not develop periodontal disease. The reason why the second stage of gum disease is considered irreversible is because once you develop periodontal disease, you have it for life. The damage from the infection to your bone cannot be reversed. The only thing we can do is prevent further damage with regular hygiene visits, which includes scaling and root planing. This is why prevention is key to treating gum disease. So be sure to come in every 6-12 months and see your hygienist! I’m sure you’ll have a new appreciation for why she asks about brushing and flossing every time!

Dental Hygienist Alia

Canada’s Favourite Dental Hygienist

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THIDEN - Judy Clarke blog

Right now, there is a contest running for “Canada’s Favourite Dental Hygienist”. It is a nationwide contest looking for someone who exemplifies qualities that make an outstanding hygienist. Have no fear; ThirtyTwo Dental has found the perfect candidate – our very own full-time hygienist, Judy Clarke!

We wanted to nominate Judy to win this contest for numerous reasons, some of which include her professionalism and dedicated work ethic. In addition to being a well-respected member of our team, Judy is an amazing person who deserves recognition for all her hard work. She is kind, compassionate, caring and very generous. She is always willing to lend a hand to help anyone who needs it. Help us show Judy how much we appreciate her by voting for her as “Canada’s Favourite Dental Hygienist”.

You can vote by clicking on the link below. You will be able to view the bio of Judy and cast your vote! Be sure to fill out all the details on the form, and please leave a kind review of Judy when voting. The judges will take your comments into consideration when choosing the winner. The deadline for voting is June 30, 2015!

Canada’s Favourite Dental Hygienist Contest

The entire staff at ThirtyTwo Dental extends our sincerest gratitude to you for supporting our endeavor to recognize Judy. Thank you!

The ThirtyTwo Dental Team

The Worst Foods for Staining Your Teeth

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The Worst Food For Staining Your Teeth

We all know how important a bright, white smile is. And while we all know that a daily routine of brushing and flossing is key to keeping those pearly whites white, there are certain foods to keep in mind that can actually stain your teeth. Actually, many of the worst “foods” are actually beverages.

Basically, anything that can stain a white tablecloth can also stain your enamel, and the more intensely coloured a food is, the more staining potential it has. The colour of these foods and beverages comes from chromogens – highly pigmented molecules that latch onto the enamel of your teeth to cause stains.

The acidic level of the food or beverage is another factor to consider. When your teeth are exposed to acid, it softens the enamel and allows the stain to penetrate more deeply into the tooth. So foods that are highly-pigmented AND acidic are likely to cause stain. Finally, if a food is high in tannins – a food compound that increases the choromogens’ adherence to tooth enamel – it boosts a food staining ability. So foods that are highly-pigmented, acidic, AND full of tannins…well, you get the idea.

Here’s a list of the worst offenders (and I do apologize about No. 1 on the list):

  1. Red wine: Ding, ding, ding. This one scores high on all the categories listed above. Interestingly enough, white wine, due to its acidity, contributes to staining as well. If you were to drink white wine and follow it by eating/drinking something that’s intensely pigmented, it makes your teeth more susceptible to picking up that color. (That goes for anything that’s acidic).
  2. Tea: Not only is tea highly-pigmented, it’s also rich in tannins. Note: herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain than black teas.
  3. Coffee: Definitely a major culprit for most of us, but believe it or not, it may not be as bad as tea is for staining. Coffee is high in chromogens, but lower in tannins.
  4. Cola: This is one that people may not generally think of, but it’s chromogen-rich and VERY acidic.
  5. Sports drinks: Mostly due to their high-acidity, they soften the enamel and set the stage for staining.
  6. Berries: If you eat a lot of intensely-coloured fruits, your teeth can take on their coloring.
  7. Sweets: Candies, popsicles, gum, etc. that contain food colouring agents can easily stain your teeth. Just think, if your tongue turns green from eating a hard candy, that same colour can stain your teeth.

However, many of these foods (not including soda, sports drinks or candy) have many health benefits and are high in antioxidants, so you may not want to eliminate these foods from your diet completely. Enjoy everything in moderation. You can use straws to limit the exposure of certain drinks in your mouth. And you should avoid swishing or holding things in your mouth too long – the longer foods/drinks stay in contact with your teeth, the more chance they have to stain them. Also, try rinsing with water afterwards. In fact, it’s best to hold off brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after eating acidic foods, since brushing can be too abrasive against the softened enamel.

If you suffer from stained teeth, don’t worry. Ask your dental professional about different whitening options to get rid of the stain and restore your dazzling smile.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

My “Not-So-Related-To-Easter” Easter Blog: A Discussion About Causes And Treatment For Dry Mouth

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Dry mouth

Sometimes I try to relate my blogs to whatever’s happening at the moment. This week, trying to think of a topic, my train of thought went something like this: Easter Bunny…Cottontail…Cottonmouth…Ah ha, dry mouth!

Dry mouth isn’t something that just happens when your mouth’s been open too long. Dry mouth, aka xerostomia, is a condition that people suffer from due to a decrease in the amount of saliva they produce. Without proper lubrication in the mouth, these individuals are susceptible to many different problems. In milder cases, it may just be an irritating nuisance, but in severe cases, people may experience difficulty eating and swallowing, sores, inflamed gums, or an increase in cavities – all which can majorly affect their quality of life.

Unfortunately, dry mouth is a common side effect of literally hundreds of medications (which is the main cause of dry mouth in most people). And for the vast majority of people, the benefits/necessity of staying on these medications outweigh the problem of dry mouth, so eliminating the source isn’t really an option. Dry mouth can also be caused by medical conditions that decrease their saliva production, such as the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS. People undergoing cancer therapy may also experience a change in their salivary production.

So what can people do to mitigate their symptoms? There are products that you can use, such as special moisturizers, that act as artificial saliva, which can help alleviate discomfort. There are special toothpastes and mouth rinses available as well. Because dry mouth also increases one’s susceptibility of getting cavities, it may also be recommended to use fluoride trays or rinses more regularly to help prevent further decay. It is also crucial to visit your dentist more regularly so they can keep a close eye on things, and of course, your daily oral hygiene routine needs to be top-notch.

If you’re a sufferer of dry mouth, I hope this helps. Happy Easter!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

If you HATE flossing, TRY THIS!

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If you hate flossing

There’s about a million and one reasons why people don’t floss.  And no matter how much we tell people they need to floss, we know that there are still a large number of people simply won’t.  Well, FINALLY I’m giving my patients an alternative.  They’re called Soft-Picks.

Soft-Picks are a product made by GUM™ – they look like teeny-tiny pine trees, and are designed to be used like a toothpick.  They’re better than toothpicks, however, because they have small bristles that work to clean off plaque, and they’re softer and more flexible.  By simply inserting it between each of your teeth and gently moving it in and out, it removes the majority of plaque between your teeth (essentially doing the same job floss does).

They’re also great for people with bridges, orthodontic braces, or other dental appliances because they can squeeze between tight spots and get to those hard-to-reach places.  They are super easy to use, and more discreet than regular dental floss, so they’re handy if you’re out in public and have something stuck in your teeth.  It’s something you can even do while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV.

Check out this link to learn more.  I think they’re great and definitely worth a try!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Are you a Bruxer?

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Are you a Bruxer

I see bruxers every single day in my practice. Bruxers are people who habitually clench/grind their teeth. Quite often people are bruxers without even realizing it because most people grind their teeth in their sleep. So how do you know if you’re a bruxer?


a) Do you ever wake up with a clenched jaw?
b) Do the muscles around your jaw ever feel sore or tight?
c) Do you have a lot of worn/flat edges on your teeth?
d) Are any of your teeth chipped? Have you ever chipped or broken a tooth?
e) Do you get frequent headaches originating from the temple region?
f) Do you have sensitive teeth?
g) Has anybody every told you they could hear you grinding your teeth in the middle of the night?
h) Do you suffer from a lot of stress?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, there is a very good chance that you are a bruxer.

Now, you may be wondering why stress was a question. Stress is a major contributor to how much people grind their teeth. Think about when people are stressed; they carry a lot of tension in their shoulders and neck. That tension can carry all the way up into the jaw area. When patients come to our office, we will ask them these types of questions and examine the condition of their teeth, and from that we can normally determine if they do clench or grind. Bruxing can lead to all kinds of problems:

  • Teeth that are chipped, broken, worn, flattened, and uneven. I have even seen teeth split in half from heavy-duty grinding. In other severe cases, people can wear off all the enamel on the edges of their teeth, exposing the dentin underneath.
  • Sensitivity. Sometimes people think they have a cavity or even an abscess from the level of discomfort they‘re experiencing, but sometimes it’s simply due to the heavy load and stresses they’re placing on their teeth as they grind.
  • Aesthetic issues. Teeth can become shortened over time from continual grinding, or have a chipped/jagged appearance, both of which can affect a person’s self-image and confidence about their smile.
  • TMJ issues. Bruxing places a lot of pressure on your jaw joints, and over time people can develop conditions related to their TMJs, such as clicking or lockjaw.
  • Muscle tension or soreness. These muscles are highly active during clenching/grinding, which can lead to soreness and fatigue.

What can you do about it? We often prescribe night guards (aka splints) for patients to wear at nighttime. This prevents further wear and tear to the teeth and can also help relieve stress on the muscles and TMJ. Some people are day-bruxers, and for those people I mostly just tell them they have to make a conscious effort to avoid doing it. Massage, chiropractic, and physiotherapy are all useful modalities to help relieve stress in the muscles as well. Bottom line, if you think you might be a bruxer, talk to your dentist to do something about it.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

What’s the Deal with Oil Pulling?

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What's the deal with Oil Pulling? Has everyone heard of this? Oil pulling is an Indian therapy that is used by its practitioners to improve oral and systemic health. While it may be new to most of us, it’s actually ancient, dating back to over 3000 years ago. Basically, you use an oil, such as sesame, coconut, or sunflower, and swish it around in your mouth for 15 – 20 minutes and then spit it out, like a mouthwash. By moving the oil between your teeth, it’s supposed to “pull” the bacteria into the oil, reducing the harmful bacteria in your mouth that lead to cavities, plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. There are also many other claims that have been made as to how oil pulling can benefit your health, including helping with problems such as migraines, asthma, and even diabetes. While those claims might seem far-fetched, there are proven relationships that link oral health and systemic diseases, so if oil pulling improves oral health, who knows… it might help those conditions as well. The fact is, we don’t know. Like most pseudo-scientific home remedies, there is little research to back any of these claims. However, some recent pilot studies have shown that oil pulling can reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth responsible for tooth decay, gingivitis, and bad breath, which is a start. Some patients have asked me if they should do it, and I have no problem with it. So far in my research, I haven’t found any indication that oil pulling could negatively impact your health. It is not a substitute, however, for brushing and flossing. Sorry ☺ But, if you use it as an adjunct to your normal daily hygiene routine, it sounds like it does make a difference. As more and more people look for natural ways to treat different health problems, oil pulling seems like the new trend in dental care. To be honest, I LOVE a good natural home remedy (I might even give this one a try). Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky