Tag Archives: health

April is National Oral Health Month

April 23, 2018

Shake off the winter blues and swing into spring! This month Canadians across the country are celebrating National Dental Health Month. Supported by the Canadian Dental Health Association (CDHA), what better of a time to think about how you take care of your mouth? By promoting better oral health, this month long event encourages Canadians to have a better overall quality of life.

Oral Health for Overall Health

Our mouths are mirrors into the body, and reflect our overall well being. Compared to other parts of the body, people often ignore injuries, aches and bleeding in their mouths. Bleeding and tender gums, oral pain and mouth infections are common problems that are often ignored. If you ignore these problems, they can severely affect your quality of life.

If you’re having any problems with your mouth – it’s important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. These problems can be potential indicators of serious chronic diseases like oral cancer.

What are the stats?

In Canada 1000 people die per year from oral cancer. Most often, the cancer is diagnosed at a late stage when treatments are not nearly effective. By regularly visiting the dentist, problems can be diagnosed earlier when the treatment outcome is better and more optimal.

Signs of Oral Cancer:

  • Small lumps / thickened areas in the mouth
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Tingling or numbness in the mouth
  • Bleeding mouth with no cause
  • Sores in the mouth that won’t heal

Preventative care is always the best option for staying healthy. Proper oral health is something vital to our overall well-being that far too many of us overlook! Take a minute to think about your own oral health, is it something you take seriously?

We encourage you to follow the CDHA’s ‘5 Steps to Better Oral Health’ to help reduce the risk of oral disease and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The 5 Steps to Better Oral Health according to the CDHA:

  • Visit the Dentist Regularly – Every 6-9 months depending on individual
  • Keep your Mouth Clean – Brush & floss at least 2 times a day, and use mouthwash
  • Eat, Drink but Be Wary – Healthy, unprocessed foods that are nutrient rich help the body to fight infection. Reduce sugar and processed food intake as well!
  • Check your Mouth Often – Gum disease (periodontal disease) is the most common cause of tooth loss
  • Avoid Tobacco Products

Candy Eating: A Users Guide

October 26, 2016


Halloween is coming up and after that, there’s the holiday season. The next few months will see our children faced with a barrage of sugary treats and candy. In particular, what is the best way to handle the basket of candy hauled in on October 31st?

When we eat candy, the sugar combines with the bacteria in the plaque existing on our teeth and gums. This combination produces a mild acid that starts the tooth decay process. The longer and more often the teeth are exposed to the sugars in candy, the more damage can occur. 

So, here’s our Users Guide to Candy Eating:

1.       Children should not eat anything before they get home. Make sure to check all the treats collected, for safety and also for potential allergic ingredients.

2.       Set a treat time. For reasons outlined above, it is better to eat a little more candy at one time than snack on candy multiple times a day. The teeth are exposed to sugar less frequently.

3.       A good treat time is with meals or shortly after. The saliva in the mouth increases at meal time and helps lessen the effect of the acid produced by the sugar and bacteria in the mouth.

4.       Drink more water with treats as it will flush the mouth of sugars and acids and also help remove food particles.

5.       Avoid hard candy. Hard candies take longer to eat so the sugars and the cavity causing acid are present in the mouth for a much longer time.

6.       Avoid chewy or gummy candy. These treat are usually higher in sugar and stick to the teeth much longer. They also tend to be more difficult for the saliva to breakdown.

7.       Brush, floss and rinse after treat time.

8.       Finally, if that candy haul is lasting way too long; try a candy-swap. Exchange your children’s candy for something else they like, such as stickers or passes to an amusement park.

Halloween and the holidays that follow should be fun events for kids, so deprivation of treats is not the answer. Candy and sweets can be enjoyed while limiting their impact on our children’s teeth and oral health.



Reasons to Smile During The Holidays

December 14, 2015


It’s that time of year again: aisles of gift-wrap and Christmas decorations have taken over every store, and the holiday spirit has arrived in full steam. December is a time of tradition, joy and cheer; a time to give, receive and help those in need. You can definitely feel the spirit of Christmas magic floating in the air everywhere you go. With Christmas coming up, and the New Year quickly approaching, there are many reasons to smile this Holiday Season.


Spending Time with Loved Ones

There’s no greater gift during the holidays than the gift of spending time with your loved ones. Spending quality time and appreciating the ones that matter the most is the true meaning of the holiday season. The spirit of the season always comes through as people take time to gather with family and friends, or attend work parties with co-workers. Whatever your holiday traditions are, whether they include large family dinners, ugly Christmas sweater parties with friends, or cuddling by the fireplace with your significant other, being around the ones you love is sure to put a smile on your face.

Festive Decorations 

Everywhere you go, holiday displays light up the darkness with the most bright and colourful decorations imaginable. Christmas trees filled with ornaments collected throughout the years have light up households. Halls are decked with boughs of holly, and mistletoe is hung. Children are lined up to sit on Santa’s lap to take a picture, and give St. Nick their Christmas list. You won’t be able to help but smile as the feeling of magic and warmth surrounds you.

Spreading the Joy

Who doesn’t love presents? But nothing compares to the feeling of seeing the look on a loved one’s face as they open their gift! This holiday, don’t stress about buying the perfect gift for your friends and family. Instead, focus on do-it-yourself presents that show your loved ones you are thinking of them. Remember, it’s the thought that counts! The feeling of sharing and caring is representative of this special time of the year, so take a moment to give back to others. Give a smile to someone in need by giving back to charities and local food banks this holiday season.

Holiday Food

Holiday treats such as eggnog, gingerbread cookies and peppermint stick candy are everywhere this season. Gathering in the kitchen with the family to bake and decorate special cookies, or build a gingerbread house are activities that are enjoyed at any age! Remember, foods that are high in sugar speed up the tooth decay process if proper cleaning is not in order. We know that this is a time of indulgence, and while we want you to enjoy yourself, remember to appreciate everything in moderation. Here’s a tip: brush your teeth after every treat, and give out leftover baked goods to your friends or co-workers. You will have a fun time baking and decorating delicious treats, putting a smile on someone else’s face AND stay healthy! The holidays may take a toll on your teeth if you aren’t careful, so make sure you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible after the holiday parties start to calm down.

Outdoor Winter Activities

The temperature may have cooled down substantially, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the outdoors! Grab your children and hit the hills for some tobogganing, or the local rink for some skating fun. If that is not your cup of tea, try horseshoeing or building a snowman. If you prefer a more fast-paced activity, hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding. Whatever your preference is, there are many winter activities to help you keep active this holiday season.

New Year’s Resolutions

As 2015 comes to an end, it is a great time to step back from our busy day-to-day lives and reflect on the past year. It is a time to evaluate last year’s resolutions and create new ones. With a new year, comes the possibility of reinventing yourself. If living a healthy lifestyle is one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, don’t forget about oral health. Make oral healthcare a priority for the whole family this year and keep healthy smiles for life!


These are just a few reasons to smile this holiday season. We hope that you can find many more reasons to smile and spread the holiday cheer. From everyone at Dr. Walter Heidary Family Dentistry, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season full of healthy smiles!





A Dentist’s Guide to Trick-or-Treating

October 28, 2014

We know what you’re thinking; a dentist is going to give away apples for Halloween, or worse – toothbrushes, so why should you even consider a dentist’s guide to trick-or-treating? While apples are a healthy snack and you should be brushing your teeth regularly, we also know how to have some fun! You can still enjoy treats like your trick-or-treat candy in moderation!

Just remember to brush away the harmful sugars so they don’t stay trapped in your teeth causing more damage.

Halloween is an exciting time of year! From getting all dressed up, to watching scary movies, or putting out treats for the adorable costumed visitors to your home. Are you wondering what candy you should set out this year?

Here’s a breakdown of the best and worst candy for your teeth:

The Worst

What makes candy bad for your teeth is usually the amount of time it spends in your mouth, as that gives it more time to cause damage to your teeth. These types of candy are notoriously bad for your teeth for this reason:

Hard candies

These candies require you to keep them in your mouth for a long time before they dissolve, causing your teeth to be exposed to sugar for a long time.

Sticky or chewy candy

Think caramel candy, gummy bears, or salt water taffy. These candies can easily get stuck between your teeth and cause damage.

Sour Candy

While the thrill of sucking on a candy that is so sour it makes you cringe is great, these candies have high acid levels. Acidity contributes to wearing down of enamel and children with softer enamel are especially at risk.


These candies live up to their name! They are hard enough to chip your teeth, which can result in an unplanned trip to the dentist.

The Best

All the candy that is bad for your teeth shouldn’t discourage you from setting out some delicious treats for your trick-or-treat visitors! There are plenty of candies that are less harmful for your teeth and safe to enjoy in moderation.

Sugar-free lollipops

Sugar-free lollipops help stimulate saliva production, which protects teeth from acids and sugars damaging them.

Sugar-free gum

Like sugar-free lollipops, sugar-free gum helps stimulate saliva production. It also helps dislodge foods that are trapped between the teeth.


While chocolate is far from sugar-free, it melts quickly and therefore does not cause extensive damage to your teeth if consumed alone. However, you should be careful when choosing chocolate bars as they often have fillings like caramel, toffee, or nuts, which could be harmful to teeth.

Peanut butter cups

Similar to chocolate, peanut butter cups disappear from your mouth quickly and therefore do not cause as much damage as a candy that would stay in your mouth for a longer period of time.

While these candies are better alternatives to hard or chewy candies, an excessive amount of sugar can have adverse side effects for your teeth. So remember to enjoy the spoils of your trick or treat excursion in moderation! Happy Halloween!

Are You Afraid of the Dentist?

May 28, 2014

Don’t worry; going to the dentist is actually a very common phobia. Many people don’t know where the fear originates, but many feel anxiety about ridicule from the dentist or something else. In some extreme cases, this fear prevents people from receiving proper treatment for their teeth and gums.

Overcoming the Fear

As avoiding proper dental care can result in serious complications, it is best to face your fears to stay in good health. The first step to accomplishing this is finding a dentist that’s right for you. Having a positive relationship with your dentist can do wonders to relieve your fear. Find someone who you get along with, that you trust, and that can put your fears at ease. If you feel comfortable enough telling your dentist about your phobia, they can work with you to make you feel at comfortable.

On the other hand, if you don’t feel comfortable around your dentist, the lack of relationship can is exacerbate your fears. Do your research and find someone you trust.

How to De-stress Before Your Visit

So you’ve found the perfect dentist, but you’re still nervous? That’s understandable, but there are ways you can deal with your anxiety. Here are some tips to calm you down before your visit.

Think Positive!

When facing a phobia, a positive thinking manta may seem unattainable. That’s your negativity speaking! When you enter a situation with a positive outlook, it’s easier to handle the fear or anxiety you may feel. Besides, your dentist is there to help, not hurt. So smile! Your experience won’t be as negative if you, yourself, aren’t as negative.

Bring a Friend with You

A relaxed attitude is contagious. Bring a friend who makes you feel comfortable and takes you mind off of your fear.

Listen to Relaxing Music

Do you have that one playlist that just makes you feel good no matter where you are? Why aren’t you already listening to it in your dentist’s waiting room?


When you’re stressed out, you can forget to breathe which adds to your stress. Put those yoga breathing techniques to good use and remember to breathe smoothly. You’ll feel calmer in seconds.

Things to Remember

At the end of the day, your dentist is not a cartoon villain. Your dentist wants what is best for you and wants to make your experience a positive one.