Gratitude for Healthy Smiles

As we approach the season of giving and gratitude, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the often overlooked but invaluable gift that many of us possess—our healthy smiles. The ability to smile confidently, eat without discomfort, and maintain good oral health is something I am very grateful for.

The Gift of Oral Health

Smiles are a key part of our overall health and well-being. A healthy set of teeth and gums, or a good set of prosthetics like dentures, not only enhances our appearance but plays a crucial role in our ability to eat, speak, and otherwise express ourselves. As we gather with loved ones during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to recognize the significance of our oral health and express gratitude for the gift of healthy smiles.

healthy smile officeThe Role of Preventative Care

Behind every healthy smile is a commitment to prevention. Regular dental check-ups, cleanings, a balanced diet, and adopting good oral hygiene practices are the foundations of maintaining a healthy mouth. This proactive approach not only prevents common dental issues such as cavities or gum disease, but also positively contributes to our overall health, something your body will be very grateful for.

thank youShowing Gratitude for Dental Professionals

In our journey to maintaining healthy smiles, oral health care professionals play a vital role. Including the friendly admin team who help schedule your visits and send reminders, the caring dental hygienists who ensure your teeth sparkle after a cleaning, the kind dental assistants who keep the office running, and finally the skilled dentists who address your concerns and provide necessary treatments. Expressing gratitude for their expertise, dedication, and hard-work makes an unbelievable impact on our lives.

happy smilePractising Gratitude for Your Smile

  1. Daily Oral Care Rituals: Use these moments as a daily practice in gratitude – Take a moment each day to appreciate your oral care routine. Whether it’s the refreshing feeling after brushing, the privilege of having an electric toothbrush, or the relief of flossing turkey from between your teeth, these simple acts contribute to the longevity of your healthy smile.
  2. Expressing Thanks: Consider expressing gratitude to your dental care team. A thank-you note or a kind word will make a significant impact. And leaving a Google Review or commenting on a social media post is such a wonderful compliment for any small business.
  3. Spreading the Smile: Share the importance of oral health with your friends and family. Express your gratitude for their smiles, encourage them to prioritize their oral health care, and remind them to use up any remaining dental or other health benefits before the end of year!

As we count our blessings during this season of gratitude, let’s not forget to include our healthy smiles on the list. Embracing a spirit of appreciation for our oral health sets the foundation for a lifetime of confident smiles and overall well-being. Our team at Horizon Dental would be happy to help you elebrate the gift of healthy smiles with joy and gratitude. Schedule your next dental visit by clicking here or calling our office directly at 778-765-3928.

Can Cold and Flu Remedies Hurt My Teeth?

Cold and flu season is back in Kamloops. Earlier this year, I wrote about how these illnesses can directly impact your oral health. And thankfully, there are a number of remedies to help get you through those sleepless nights of coughing and long workdays with a stuffy head or runny nose. But did you know some of the solutions meant to help you through the cold and flu can actually damage your teeth? Read on to find out how to use these tools effectively while protecting your teeth.

Nasal Decongestants

Decongestants help battle a runny nose by drying out the tissues, but overuse during cold and flu season can also cause dry mouth. This reduced saliva flow promotes bacteria growth in the mouth, ultimately increasing your risk of gingivitis and tooth decay.

To combat dry mouth, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Humidifiers are also crucial, especially in a dry climate like Kamloops. They add moisture to the air and help soothe dry tissues.

Sore Throats and Lozenges

Haven’t we all fallen asleep with a sore throat lozenge in our mouth during cold and flu season? They are designed to dissolve slowly, which I’ve found dulls the pain so I can sleep. However, watch out for lozenges with sugar as prolonged contact with the teeth will lead to cavities. Look for brands that are sugar-free or sweetened with xylitol. If you do use sugary products, make sure you brush your teeth often. Last thing you want is to finally get over being sick, only to visit your dentist and discover you need fillings.

Cough Syrup

Cough syrup is always a staple in my battle against cold and flu symptoms. However, these medicines often contain sugar to help mask the awful taste. These sticky liquids will leave a coating on your teeth that can cause tooth decay. Also, watch for medicines containing alcohol, which will reduce saliva flow and make it harder to clean the teeth.

When possible, try pills or gel-caps instead of liquids. Children often struggle with pills, so give them the medicine before a meal so that the increased saliva flow caused by eating will help wash away the sugar coating.

Hot Tea & Orange Juice

I drink tea religiously during any cold and flu to help soothe my throat. But be careful, tea is erosive and will soften the hard enamel layer, leaving you more prone to decay and tooth-wear.

My grandma always said enough Vitamin C would cure any cold. And it definitely helps boost the immune system during cold and flu season. However, citric fruits and beverages are acidic and will also soften enamel.

The best plan is to have these drinks during mealtimes and use a straw, reduce any sweeteners in your tea, and drink water throughout the day. Also, it’s important to brush thoroughly, but wait 30 minutes so that the enamel has a chance to harden again.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Although you might not feel up to it during cold and flu season, stick with your regular brushing and flossing routine. I guarantee you will recover faster and protect your teeth. And don’t forget to change your toothbrush once you’re feeling better as the viruses and bacteria may linger.


Our team at Horizon Dental would be happy to help you achieve optimal oral health and we are happily accepting new patients. If you’re looking for a dentist in Kamloops, we are happily accepting new patients! You can contact us by clicking here!

How Safe is Vaping?

It seems like there’s a new vaping retailer around every corner in Kamloops. Vapes, or e-cigarettes, have been around for many years, but it’s only recently that their popularity has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. They originated as a smoking cessation aid, but thanks to the addition of some pleasant flavors and clever marketing, vaping has become a fun way to pass the time.
So why is vaping so popular and how safe is it for your health?

Vaping 101

Vaping involves inhaling vapor from a small cylinder filled with chemicals and flavors. Most vaping devices have a battery that heats the liquid in the pipe to steam. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and sometimes look like a USB stick or pen. Global News reported that the devices are now so small that students are sneaking them into class where they exhale the mist into their shirts!

In vaping liquids, nicotine and/or flavoring compounds are dissolved in a mixture, typically propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin. The nicotine content can vary widely, some with very low levels, but some, such as JUUL, have more nicotine than a cigarette!

What are the risks?

The long-term health effects of vaping are currently unknown but continue to be researched. The Canadian Dental Association advises against use of any nicotine products and current evidence shows that vaping can lead to nicotine dependence in persons not previously using tobacco products, especially in young people. Since almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, stopping the vaping habit will cause the same withdrawal symptoms as quitting cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Many who vape believe that steam is safer than smoke. But in reality, the same harmful chemicals are released by both processes. A recent study found that vaping causes the same lung irritation that we see in smokers and also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Vaping is also particularly dangerous to oral health, as the chemicals create inflammation that can lead to gum disease and even oral cancer.

And just as second-hand smoke is dangerous to others, the vapor from e-cigarettes has been shown to introduce nicotine and other chemicals (including formaldehyde and lead) into the air.

One of the most troubling trends with e-cigarettes is their growing use among teenagers. The FDA has made the statement that nicotine is harmful to the developing brain. And no teenager should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing products.

Think before you inhale

I hope this article will help you make an informed decision about vaping. In the end, it’s up to you! My best advice would be not to use e-cigarettes at all, but if you do continue to vape, talk to your dentist! We can help spot cancer and oral disease in the developing stages when it is more easily and successfully treated.

Our team at Horizon Dental is dedicated to helping people achieve optimal oral health. We are excited to be accepting new patients and you can contact us by clicking here!

Piercings and Your Mouth

Body art, such as tattoos and piercings, is a very common method of self-expression. I firmly believe that each person has a right to decide what to do with his/her body, and I can definitely appreciate the esthetic and often emotional meaning behind these modifications. But studies have shown that lip and tongue rings often come with a much higher price than just the piercing itself. So please, read on about how to avoid these common oral complications.

Chipped Teeth

Clearly, it’s fun to play with a piercing and even run it through your teeth, something I’ve seen a hundred times. Of course, most lip or tongue piercings are made out of heavy-duty metal, and even the cheapest ones are harder than enamel. We see time and again that the act of running the piercing along the teeth will wear the enamel away over time. Or if you bite down in just the wrong way, you can lose a large piece of tooth in an instant. Unfortunately, repairing even the most minor chip can be a huge challenge – nothing is ever going to be as good as your natural tooth and fillings or even crowns can also chip or break.

Cracked Teeth

The constant tapping of metal or plastic on enamel will also cause micro-cracks in the teeth. These can be hard to see, but you will definitely start to feel as the teeth become sensitive to temperature and pressure. Micro-cracks will grow over time and may eventually affect the nerve of the tooth, causing inflammation that could earn you a root canal. And if the crack grows deep enough, the tooth can also break apart and may even have to be removed.

Gum Recession & Infection

Just like rubbing things on your teeth will wear them down, the same thing can happen with your gums. This will eventually expose the sensitive root surfaces, leading to that terrible temperature sensitivity. And it will increase your risk for gingivitis and gum disease. Also, consider the fact that the rings are always in your mouth – the bacteria love these surfaces and will grow on the piercing itself, making it harder to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Sometimes this will be obvious as gingivitis, but if the piercings aren’t removed and cleaned properly, the bacteria can cause a more serious infection in the rest of your body.

So, if you’re really interested in a lip or tongue piercing, follow these key rules:

  • Don’t play with your piercing.
  • Chew carefully.
  • Keep it clean! This includes regular brushing and flossing as well as removing the piercing for proper cleaning.
  • Switch to plastic – you are less likely to cause damage with “plastic” teflon backings or balls.
  • Have regular dental exams to catch any problems early on.

Our team at Horizon Dental is dedicated to helping people achieve optimal oral health. We are excited to be accepting new patients, you can call us at (778) 765-3928 or click here. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you. If you like what you see, please share with your friends and follow me on Google +, Facebook, or Instagram!

How Important Can Flossing Really Be?

I used to ask myself this question each time I visited the dentist. I’ve been a very diligent brusher, but flossing was not an important part of my day, or even week. Good genetics and a balanced diet saved me from a mouth-full of cavities as a child. But now, I wonder how many of my patients ask themselves the same question. Of course, the choice to floss, or not to floss, is entirely up to you! But here’s a few reasons why you might want to give it another chance.

Flossing Isn’t Just About Cavities!

Before I went to dental school, I rationalized that I didn’t need to floss because I didn’t get cavities. And I cannot believe how wrong I was! Even the best toothbrush can only reach 60% of your tooth surfaces on a good day, which means you are leaving a lot of disease-causing bacteria behind. Floss was designed as a way to clean those areas between the teeth and below the gumline.

While flossing is crucial for preventing cavities between the teeth, it’s also important in preventing gum disease. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar below the gumline. The body sees this as an infection, which leads to inflammation called gingivitis. If left untreated, this inflammation can eventually erode the bone and gums supporting the teeth. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, together with your regular dental cleanings, helps prevent and treat this disease.

We also know that reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth also lowers the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Flossing only takes a few minutes everyday, but it can have huge implications for your long-term health.

How to Start Flossing

The gold standard for oral hygiene is still dental floss. However, not all floss is created equal! There are ribbon-styles for tight teeth, expanding-floss for big spaces, and a variety of flavours and textures. Take some of our samples and find what works for you!

The biggest reason for not flossing is FORGETTING! We’re all busy and tired at the end of the day. So, try switching things up:

  • Keep your floss in the shower;
  • Floss in the morning, or after dinner, instead of before bedtime;
  • Set an alarm;
  • Floss as a family!

But if you really can’t stand flossing, here are some alternatives:

  1. Proxibrushes – small “tree-shaped” nylon brushes that fit between teeth
  2. Soft Picks – very small brushes that act like toothpicks, but cause less damage to the gums;
  3. WaterPik – when used correctly, the WaterPik will flush plaque away from the teeth and is very effective for people wearing braces or with bridges that are difficult to floss around.

*Follow the links as these tools are available online for purchase through Walmart, Amazon, Costco, and other sites*

Our team at Horizon Dental is dedicated to helping people achieve optimal oral health. We are excited to be accepting new patients, you can call us at (778) 765-3928 or click here. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram!

Canada’s New Food Guide and Oral Health

April is National Oral Health Month and I felt it was a great opportunity to celebrate Canada’s new Food Guide, the first re-write since 2007! The foods we choose to eat and how often we eat them have a profound impact on our overall health. Nutrient-rich foods support good oral health and help fight infection and disease. We all know that sugar-filled pop and processed foods contribute to cavities and gum disease but it can be hard to know what to eat! That’s why I’ve read through Canada’s Food Guide and have some suggestions to help you create a balanced diet.

Healthy Eating Recommendations

Health Canada has some excellent online resources with tips and recipes based on the new Food Guide. They also emphasize that healthy eating is more than just the food we eat! I recommend practicing mindful eating, cook at home whenever possible, eat meals with friends and family, and don’t forget to enjoy your food. Taking the time to plan a meal and involving others in preparing and eating is a great way to connect with people. It’s also important to eat a variety of foods each day! One of the biggest changes to the new Food Guide is to choose protein foods that are plant-based. The idea is to avoid saturated fats found in animal products. Medical News Today lists the best plant-based proteins as: tofu, edamame beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, quinoa, and dark leafy green vegetables among others. I’m also very pleased to see how the Food Guide emphasizes replacing juice and other sugary drinks with water, as we know that these drinks can cause cavities. But don’t forget your about calcium! Dairy products no longer have their own group in the new Food Guide and have been included in the “protein” section. Calcium is essential for the development of bones and teeth but is not easily absorbed from plant-based proteins like tofu or beans. So, don’t forget to add sources of calcium and vitamin D to your day, either from supplements or milk products like cheese and yogurt!

Connecting Oral Health to Overall Health

Not only is good oral health critical for healthy teeth and gums, it also lowers your risk of bigger diseases. Diabetes is a disease that affects your entire body, and modifying your diet is often a key step in managing blood sugar. Oral inflammation can also play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. The Heart and Stroke Foundation reports that 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through lifestyle changes, including following Canada’s Food Guide! Our team at Horizon Dental is dedicated to helping people achieve optimal oral health. We are excited to be accepting new patients,You can contact us by clicking here!

Does Having a Cold and Flu Hurt my Teeth?

Cold and flu season is in full swing in Kamloops. Many of us have experienced sleepless nights with a cough that won’t stop, a stuffy head that makes breathing impossible, and a runny nose that has us constantly reaching for tissues. We are all aware of how the common cold and flu can wreak havoc on the body, but did you know how these bugs affect your oral health? Read on to learn how to deal with these issues and protect your teeth.

Nasal Congestion and Dry Mouth

The cold and flu bugs have taken up residence in your sinuses, so when you finally lay down to rest, you’re too stuffed up to breathe through your nose. Instead, you have to breathe through your mouth, leaving you feeling parched all night.  Cold and flu symptoms are a major cause of dry mouth, but medications such as decongestants may make it worse. And when the mouth is dry, bacteria grow faster, increasing your risk of gingivitis and tooth decay.

To combat dry mouth during a cold or flu, continue using decongestants as indicated, they will help in the long run. But make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Humidifiers are also crucial, especially in a dry climate like Kamloops. They add moisture to the air and help soothe dry tissues.

When cold and flu symptoms start, I also recommend using a nasal rinse such as the NeilMed Sinus Rinse products available at any drugstore. Make sure you use previously-boiled or distilled water with the saline packets. Nasal rinsing significantly reduces congestion, as well as post-nasal drip which often causes sore throats.

Sinus Pain and Toothaches

cold and flu

Don’t be fooled, cold and flu symptoms often mimic tooth pain! The telltale sign is when the pain isn’t limited to just one tooth. Other symptoms include pain and pressure around the face and eyes and nasal congestion. Acute sinus infections often resolve on their own, but sometimes require antibiotics. Please keep in mind, your dentist isn’t able to prescribe those antibiotics as the infection isn’t tooth-related, so speak to your family doctor.

Keep on Top of Your Oral Hygiene

gingivitisAlthough you might not feel up to it when sick, keep up with your oral care. Allowing plaque to build-up not only puts you at risk for gingivitis and tooth decay, but also encourages bacterial growth. This means a slower recovery from the cold and flu because your immune system is dealing with your mouth instead of fighting the cold or flu. Stick with your regular brushing and flossing routine. And if you really don’t have the energy, try a soothing mouth rinse.

Our team at Horizon Dental would be happy to help you achieve optimal oral health and we are happily accepting new patients. You can contact us by clicking here or visit our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates and fun contests.

Cannabis And Your Oral Health

As of October 17, 2018, cannabis is legal in Canada! Estimates say that 15% of Canadians use cannabis (marijuana) for recreational or therapeutic purposes and it can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract. Smoking marijuana typically has a more immediate, short-lived effect, whereas “edibles” exhibit effects more slowly that often last longer. So how does cannabis use affect your oral health?

Whether or not you use cannabis for fun or as part of a comprehensive medical treatment, there are several oral health effects I think we should all be aware of:

  • Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Saliva is our natural mouth-cleaning system – it dilutes and washes away food and acids that cause erosion and cavities. Cannabis reduces saliva production, putting you at a higher risk of tooth-wear or erosion and tooth-sensitivity, and sometimes results in bad breath and difficulty swallowing.
  • Periodontal (gum) disease: Inflammation caused by smoke inhalation (tobacco or cannabis) can damage the bone and tissue attachments of teeth over time. Also, higher levels of plaque and tartar (often related to poor oral hygiene and dry mouth) is frequently seen in cannabis users.
  • Cannabis Stomatitis: Chronic inflammation of the soft tissues (lips, tongue, cheeks, palate) may predispose some patients to oral cancer, although the true relationship between cannabis and cancer is still unclear.
  • Cavities: THC is an appetite stimulant, which often leads users to engage in regular snacking. Snacking combined with more plaque and less saliva is the perfect environment to develop lots of cavities in a short period of time. This may also cause existing fillings, crowns, and other restorative work to fail.

In addition, using cannabis prior to receiving routine dental treatment can result in complications, such as:

  • Higher risk of dry socket and infection after surgery due to smoke inhalation.
  • Bad reactions to local anesthetic that may increase blood pressure or make the heart race.
  • Bad reactions to prescription medications, such as pain-killers or sedatives.
  • Impairment resulting in the inability to properly consent to dental treatment – meaning your dentist may have to cancel your treatment if you are deemed “unfit” to make decisions.

As always, I recommend talking openly with your dentist about any drug use! Some ways we can help manage the oral effects of cannabis include:

I hope this post got you thinking. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you. If you like what you see, please share with your friends and follow me on Google +, Facebook, or Instagram!

And if you’re looking for a dentist in Kamloops, we are happily accepting new patients! You can contact us by clicking here!

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