Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rising Number of Cavities in Children

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of cavities found in children. This has resulted in both an increase in the number of teeth that need to be filled as well as the severity of the decay.
It’s important to protect your children from cavities, and we at Dr. Ian Gray would like to offer a few tips to help prevent the progress of tooth decay in young children:
  • Try to avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or apple juice.
  • Always ensure that your children rinse with water after a sugary drink or snack.
  • Get your kids in the habit of brushing their teeth twice daily and flossing once.
  • Finally, make sure to schedule a visit to the dentist twice a year so that any issues are identified early and treated properly.
These simple and effective practices will help keep their teeth healthy and strong. Help your kids form good habits early, and their teeth will be far healthier as a result.
To book an appointment at Dr. Ian Gray , click here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Importance of Smiling!

If you feel great, a smile comes naturally. It's an outward sign of joy, amusement, or excitement. Obviously, it is not natural to smile when we're sad or upset; but it turns out that smiling might be the best thing to do when you're ready to shift into a brighter mood. And it's not just for you; each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favour. You are creating a reciprocal relationship that allows both of you to release 'feel good' chemicals in your brain (endorphins) , activate the reward centres, increase attractiveness and the chances of living longer, healthier lives.

Scientists have found that smiling on purpose can help people feel better. Just the simple act of putting a smile on your face can lead you to feel actual happiness. Smiling on purpose changes brain chemistry.

More serious problems including depression require more than just putting on a smile, and should be discussed with your doctor. But when you are simply looking to improve your mood, smile!

How Smiling Affects Your Brain

Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work towards fighting off stress. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are also released when a smile flashes across your face. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

How Smiling Affects Your Brain

You are actually better looking when you smile - and we're not just trying to butter you up. When you smile, people treat you differently. You're viewed as more attractive, reliable, relaxed, and sincere. A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia reported that seeing an attractive smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain that processes sensory rewards. This suggests that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded. (How does this affect the body though?)

How Smiling Affects Those Around You

Did you know that your smile is actually contagious? The part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expression of smiling when happy or mimicking another's smile resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. In a Swedish study, subjects were shown pictures of several emotions: joy, anger, fear and surprise. When the picture of someone smiling was presented, the researchers asked the subjects to frown. Instead, they found that the facial expressions went directly to imitation of what subjects saw. It took conscious effort to turn their smile upside down. So if you're smiling at someone, it's likely they can't help but smile back. If they don't, they're making a conscious effort not to.

So, the next time someone tells you to "cheer up" when you're in a low mood, own it. Your happiness might end up making that person feel happier too. It's shared!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What is Fluoride and Do You Really Need It?

Fluoride: it’s best known for protecting teeth, but just how does it do that?
If you have ever wondered what all the fuss over fluoride is, why your toothpaste contains it, or how much of it you really need, then you have come to the right place! We have demystified fluoride and explained everything you need to know about this tooth-loving mineral.

What is fluoride exactly?

Fluoride is a colourless, naturally-occurring mineral that can be found throughout the Earth’s surface. It can be found in solid, liquid and gas forms and, when applied in small doses, has been proven to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. It’s for this reason that fluoride is often added in very small doses to the drinking water of municipalities as it has been proven to prevent cavities when compared to areas without fluoridated drinking water. 

If you have been to our office at Dr. Ian Gray Dental Group lately for a routine dental checkup, you likely experienced a concentrated fluoride treatment which usually comes in the form of a flavoured foam and is applied to your teeth using dental trays.

How does fluoride protect my teeth?

Fluoride protects teeth in a few different ways. One way is by strengthening the structure of the tooth for small children, which is still in the developmental stages for their teeth enamel. If the right amount of fluoride is applied during this period, the actual structure of the enamel is strengthened and becomes more resistant to acids. This means that, as the child grows, they will have teeth that are better protected right from the beginning.

When plaque builds up on and around teeth, the destructive bacteria within it is in direct contact with the enamel of the teeth. The bacteria slowly eats away at the enamel and weakens it by leaching vital minerals out of it. This process is called demineralization and, while the mouth naturally fixes the weakened enamel through remineralization, the natural process can become ineffective if teeth are not cleaned properly or if too much sugar enters the mouth on a regular basis.

So another way that fluoride helps to protect teeth is through remineralization. Fluoride helps to promote the process of remineralization and makes sure that the enamel which is replaced during the process is stronger and less susceptible to breakdown.

Fluoride also works against the destructive acid produced by plaque which is extremely important in preventing tooth decay. It does this by blocking some of the most harmful enzymes found in plaque and prevents them from producing the acid that weakens tooth enamel.

How much fluoride should I be consuming?

All water contains some fluoride, even natural spring water that has never been treated.

The recommended dietary allowance for fluoride differs depending on your age, gender, and whether or not your drinking water has fluoride in it already. In general, the amount of fluoride an adult female of 14 years of age or older should be consuming each day is 3 milligrams, while adult males of the same age range should be consuming 4 milligrams per day. Children from four to 13 years old should have one to two milligrams, while infants and small children shouldn’t consume more than half a milligram.

To compare how much fluoride is in your daily diet, consider that one conservative use of fluoridated toothpaste can contain between one and three milligrams of fluoride, depending on the brand and type of the toothpaste. Keep in mind that the suggested amounts of fluoride above are concerned with how much fluoride should be consumed internally, and that when you use toothpaste you should absolutely not be swallowing it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep track of how much fluoride is in your diet to ensure that you are meeting but not exceeding the recommended dosages. 

How can I make sure I’m getting enough fluoride?

The most effective way to ensure that you are introducing fluoride into your mouth, and one of the most important steps in general oral care, is to brush your teeth twice each day with fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure that when you are brushing, you take the time to go over and around each tooth on all sides and along the gum line to ensure that you aren’t leaving any area uncleaned or unprotected.

You can also introduce fluoride into your diet through foods such as taro root, yams, milk, eggs, cassava, red meats, and fish, especially if it’s canned. All of these foods contain less than 0.1 milligram of fluoride in them per serving.

Having a regular dental checkup every six months is also extremely important, not just because your mouth will be professionally cleaned, but also because you should receive a concentrated fluoride treatment each time. The treatment may come in the form of a flavoured foam or gel that is applied using dental trays or it may just be a rinse.

However it is given, the effects of professional fluoride treatments last much longer than those of at-home products or through dietary consumption. Professional treatments are especially important for those who are more susceptible to tooth rot or cavities as they boost the tooth enamel strength and make sure that every surface of each tooth is reached.

What if I’m still unsure about fluoride?

If you want to learn more about how fluoride can help to protect your teeth or if you’re unsure about how much you really need to have in your diet, make an appointment with us at Dr. Ian Gray Dental Group and our team will be more than happy to discuss it. The dental professionals at Dr. Ian Gray Dental Group will assess your oral health, your dental habits and specific needs, and will give you advice that is tailor made for you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Importance of Dental Care for Caregivers

Good oral care is important at any age. However certain segments of the population require help with their oral hygiene care, including elderly, sick and mentally or physically challenged. Studies have shown that many family members are taking on the role of a primary care giver and oral hygiene should be another important area of focus to consider for any caregiver.

There is a huge link to oral health and overall health, and keeping the mouth healthy, keeps the body healthy (since the two are connected). A thing to consider is micro- organisms (bacteria) from oral infections that can enter the bloodstream and lungs and travel through the body. This can increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disorders.
Brushing and flossing are crucial activities that effect general health just as much as medications, proper diet and physical activity. Seeing a dental hygienist regularly aid in the process of general well being, and should be a part of everyone's regular routine.
When providing care to an individual with needs certain signs should be observed for inadequate oral care:
  • Food debris
  • Weight loss
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Red, swollen, bleeding tender gums
  • Loose teeth/ tooth pain
  • Abscess or pus around gums or teeth
A good routine to get into with oral hygiene should include:
  • Brushing and or cleaning the mouth twice daily for two minutes
  • Remove and brush dentures twice daily or more if needed
  • Floss teeth at least daily
  • Brushing or scraping tongue
  • Booking regular dental hygiene/ dental visits.
An important resource to utilize should be your dental professionals. We can aid in advice and tips to help make home care effective and give you the tools to help make sure that individuals, no matter their disability, receive the proper care they need to maintain oral and overall health.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

4 Tips for Caring for Your Child's Teeth

Little hands don’t always like to brush little teeth. Dr. Ian Gray and staff happily provide you with tips on how to care for your young one’s teeth—even if they don’t want to. 

Start early
As with any good habit, instilling it early and with consistency is the best way to be sure that your child practices good oral hygiene. Teaching them when to brush, how long to brush and how much toothpaste to use, is very important. They may not be wise enough to know what this will do for their overall health in the long run, but you are, and if they see that this is something that mommy and daddy not only approve of, but celebrate, little minds will associate brushing their teeth with a positive outcome. 

Make it a routine
One way to be sure that they don’t see it as a cumbersome chore is to make it fun. Have them brush until you count to a certain number or finish their favorite song or nursery rhyme. Reward them for a job well done. Similar to the famous “potty chart,” you can give them a star for each time they brush their teeth. Let the sticker - itself be a reward or perhaps take them to get a new toy when they’ve filled up their chart. Your Newmarket family dentist wants your child to develop good habits from the start so they’ll always have a beautiful smile. 

Stave off a sweet tooth

It’s well-known that sugar and tooth decay are partners in crime, so be sure your child is eating a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, grains and proteins, limiting the amount of starches and sugars they eat. When sugar remains in the mouth, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. And while they may just be their baby teeth, those little guys are the foundation for adult teeth and proper care for baby teeth is absolutely essential. 

Stop on by
Just as you should see your dentist every six months, so should your children. From the time they cut their first tooth, on, you should be bringing your child into Dr. Ian Gray twice a year, unless we request more frequent visits. 

Caring for your child’s chompers is just as important as caring for your own. Be sure they get a good, healthy start to regular oral care by visiting your Newmarket dental office, Dr. Ian Gray, today.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cavity Prevention Snack Ideas

If you have been trying to limit or decrease your sugar intake by eating only natural sugars, like those found in fruits and vegetables; but your mouth still waters whenever you're forced to wait in line and stare at the candy selection by the check-out counter...
What do you do?
We have five different snack ideas that are not only tasty, but help prevent cavities too!
  1. Seeds/Nuts (especially on top of yogurt or salads)
    • Rich in both calcium and/or phosphorous, yet low in sugar
    • Helps to rebuild and protect tooth enamel
    • Try snacking on nuts like: almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts
    • For those with nut allergies: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds
  2. Kale chips
    • High in calcium to strengthen teeth
    • Contains folate: a B vitamin that helps promote a healthy mouth, both inside and out
    • Other leafy greens include: broccoli, spinach, collard greens, bok choy, okra
  3. Celery with hummus, or with peanut butter topped with raisins
    • Chewing this firm vegetable promotes more saliva; saliva neutralizes cavity causing bacteria
    • Abrasive substance that naturally cleans teeth of plaque and other food particles
    • Also try other crunchy veggies like: carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower
  4. Apples (raw or dried apples)
    • Contains many beneficial nutrients and vitamins; apples are high in fiber and water
    • Similar characteristics to celery (abrasive and crunchy), and a good alternative if you can't brush and/or floss right after meals
    • Leaving cut apple slices out overnight removes most of the water, but you won't have to worry about any preservatives or added sugar
  5. Frozen grapes
    • Rich in antioxidants to fight bacterial growth
    • Low levels of starch prevent bacterial infections (less acidic environment)
    • A good source of vitamin C: a vitamin essential for protecting teeth and gum cells

Evidently, the most ideal foods contain high levels of vitamins, calcium and/or phosphorus. All of these nutrients strengthen your teeth, reduce the potential for tooth decay, and fight against cavity-causing bacteria. Although these snacks help to prevent and minimize cavities, they do not eliminate them; to further avoid cavities, it is crucial to continue practicing good oral hygiene.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup


Nothing beats the comfort of a warm and filling bowl of soup on a cold, snowy day. Here's a simple and delicious comfort soup recipe for you and your family to enjoy.

Prep Time: 20 mins

Total Cooking Time: 40 mins


  • 5 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Fresh dill weed, for garnish (optional)


  1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mix in leeks and carrots, and cook 5 minutes. Pour in broth. Season with dill, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Mix in potatoes, cover, and cook 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but firm. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  2. Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the mushrooms 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir into the soup.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the half-and-half and flour until smooth. Stir into the soup to thicken. Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh dill to serve.

Recipe courtesy: All Recipes