Everyone wants whiter teeth but at what cost?

                                             white teeth red lips

There are so many products out there. How are you supposed to know what will work for you?

Professional whitening systems have been around for decades. They have been tested and proven to work. I myself have used them since dental school. There was initial concerns with sensitivity but this has become less of an issue since the formulation has been changed and improved. The technique is very simple and safe and the risks are minimal.  Custom trays make applications easy whether you do DAY TIME or NIGHT TIME treatments. When prescribed by a dental health care professional you get the best results you can possibly get.

And then there are endless over the counter products. The lasted craze are the ACTIVATED CHARCOAL TOOTHPASTES.

Charcoal comes form coal, wood or petroleum. Activated charcoal is created when the coal is heated in the presence of a gas. This product has more space or internal “pores which gives the charcoal the ability to trap chemicals.

Activated charcoal has been used in medicine to treat poisonings, reduce intestinal gas (flatulence) and lower cholesterol levels. Activated charcoal is also used topically in bandages for helping heal wounds and to improve the appearance of skin. Most recently it has been used in the treatment of acne by purifying pores.

So can activated charcoal whiten your teeth if it binds to toxins? There is no formal evidence that it does. The FDA has approved activated charcoal for health issues but neither the American Dental Association nor the Canadian Dental Association have currently approved it for use in dentistry.

Activated Charcoal has been thought to bind to the stain and absorb plaque therefore possibly making teeth whiter.


HOWEVER…..Activated charcoal is TOO abrasive and can cause long term damage and wear to teeth. So before using it ask your dentist if there are better alternatives and if not use it with caution.

If you still want to try to use this product to whiten your teeth then follow these simple rules:

  • try to use it only once every other week,
  • if you have a lot of recession you may notice sensitivity so stop right away,
  • use a toothpaste that you can rub on your teeth and not brush on (less abrasive),
  • and use a reputable band.                                                                                                                                                toothpaste

If you have unusual symptoms like bleeding gums and sore teeth speak to your dentists.

Word of caution…. Although anyone can purchase activated charcoal powder, you should consult a dental professional before using it. The best way to keep your mouth happy and healthy is to continue regular dental appointments.



       Cancer is a major burden of disease worldwide. Each year, tens of millions of people are diagnosed with cancer around the world.

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When a person receives the overwhelming news that they have been diagnosed with cancer the last thing they want to do is visit the dentist. A dental exam is important before any chemo and radiation in order to deal with any cavities, abscessed teeth, and periodontal disease that may become more acute during cancer treatment. Dental treatment may also be contraindicated during radiation and chemo when the immune system is compromised so it is important to get your overall health and oral health in optimal condition. This is even more critical when you are dealing with cancers of the head and neck as radiation will decrease saliva flow and increase risk of cavities. Saliva balances the acids in the mouth and once this is gone acids attack the teeth creating a cavity prone individual. Dealing with infections are harder and if there is a pre-existing infection you want to deal with it before cancer treatment to reduce risk of fever, infection spreading.

Your dentist may fabricate  custom fluoride trays that will help you reduce your risks of cavities during treatment and her or she will put together an oral hygiene routine that will help reduce any side effects caused by cancer treatment.

During cancer treatment dental treatment maybe contraindicated but regular care is recommended once you complete your treatment.

Side effect of cancer treatment may be

*changes in taste (dysgeusia) or smell

*dry mouth (xerostomia)

*infections and mouth sores

*pain or swelling in your mouth (oral mucositis)

*sensitivity to hot or cold foods

*swallowing problems (dysphagia)

*tooth decay (cavities)

If at any time you have concerns with any oral issues you should seek medical attention while some medication can be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms

Pass this along to anyone you know who is fighting this battle.


Dr. Sharon Walden




Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system. This system is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop.

When bacteria (germs) enter your tooth through deep cavities, cracks or flawed fillings, your tooth can become abscessed. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection in the pulp. If pulp becomes infected, it needs to be removed. An abscessed tooth may cause pain and/or swelling. Your dentist may notice the infection from a dental x-ray or from other changes with the tooth. 


If left untreated, an abscessed  tooth can cause serious oral health problems.

How is a root canal treatment done?

Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic (freezing).

To protect your tooth from bacteria in your saliva during the treatment, she places a rubber dam around the tooth being treated.

Your dentist makes an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system and the damaged pulp.

Using very fine dental instruments, she removes the pulp by cleaning and enlarging the root canal system.

After the canal has been cleaned, she fills and seals the canal.

The opening of the tooth is then sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling.

You may be prescribed pain killers and/or antibiotics to help with healing.


Tooth restoration after root canal treatment

After a root canal your tooth has to be restored to look, feel and work as much like a natural tooth as possible. Your dentist may use a permanent filling or a crown to restore your tooth. The choice of restoration will depend on the strength of the part of the tooth that’s left. A back tooth will likely need a crown because chewing puts a great deal of force on back teeth. If there is not enough of the tooth left, posts may be used to help support the crown.

What else should I know?

Root canal treatment may be done in 1 or 2 visits. After root canal treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. Bad pain or swelling are NOT common. If this happens, call your dentist.

You can still get a cavity or gum disease after a root canal treatment. Root canal treatment does not protect your tooth from other types of damage.

With proper care and regular dental visits, the tooth could last as long as your other teeth. Most of the time, a tooth that has had a root canal treatment can be saved.

However, there are cases where everything possible has been done to save a tooth and still the tooth must be extracted (pulled).

In the end please speak to us if you think you need a root canal. Its better NOT to google and hear it from the professionals.


As both a parent and a dentist I have many concerns about how we take care of baby teeth. Some parents think “what is the point of fixing or even brushing baby teeth since they will fall out?”
Is this true? By the age of 6 years old your child will begin to lose their baby teeth but until then we must take care of them. First of all they are important for the development of the jaw and face. They are important for the kids for social reasons as well. Missing teeth can compromise speech and therefore affect social interactions and self esteem. Of course we do need our teeth to eat. The baby teeth set the stage for the development of the adult teeth underneath. The baby teeth therefore holds that space for the new adult tooth and if this space is lost early because of a cavity, extraction or trauma then there may be an issue with crowding of the adult teeth.

So now that we agree that we need to take care of these cute “milk teeth” then lets review how to keep them healthy.
BRUSHING … All good habits start early so as soon as you see signs of teeth or even before you can start the daily routine. Start with a face cloth and wipe after each feeding. A gentle wipe with a damp face cloth will do. You may even want to get a rubber tooth brush that fits over your finger and have them chew on that. Me personally I had my daughter chew on a very soft infant toothbrush when she showed signs of teeth. She really liked it since it helped with sore gums. Just make sure to supervise them as you don’t want them to hurt themselves if they decided to put it in further in their mouth.

TOOTHPASTE…The type of tooth paste can be a real issue with some parents since they don’t know how to spit. If you plan to use non fluoridated tooth paste in the begging I recommend by the age of 3 they should start to learn how to spit and rinse to transition them to fluoride toothpaste. When using a fluoridate tooth paste only place the amount of a grain of rice.
Kids are particular with flavours so avoid the strong mint flavour until they are older. For now use the berries and bubblegum flavours. I even had one parent go as far as finding a chocolate flavoured tooth paste. Yes CHOCOLATE!!


FLOSSING…The dreaded “F” word. Yes your child should floss anywhere from daily or weekly depending on how the spacing of their teeth. You are not preventing gum disease but avoiding food from getting trapped between the teeth causing cavities. It’s a great habit to start early. Just ask us the next time you are in to show you how easy it can be.

Panic sets in when a parent calls me at the office and is concerned that their kid has a set of teeth growing behind the baby teeth. First of all this in NOT AN EMERGENCY. This is very common and happens mainly with the front top and bottom teeth. Also known as “shark teeth”. This happens when the adult tooth doesn’t grown right under the baby tooth therefore pushing it out. In certain situations the baby tooth may need to be extracted or the child and parent just need encouragement to make an effort to pull it out. Just give us a call and we will access the situation.



Grinding… my favourite. I think my daughter kept me up at night grinding her teeth and boy did she grind. So much that when her front baby tooth fell out there really was nothing left. Unlike adults kids grind and there is nothing we can do to stop it. A night guard is not the solution since they are still growing and a guard will not fit in a few months. So as long as they are growing we have to remind them during the day to stop and at night well… ear plugs? Kids grind due to stress but also they grind as their jaws grow and teeth shift the teeth don’t meet so they grind to make them fit. They most likely will grow out of it

Ok I could go on and on.
Hope you are all having a wonderful summer and hope this helped the new parents.

‘Let us keep you smiling’

TO FLOSS OR NOT TO FLOSS? That is the question.

So in the summer of 2016 a study came out by a British dentist claiming that all the evidence to support flossing is weak and that we don’t need to force our patients to doing this dirty task any longer.
No sooner than the cat was out of the bag I was questioned by email, in person and by staff how do I feel about this claim. Well after 20 years in private practice I do see a benefit in flossing. WE see it daily with our patients who are regular flossers and those who floss the week before their visit or not at all. WE SEE RED which means inflammation.

Flossing removes the build up between the teeth that brushing alone cannot reach and by doing this we help prevent cavities and also gets rid of plaque in the pockets or spaces between gums and teeth. This ultimately helps prevent gingival inflammation, bone loss and cavities.

The British dentist claimed that the studies are all flawed because they lacked strong evidence to support flossing and studies were too short. The argument is that studying the effect of flossing alone in tooth decay and gum disease would be very difficult as there are so many factors that contribute to gum disease. It would make it nearly impossible to isolate flossing alone and test its effect. Gum disease and tooth decay have multiple risk factors and they can take a long time to develop.

So at the moment due to the nature of studies conducted there is not direct scientific evidence that flossing reduces risk of tooth decay and gum disease however, dentists ( my self included) have evidence in their practices that the mechanical removal of plaque between teeth , that hard to reach area, help prevent theses diseases. Not every outcome can be studied using a randomized clinical trial especially a chronic disease.

Think of how simple and cheap it is to floss and how much you can benefit from it.

So what are you waiting for? FLOSS!

Your feedback is welcome.



Congratulations are over due to Sherina and her family who welcomed their first child on July 23, 2016. IT’S A BOY! Wishing you and your family all the best.
Two months later Jessica and her family welcomed their first child as well. On October 23, 2016 another boy was welcomed.
From all of us at Dentists on Bloor hope you are all doing fine and can’t wait to meet the boys.

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Terry Fox Run/ Walk September 18, 2016

On September 18, 2016, my staff and I completed the Terry Fox Run at the YMCA Central Location. This was a first time for many of my staff participating in such an important cause. Everyone managed to complete the walk despite the heat and different levels of fitness. Special congrats to the young members who were either walking, running, pushed or carried. Way to go guys!!

I would like to thank our patients, staff, and their family members, for their support and donations for this great cause. We exceeded our fundraising goal with all your help.

Thank you for a wonderful day and hope to see you next year walking with us.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sharon Walden

New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year!

After the holidays we are all in need of New Year’s resolution since we have all indulged in too many sweets, too much good food and strayed away from our routines. So why not start with your oral health?

Here are just a few tips to help you start the year on the right foot.

I know most of you forget to floss and will try to make up for it the week or day before your dental visit. Don’t fool yourself. Your hygienist and dentist will know if you have been flossing regularly. Your gums and teeth don’t lie. So make it a habit and floss every day. Flossing doesn’t have to be that hard since you can floss before or after you brush or even when you remember throughout the day. JUST DO IT! It will prevent you from getting cavities, save you from gum disease and even help your overall health.

Try to book regular check up and cleanings. Whether you need 3, 4 or 6 months intervals don’t let too much time go in between visits since your dentist can help detect problems early before it becomes painful and expensive to fix. With advances in technology (digital x-rays) we can find problems early and treat them easily. Stay on top of your health.

Watch your diet. We are all eager to lose a few pounds that we have gained over the holidays. Watch the sugar and carbohydrates you eat since they fuel the bacteria that are in your mouth that cause cavities. Gluten free sometimes has more sugar than you think. Also eating too frequently can attack the enamel that protects to tooth and lead to sensitivity and tooth decay.

Smile more! (Apparently you burn more calories) If you had too much red wine over the holidays and feel that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be then you might want to try whitening your teeth. Dentists have special bleaching agents that can help you safely brighten your smile. You can do it during the day with DAY WHITE or at night while you sleep with NIGHT WHITE. Make sure to ask your dentist the next time you are in to find out what fits best for you. Over the counter products may also be an option but are just not as powerful and need more time.

Feel free to contact me anytime with your questions or concerns

Wishing a happy and healthy 2016!


Welcome to my dental blog.

As a busy mother of 3 active kids and  a professional I know how hard it is to find the time to do anything for yourself.  I’d like to take the time and answer some questions that I often get asked in my practice and at home.  I won’t take up much of your time as I know how valuable time is theses days. I hope that you find useful  information with my blogs to help you and your family lead happy and healthy lives.

I often get asked   “What is a good toothbrush for my kids ?” Should I be using Manual or Electric?

When it comes to your kids make it fun!  Have them pick their toothbrush but here are some things to consider:

  • make sure the head is not too big so it can easily reach all parts of the mouth
  • choose one that has soft bristles
  • select one that fits comfortably in your or your kid’s hand

And most important brush properly at least twice a day.

How you care for your toothbrush is equally important:

  • don’t’ share your toothbrush
  • change your toothbrush after you have been sick
  • after brushing wash your toothbrush with warm water and let it air dry ( do not put it in a closed container)
  • replace your toothbrush every 4-6 months (kids chew their toothbrushes so you may have to change theirs more often)

Be carful of how you use electric toothbrushes especially if you have receding gums. You could actually be making things worse. There are special toothbrushes and techniques. So the next time you visit your dentist take your electric toothbrush and your questions or book a consultation at my office. I’d be glad to help show you how to take better care of your gums and teeth.

I hope this was helpful.

If you have any questions feel free to write me

Keep smiling

Sharon Walden