My hygienist told me I have gingivitis. How do I know if I have gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums.  Signs that you may have gingivitis are red puffy gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss them.

                                  Related image

There are 2 types of gingivitis:

Dental plaque gingivitis-caused by plaque, medications or systemic factors

Non plaque gingivitis-caused by fungus, viruses, genetic factors, foreign bodies and allergic reaction

Plaque is that sticky colourless biofilm that constantly forms around your teeth. The plaque contains millions of bacteria (germs) which causes your body to react creating red swollen gums. Some people have a more severe reaction to the plaque than others causing more pain and swelling. If plaque is not removed in a timely fashion it can also create tartar which is hard and cant be removed with flossing or brushing.

So…..If your gums are red and they bleed when brushing or flossing you may have gingivitis. 

What can I do to fix it?

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, mouth rinses, or mouthwash can help keep things healthy.  An alcohol free antibacterial rinse helps to kill bacteria left behind by brushing and flossing.  It gets all the bacteria on the roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks and all the places your toothbrush can’t reach.  It helps to reduce the number of bad bacteria so the good bacteria in your mouth can thrive and build up your natural defences.  If used as directed by your dental professional it can really help to reduce plaque bacteria in your mouth and reduce gingivitis.

                                 Image result for brush floss images

Your hygienist can also help you during your regular dental check ups with tips and advise on what areas you are missing in your mouth.

The good news is gingivitis is reversible.

Interesting fact:

* Gingivitis is the second most common oral disease after cavities affecting more than 75% of the population worldwide

About 90% of those adults dont even know they have gingivitis (gum disease is silent)

* Men are more likely to have gum disease than women

* Gum disease is contagious

* Dental implants can get gum disease as well

So before you see pink in the sink make sure you take care of your pearly whites and the pink gums in between.


“I eat healthy!  I don’t eat sweets or candy and  I don’t put sugar in my coffee and I avoid deserts. How did I get this cavity?”


Image result for image cavity

This is often the reaction I get when a patient is  told they have a cavity. We forget that  carbohydrates in some healthy foods breakdown into sugars that are used by the bacteria to create cavities. These include fruits and starchy vegetables, whole wheat bread, pasta brown rice, potatoes only to mention a few. Don’t forget white rice and pasta , cereal, oatmeal, pita bread, roti, crackers and chips.

So good oral health is dependant on many factors. Let’s start with proper and frequent removal of oral bacteria that includes brushing, flossing and even oral rinsing. These should be done daily based on your need and current periodontal condition.

Image result for image floss and brush

Regular dental cleanings by your hygienist and examinations by the dentists are also part of this overall care. The frequency should be determined based on your ability to remove plaque or tendency to build tartar. Your nutrition plays a huge factor in your oral health as well and your immune system.


So how are cavities formed?

Most of us are aware that sugar in our diet cause cavities. The bacteria feed off the leftover sugars and produce acids that then attack the enamel tooth surface leaving it damaged. This is the formation of the cavity. Other bacteria multiply and live along the gum surface creating a film that irritates the gum causing bleeding (gingivitis) and irritating the bone causing bone loss (periodontitis).

Image result for image of cavity formation

So not only what you eat but also how often you eat  has a huge impact  on cavities and gum disease.

Fruit juices and sodas are significant factors in causing cavities. Fruit juices should be diluted and limit the soda consumption. Lemon water, even though healthy for our gut, is bad for the enamel. Long term consumption will lead to enamel erosion which in turn can cause tooth sensitivity.  Even your glass of wine and your so called “healthy” sport drink are  very acidic fort he teeth. MODERATION is key and avoid sipping them through out the day. One tip that may help is sipping water after these drinks or eat cheese to help neutralize the acids. Not all dairy products are the same since some do contain hidden or added sugars. Don’t brush your teeth for 30 minutes after consuming theses acidic drinks to allow the saliva to remineralize the surface.

Image result for tooth erosion

Avoid frequent snacking unless you are on a special diet. If you are then make it a point to brush and floss more frequently and drink more water. Fluoridated tap water is recommended since fluoride helps strengthen teeth against the acids.

Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol, found in many foods can help reduce cavities. It reduces the levels of cavity causing bacteria and is not converted to acids like the happens with other sugars. INTERESTING FACT xylitol also reduces some bacteria that cause ear infections. Xylitol is found in gum and certain candies that are prescribed to reduce risk of cavities. So I would suggest having a piece of xylitol gum if you can’t brush.

I hope this helps you better understand the factors that created that cavity you have. Oh ya, don’t forget GENETICS. It also plays a factor on cavities but you have little to no control over that.


Thanks Sherina for the information and tips.

Feedback is always welcome

Dr. Sharon Walden




I often get asked the question “How long do I need to wear this wire behind my teeth after orthodontics?”  “I have had this wire on my bottom teeth for so long and I hate to floss. Can I take it off?”

                       Image result for ortho wire fixed image

So for those of you who suffered through years of orthodontics, wires, elastics and that metallic taste you DO NOT want your teeth to get crowded again. So we, myself included, put up with this wire glued to our front teeth and the hassle of flossing under it. I knew I was not the greatest flosser when it came to those front teeth. I did try with floss threader and super floss but it was not done daily. The idea is to hold our teeth in the perfect position but at what cost? I felt my teeth were straight but I was neglecting the gums and bone. So when my wire broke it was the best opportunity after 10 years to remove the rest of the wire and make a removable retainer that I would wear daily to hold the teeth in position and be able to floss with greater ease. I was in the clear.

When patients ask me if they can remove the wire I tell them that they can. They will have an  easier time flossing BUT the MUST wear a removable retainer that will prevent the teeth form shifting back and crowding. The retainers are now made with clear material that can be worn day or night and are very comfortable. I know your gums will appreciate it and so will your hygienist when they need to clean all the tartar and stain that never gets removed.

More orthodontist go with a removable retainer option if they feel that you are responsible enough to remember to wear it. For those patients less responsible the fixed retainer will be the better option. However, it can be replaced later on to a removable one once we feel hygiene is a problem or removable option can be worn reliably.

Image result for ortho wire fixed image

So if you have a retainer that you struggle to keep clean, or is broken just ask us how we can make your flossing routine easier and more regular.


                            Image result for ortho wire flossing image

                                 Image result for ortho wire fixed image

Smiling burns more calories.

Dr. Sharon Walden

Dental Implants.

Have you been missing a tooth or teeth for a while or tired of wearing a loose denture? Dental implants can help address these issues.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is actually a root replacement made of titanium. This is placed directly into the jawbone where bone cells grow and adhere to it. In a few months, these bone cells attach to the implant, strengthening the implant to the jawbone giving it a very high long-term success rate (≥95%). Then the crown, bridge or denture can attach to the implant(s).

Image result for dental implant image


Why is it important to replace badly broken teeth or gaps?

Oral health

As soon as teeth are missing, there is an imbalance created in your mouth. The adjacent remaining teeth can tilt and shift to fill in the gap. This could further lead to gum and bone issues as it may become more difficult to keep clean or interferes with patient’s chewing abilities. Due to this, it is not uncommon for this to lead to losing several other teeth over the years.

Image result for shifting teeth due to missing teeth


Losing a tooth can put a lot of emotional stress on someone. In varying degrees, we are all somewhat concerned about our appearance, and it affects our confidence as well.

Image result for smile with missing teeth

To lose your perfect smile can cause depression and loss of confidence, which in turn may affect your work and/or personal life. Dental implants are often effective in boosting the patient’s morale and overall confidence. Since it is very difficult to see a difference between a replaced tooth and a natural one after the procedure, it can positively impact one’s physical appearance.

The comfort

Having a broken tooth with sharp edges or exposed roots can cause discomfort especially while eating. It would be hard to chew a nice juicy piece of meat or other foods you may have once enjoyed simply due to pain or discomfort. In a way, losing your ability to properly chew food could stop you from enjoying a very big part of your life.

Image result for person with loose dentures

SO….. Don’t wait another day with missing teeth or uncomfortable dentures. Talk to us about your concerns. When it comes to dental implants you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner


Image result for person with loose dentures


Thanks to Dr. Kang for this great explanation of dental implants.


Let us keep you smiling



Marijuana, Pot, Cannabis, Grass, 420, Ganga, Weed, Joint. These are only a few  names for this street drug that has become legal in Canada on October 17,2018.

                                            Nicknames for Marijuana

I never thought that I would be writing a blog about Cannabis so openly but ever since the legalization in Canada I have been more aware of the side effects than ever before.

As you may or may not know cannabis is a psychoactive (mind-altering) drug from the Cannabis plant used for medicinal or recreational purposes.

You can consume it by smoking, vaping or eating edibles. Despite the medicinal benefits it may have, you need to be aware of the oral health effects.

ORAL CANCER. Like cigarettes, cannabis smokers are at higher risk of developing oral cancer from the drug itself and the carcinogens in the smoke. It can lead to oral tissue damage that can become malignant.

                                        Image result for image oral cancer

DRY MOUTH. Dry mouth is more than just a dry feeling in your mouth that you may be able to relieve temporally with a glass of water. It has long  term effects on your gums leading to certain gum disease and on your teeth  increasing risk of cavities.

                          Image result for image dry mouth

DENTAL PROCEDURES. When you consume cannabis you increase the risk of bleeding that can cause problems during extractions and delay healing. Also the effect of dental anesthetic may be altered along with other medications you are taking. Please avoid using before any dental procedures to avoid possible complications.

CANNABIS EDIBLES. Although you may think them to be yummy, hidden sugars in your baking goods can be harmful to your teeth.

                                 Image result for pot edibles

MUNCHIES. People are often very hungry after consuming cannabis so be sure to rinse with water and brush after you eat your snack.

STAINING. Cannabis smoke stains the teeth. Your yummy edibles  cause the  lose of tooth enamel and increases cavity risk.         

                           Image result for image stain teeth

So before you let Cannabis go to your head… or your mouth, speak to us if you notice any changes in your oral health before it becomes too painful and too costly. We are here to help.

Dr. Sharon Walden, DDS

                     Image result for cannabis flower




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.

ribbon hope

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.