Removing Plaque is NOT a Do-It-Yourself Project

You may have seen plaque scrapers for sale at a store or online before and thought “I don’t have to even go to the dentist?! I can actually do this myself at home?”  don't remove plaque from your teeth at home

There are reasons why your dentist and dental hygienist have formal education – they are the ONLY ones who should ever be removing plaque from your teeth. Part of this education is having extensive training as to how to use dental tools safely and effectively.

Plaque scrapers are very sharp. Used improperly, they can severely damage your gum tissue and even cause gum recession. When your gums become recessed, the sensitive roots of your teeth are exposed. You could also injure your tongue, cheeks, or other soft tissues…and even get an infection. Not to mention, you could end up pushing tartar under your gumline.

So, the moral of the story is: yes, you should be concerned about plaque buildup, but ALWAYS leave your oral healthcare in the hands of professionals. Leave the do-it-yourself projects to fun things on Pinterest!

We are taking new patients at our dental clinic in Surrey. Call us today at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry to book your appointment: 604-593-8201.



What is the Difference Between Plaque and Calculus?

When you think “calculus”, you may be having flashbacks (and likely not favourable ones) from your high school or post-secondary days. It’s safe to say that everyone knows what plaque is…but not so much with calculus.

So what’s the difference?

Plaque:  plaque and calculus

  • Is a sticky, colorless film
  • Continually forms on your teeth
  • Houses bacteria
  • Secretes acids that lead to tooth decay and gum irritation
  • Can lead to periodontal disease and gingivitis


  • When plaque is not removed by flossing, brushing, and professional dental cleanings by a dental hygienist, it hardens and turns into calculus
  • It can ONLY be removed by a dental professional

So as you can see, these are just more reasons why you need to adhere to a solid oral hygiene routine: twice a day for two minutes at a time, including flossing.

Book an appointment with your dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months.

If you are located in Surrey, we would love to have you as a patient at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry. Call us today: (604) 593-8201.


No One is Immune to the Possibility of Broken Teeth

As you may know, enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in the human body, covering the outer layer of each tooth. This is why people are often confused as to how teeth can break. Not to mention, people often think that this sort of thing only happens to other people, and are rather surprised if it happens to them.

The bottom line is this: everyone is at risk if they don’t take proper care of their teeth. This applies to adults, as well as children.

Here are the main reasons why your teeth could be in danger of breaking: broken teeth surrey

Decay. If your teeth are decaying from the over-consumption of sugary foods and beverages in conjunction with plaque buildup, they are at a much greater risk of breaking. Too much sugar creates an acid which softens your tooth enamel. This can then also spread to the dentin that is underneath your enamel and form a hole.

Acidic Food & Drink. Over-consumption of acidic foods such as vinegar (in salad dressings or in pickled foods), citrus fruits, and alcohol all lead to dental erosion.

Biting Hard Food or Objects. If you bite something that is particularly hard, such as ice, a fruit pit (cherry, plum, peach), or some other random object like a pen or mouth piercing. You may be doing these things without really even thinking about it…which is why it is so important to be aware.

Opening a Bottle with Your Teeth. Many people think this is a cool trick to do to show off to friends. It’s not going to be very cool when you hurt yourself or break your tooth and then have to go through the discomfort and expense of having it repaired or replaced with a dental implant. Now, that gives the word “ouch” new meaning! broken teeth surrey

Tearing Off Stubborn Price Tags from Your Clothes. Even if you have been doing this type of thing for years…it doesn’t mean that it isn’t doing damage that will eventually catch up to you. Investing in a pair of scissors is a much smarter (and healthier) idea.

Not Wearing a Mouthguard While Playing Sports. There is no question that you need to protect your teeth while playing any type of contact sport. Back in the day, so many athletes lost their teeth (especially hockey players) from lack of teeth protection. There is no excuse now as to why you would choose to not protect your teeth. Think of it as a privilege.

Grinding Teeth at Night. This is often due to stress and anxiety, so if you are suffering from these things, it is a good idea to find ways to deal with them. Getting to the root of the problem is key. That said, if you do grind your teeth at night, protect them with a mouthguard. A plastic retainer helps too, if you may use one after Invisalign treatments for example.

Everyone is putting themselves at risk if they don’t take precautionary measures or proper care of their teeth. We can’t emphasize the importance of dental care enough.

Remember, once your enamel is lost, it’s gone forever. Take good care of your teeth, eat healthy, and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings every 6 months. If something feels off in your mouth, you don’t have to wait six months. It is always in your best interest to book an appointment asap so that your dentist can check things out and fix the problem before it escalates.

For family, cosmetic, and sedation dentistry in Surrey, call us at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry: 604-593-8201. We would love to have you as a new patient!


What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

When you think of ‘Burning Mouth Syndrome’, you may think of the time you ate screaming hot chicken wings or a jalapeno pepper. There is actually a real condition though called ‘Burning Mouth Syndrome’. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘glossodynia’.

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)?burning mouth syndrome

It is a hot sensation or feeling which can affect your lips, tongue, palate, and all other areas of your mouth. It is often described as feeling like you scalded your mouth (from drinking hot coffee or eating food before it cools off to a safe temperature for example). It’s definitely not a walk in the park to have this condition and can be quite uncomfortable and lead to frustration.

Other symptoms of BMS may include:

  • Tingling or numbness of your mouth or tongue
  • A bitter or metallic taste
  • A dry or sore mouth

What causes Burning Mouth Syndrome?

It is caused from changes in the way that the nerves in your mouth send messages about things like taste and temperature to your brain. (Which is why it is also sometimes called ‘neuropathic pain’.)

When your brain doesn’t understand these messages properly, it may cause the feeling of burning and/or pain. It is interesting to note that parts of your mouth that feel like they are burning will not be hot to the touch. There may also not be any redness or soreness.

Other possible causes of BMS (aside from nerve damage) include:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Hormonal changes burning mouth syndrome surrey
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Poor fitting dentures
  • Allergies to dental work or appliances
  • Acid reflux
  • Dry mouth
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • A fungal infection of the mouth (thrush / candida)
  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes

Can anybody get Burning Mouth Syndrome?

It is most common in middle-aged or older women who are going through menopause…although other people can suffer from it as well.

Do people get it at a certain time of day?

For some people it starts in the morning and peaks in the evening. Others may have it all the time. Some have it here and there.

How is Burning Mouth Syndrome diagnosed?

  • Oral examination
  • Investigate medical history
  • Blood tests
  • Swabs

How can I ease the symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome at home?

  • Ongoing consumption of water
  • Suck on crushed ice
  • Sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva
  • Avoid things that may irritate your mouth such as strong mouthwashes or toothpastes, hot and spicy foods, and anything acidic
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking (which is a healthy habit for anyone)

Visit your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect you may have Burning Mouth Syndrome (or just whenever you feel as though something feels strange).

If you think you may have burning mouth, book an appointment with your dentist. You will be able to sit down with them and explain all of your symptoms and have them examine you and/or also refer you to a specialist.

Need a dentist in Surrey? Come see us at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry!

The Best Way to Sleep if You Suffer from TMD

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Disorders, which refers to problems with jaw movement, as well as pain in and around the jaw joints. Sounds painful, right?!

As you know, sleep is so important for the body to re-energize and repair itself. In addition to making you feel more rested and refreshed, proper sleep is key for lowing the risk of health issues too.

Negative effects of not getting enough sleep:  TMD and sleep

  • Increased pain for those who suffer from chronic illnesses
  • Changes in mood (and not in a good way)
  • Elevated stress hormones
  • Increased risk of obesity
  • May raise the risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases

When suffering from TMD, people often have more difficulty falling asleep…as well as often struggle to get good quality sleep. Something such as being more cognizant of your sleeping position can help a lot.

If you are sleeping in a position that causes strain on your face, jaw, neck, head, or shoulders, this can make your TMD pain worse. People often clench their jaw and grind their teeth when sleeping, which doesn’t help matters either. This is obviously harder to monitor because you can’t control what you do in your sleep.

A good indication that your TMD may be aggravated from the way you are sleeping is if you wake up with pain or a headache.

So what is the best sleeping position if you suffer from TMD or orofacial pain?

The answer is lying on your back! This is because:

  • Your head, neck, and shoulders will be properly supported
  • You won’t have extra pressure on your jaw
  • Your body will be kept in alignment, with your neck, head, and spine in a neutral position
  • There will be less chance of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw

You may have to get into the habit of sleeping on your back, but it can be well worth the effort to relieve your TMD. A small pillow places under your knees or under the arch of your spine can help and make you more comfortable. You may also want to explore reclining beds.

Call us to book an appointment if you are experiencing signs of TMD in Surrey.  We will get to the root of the problem!



How to Control Tartar Buildup on Your Teeth

Before we get into how you can control tartar buildup on your teeth, let’s get clear on what tartar is…

Bacteria in your mouth mixes with proteins and by-products of food to form a sticky film…also known as plaque. Plaque coats your teeth, weasels it’s way under your gumline, and sticks to dental work. And as you know, the result of that, is often nasty cavities and gum disease.

When plaque stays on your teeth too long, it hardens into tartar (also known as calculus). Tartar forms above and below the gumline…and is quite porous and rough. Too much tartar can lead to receding gums and gum disease.

tartar buildup on teeth

It can actually make it more difficult to brush and floss. Plus, you cannot brush away tartar. It has to be removed by your dentist with special tools and care, as to not cause further damage to your mouth.

Here are the Best Ways to Control Tartar:

  • Good dental hygiene – brush twice a day for 2 minutes at a time.
  • When you brush, ensure that you cover all surfaces of your teeth – don’t miss your back molars.
  • Floss daily and thoroughly. Be sure to get all of the hard to reach areas.
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
  • Use an electric toothbrush vs. a manual one.
  • Buy toothpaste with “tartar control” and fluoride to help protect your enamel.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink a lot of water (the recommended 8 glasses per day is ideal).
  • Stop smoking. It’s known that smokers are more likely to have tartar buildup. (Just one more reason to quit that bad habit!)
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and checkup.

Located in Surrey? We would love to have you and your family at our dental clinic. Call us to book an appointment today: 604-593-8201





11 Important Things Often Overlooked That You Can Donate to People in Need

When you give to people in need, it’s not just about making a donation. It’s about making a difference. Plus, it feels great and can help make you feel more appreciative for what you have, when you think about how much others lack.

donations love

When people think of making donations, they often think of non-perishable food items or giving away old clothes, but there are so many other key things to take note of, such as:

Dental Supplies – Can you imagine not being able to afford supplies for proper oral hygiene? Not to mention, be unable donate dental suppliesto  afford professional dental care. By donating dental supplies, you can help people keep their teeth as healthy as possible, as well as prevent any issues from arising. Think toothbrushes for all ages (manual and battery operated), dental floss, and toothpaste.

Toilet Paper – Usually the first thing to fly off of the shelves at donation centers. Everyone needs it several times a day, after all.

donate toilet paper

First-aid Items – Everyone should have items on hand to nurse injuries such as bandages, medicated wipes, gauze, ointments, Tylenol.

Diapers – People often think to donate used baby clothes, but it is way less common for people to donate diapers. Think baby wipes and baby powder too. Adult diapers are needed as well.

Personal Hygiene Products – Think non-allergenic and unscented soaps and deodorants, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and razors. If you travel often, it is a great idea to take the complimentary bottles that they leave in the bathroom and donate those!

donate shampoo surrey

Socks and Underwear – These should technically be donated as “new” items. Keep your eyes open for sales or visit discounted stores so your money can go further.

Blankets – Everyone needs blankets…especially homeless people. Keep this top of mind when the temperatures drop. donate blanket surrey

Spices – If people can barely afford to eat, spices are not their first priority, so they are welcomed. Imagine not being able to season your meat or side dishes? Think salt, pepper, seasoning salt, cinnamon, garlic salt / powder, basil, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, paprika, and the like.

Old Cell Phones – If people don’t have a phone, period…they won’t be picky as to which brand or model it is, as long as it works. donate old cell phones surrey

School Supplies – Parents have so much pressure when it comes to child-related expenses…and we know how many of those pop up. Help them out by buying notebooks, pens, pencils, felt markers, pencil crayons, scissors, backpacks, lunchboxes, calculators, binders, and the like. And remember, supplies are needed throughout the year…not just at the beginning of the school year.

Bikes – These can help people who don’t have cars or bus passes to get from point A to B.

Donate today and make a positive change in someone’s life.

Looking for a dentist in Surrey? Call us to book an appointment for family and cosmetic dental care today: 604-593-8201.


Ways to Prevent Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. When they stop breathing, it can make them almost feel like they are choking and startle themselves out of sleep. People who snore loudly or still feel tired after a full night’s sleep may be suffering from sleep apnea. These problems can also lead to other health issues like heart disease and obesity.

There are 3 types of sleep apnea:  prevent sleep apnea

(1) Central sleep apnea – when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing

(2) Obstructive sleep apnea – when your throat muscles relax

(3) Complex sleep apnea – when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

So, it goes without saying that if you have sleep apnea, you definitely want to take steps to put a stop to it and improve your quality of life and overall wellness. You don’t have to suffer with this problem for the rest of your life. It is treatable.

How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?

Your dentist may be able to provide you with a customized comfortable and compact oral appliance to wear while you are sleeping. These appliances look similar to mouthguards or retainers. They work by holding your jaw in a comfortable position to keep your air passages clear which helps to facilitate easy breathing.

If you are concerned that you may have sleep apnea, visit your doctor for an official diagnosis, then call your dental office to see if they can help.

Other things you can do to help prevent sleep apnea:

  • Stop smoking, as it causes inflammation and fluid retention in your throat and upper airway.
  • Avoid sedatives, sleeping pills, and alcohol, as they will relax the muscles in the throat that interfere with breathing.
  • Get a lot of exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

Are you looking for a dentist in Surrey? We would love to have you as a patient at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry! Call us to book an appointment today: 604-593-8201.



Ways to Decrease Your Morning Breath Situation

Most people would agree that bad breath is one of the biggest turn offs and one of the worst ways to make a first impression. In many cases, bad breath is due to poor oral hygiene. Morning breath, however, is a bit more out of your control. You could brush and floss before bed, and still wake up with a bitter or sour-like taste in your mouth. That said, there are things you can do to get this embarrassing issue more under control.

ways to prevent morning breath

Prevent Mouth Breathing

Sleeping on your side or stomach may be all that you need to stop from mouth breathing at night that causes dry mouth. When your mouth is more dry, you have less saliva…and you actually need saliva to kill bacteria because bacteria thrive in a dry environment.

Practice Thorough Brushing & Flossing

Make sure you are brushing and flossing thoroughly and for a full two minutes. People often just do a quick 30 second drive-by in their mouths and think that’s adequate. It’s not. Did you know that bacteria feed off of the teeny bits of food in your mouth and the pieces that get stuck between your teeth? Volatile sulphur compounds are then released through anaerobic respiration…hence the terrible smell.

If you keep up with a good morning and evening routine, you’re going to notice a positive difference with a good old-fashioned teeth brushing…as long as you put the time and effort in to do a good job.

Scrape Your Tongue

A tongue scraper will only set you back a few dollars financially and it will be a win for your mouth. Food particles can get easily lodged on your tongue (even if you can’t see anything when you look in the mirror).

tongue scraping bad breath

Use Alcohol-free Mouthwash

Many mouthwashes have alcohol, so ironically they can dry out your mouth and perpetuate the problem. To increase your odds of having good breath, you need a moist mouth…so drink lots of water and use an alcohol-free mouthwash or rinse.

Eat Foods that Stimulate Saliva

Your mouth stimulates saliva whenever you eat, but ideally, you want to focus on crunchy veggies and fruit. They will help keep the surface of your teeth clean too!

There is definitely something to say for the “eat an apple a day” analogy!

More questions about bad breath or morning breath in particular? Ask your dentist.

If you are looking for a dentist in Surrey, we would love to have you as a patient at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry. Give us a call: 604-593-8201 and book an appointment for you and your family today!






Oral Health Risks with Tongue Piercings

When people think of tongue piercings, they usually just think of how they will look aesthetically…and that they will look cool. No one really thinks of how they could negatively affect your oral health.

oral health risks tongue piercings

For starters, it can take a couple of months for a tongue piercing to heal. During this time, it is so important that you clean your tongue thoroughly, as well as clean the hole with antiseptic to help prevent infection after each time you eat or smoke. If you do not keep things clean, the bacteria in your mouth can lead to swelling and infection. Your mouth is a moist environment, so bacteria multiplies at a rapid pace. If your tongue was to swell, there is also a risk that it could end up blocking your airway.

You also need to be aware that there is a risk of chipping or breaking of the teeth…which would have to be repaired with crowns or fillings. This could be due to biting down on the jewellery or having it rub continuously against your teeth. You could also end up having issues with sensitive teeth because of this.

There is also a chance you could experience nerve damage from the piercing, which in most cases would be temporary, but there is a risk of it being permanent. Injured nerves can also affect your taste, as well as how you move your mouth.

What are the main things to do when having a tongue piercing?

  • Before you get the piercing, you want to ensure that you are not allergic to the metal.
  • Keep the jewellery clean, ensuring the cleaners are non-toxic, as well as rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Always remove the jewellery if participating in sports. When putting it back in place, always ensure it is tightly fastened so that you don’t accidentally swallow or choke on jewellery.
  • If you have even the slightest concern that an infection may be brewing, seek medical attention immediately, as things can escalate quickly.

It’s important to know the risks involved and to be sure you will not be bothered by the extra responsibility this will add to your daily life. Have other questions? Be sure to ask your dentist.

Looking for a dentist in the Surrey area? Give us a call at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry. We would love to have you and your family as new patients!