Do You Know Much About Cleft Lips and Cleft Palates?

You have probably heard of a cleft lip and a cleft palate, but do you know much about them?

Sadly, they both happen during fetal development. It is a defect that may either be genetic in nature, or due to the result of something that the mother was exposed to during pregnancy.

In a cleft lip, parts of the face that form the upper lift remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. These same type of splits can also happen in the roof of the mouth or palate, resulting in a cleft palate. A baby may be born with just one or both.

Other issues that may arise from a cleft lip or a cleft palate include:

  • Speech impediments cleft lip baby surrey bc
  • Difficulty eating
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Ear infections

It can be really hard on children as they grow up because they these defects affect their appearance, resulting in lack of confidence or poor self-esteem. There is good news though – both can be corrected with surgery, most commonly when the baby is between three and six months old. More severe defects may take more than one surgery.

If you know or suspect that your baby has either of these, and it was not noticed at birth, visit your doctor and dentist asap and get informed about possible treatments.

If you are looking for a dentist in Surrey, we would love to help you out at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry. Give us a call today: 604-593-8201.

So You Think Smokeless Tobacco Must Be Safer? Think Again…

More people have cut down on smoking over the years due to an increase in education, but according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the usage of smokeless tobacco (also known as chewing tobacco) has actually been on the increase since 2000. Quite alarming, right? In most cases, this is because it is perceived as less dangerous because it cannot be inhaled, therefore, has a much lower risk of leading to lung cancer. smokeless tobacco

When people use chewing tobacco, the chew sits along the gum line in the mouth, as the person sucks on it. Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it?!

This then causes saliva to build up, which is why people who chew tobacco will often spit. It is actually quite common among baseball players.

Nicotine is then absorbed into the bloodstream via the tissues in the mouth.

So then, you may have a much lower risk of lung cancer, but what about oral cancer? Oral cancer is a very serious disease to treat and can cause death.

Here are some of the frightening effects of oral cancer:

  • Depression oral cancer surrey bc
  • Decreased saliva in mouth
  • Loss of speech
  • Harder to eat
  • Head, neck, or facial disfigurement

And if that’s not enough to scare you (although I hope it is), well, you are sure to also have bad breath, stained teeth, sores in the mouth, bleeding or cracked lips, and even receding gums. And you know what receding gums can lead to? Tooth loss! And on top of that, it can definitely affect your dating and professional life.

Smokeless tobacco can also lead to:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure

All of which can put you at a higher risk of stroke, brain damage, and heart attack.

The moral of the story: no one wins with any type of tobacco product. Get the help to quit now!

Also, book an appointment with your dentist regularly for a checkup, cleaning, and so they can also check for any signs of oral cancer or other related issues. Call Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry for dental services in Surrey, BC.


Happy Holidays!

All of the dentists, dental hygienists, and office staff at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry would like to wish all of our lovely patients a warm, safe, and happy holiday season. Take it easy on the treats though and be sure to brush after meals!

surrey dental clinic

2018 was a great year and we look forward to seeing you again in 2019 to keep your smile healthy and bright!

Be sure to book your appointments for your 6 month check-ups and cleanings. Should something not feel right, do not wait for your 6 month appointment. Book in to see us as soon as possible. It is always much better to be proactive that reactive and catch things sooner than later if there is a problem. Not to mention, it can save you more money in the long run too!

Sending our best,

The Staff of Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry in Surrey, BC

Everyone Loves a White Christmas…

Many of the popular Christmas songs idealize the thought of having snow on Christmas Day, because it makes it that much more special. The same could be said for teeth in terms of having a beautiful white smile to make you feel more joyful and confident in showing it off!

If you are stuck on gift ideas (especially for the person who seems to have it all), what about dental products? Everyone needs them and they never go out of style! Not to mention, this sort of thing is a much healthier gift than a box of chocolates.

Here are some gift and stocking stuffer ideas: dental stocking stuffer

  • Electric toothbrushes – battery operated ones decorated with cartoon characters for kids or more high-end ones like Oral B, Pursonic, or Sonicare for teens of adults
  • Replacement heads for electronic toothbrushes (these are great for people to have on hand, because they often use their current toothbrush head much longer than they should)
  • Waterpik – more effective than dental floss to reduce plaque & gum disease
  • Easy teeth flossers (a nice change from the regular dental floss
  • Good quality toothpaste for adults
  • Fun, glittery toothpaste for kids
  • A timer to help people track that they are brushing for at least 2 minutes – pick out a cute one for kids to give them an extra boost of motivation
  • Good quality mouthwash (this is great for family stocking stuffers as a combo with other dental items, but you probably won’t want to give this to friends or they may get offended and think you are trying to hint to them that they have bad breath)
  • Nice toothbrush holder for the bathroom counter
  • Travel toothbrush set for vacation or to easily keep in a handbag for everyday use
  • Sugar free gum such as Excel or Dentyne to chew after meals when it isn’t possible to brush right away

Knowing that you are positively contributing to someone’s health and well-being will make you feel great too! That’s what the Christmas spirit is all about after all, right?

If you or your children need a dental cleaning before or after the holidays, call us at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry today: 604-592-8201.



Did You Know that Coconut Oil is Good for Your Teeth?

In recent years, coconut oil (extracted from coconut meat) has become a household item because it has been linked to numerous health benefits. Did you also know that it is also good for your teeth?

Coconut oil is a unique fat because it is made of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). It is metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids present in other foods.

50% of coconut oil is made of lauric acid, which makes it the richest source of lauric acid. Your body breaks down lauric acid into monolaurin. Both of these kill harmful viruses, fungi, and bacteria that can cause bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay.

So how do you use it to aid in the health of your mouth?

Through oil-pulling. coconut oil for oil pulling

What is oil-pulling you ask…?

Oil pulling is a practice that started in India thousands of years ago that involves swishing oil in your mouth. It “pulls” the bacteria from your mouth.

The fatty acids in the oil attract and trap bacteria, which means that each time you oil pull, you are removing harmful bacteria and plaque from your mouth.

How do you oil-pull?

  • Put approx. one tbsp in your mouth
  • Swish it around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, ensuring that you push and pull it between your teeth
  • Spit the oil in the trash when you are done (avoid spitting it in the sink because it can clog pipes)
  • Brush and floss your teeth

Benefits of oil-pulling:

  • Reduces plaque
  • Fights gum disease (gum inflammation)
  • Helps prevent tooth decay (coconut oil attacks two types of bacteria that are mainly responsible for tooth decay – Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus)
  • Helps prevent tooth loss
  • Can help whiten teeth
  • Makes your mouth feel fresher throughout the day

When is the ideal time of day to oil-pull? morning oil pulling

The best time of day to oil-pull is right when you wake up, before you eat breakfast or drink anything. If you do it the same time every day, it can then easily become a habit in short order.

It’s pretty amazing how something so simple can positively affect your health. Give it a try!

Looking for family or cosmetic dentistry in Surrey? Give us a call and book an appointment today: 604-593-8201.


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!