Natural Smiles, the First Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic in Thunder Bay!

The First Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic in Thunder Bay. Our focus is to provide oral health care based on each individual client's need, to help you attain the smile you desire. 

Posts Under Oral Health

One problem with dry mouth is that saliva may be reduced by 50% before you realize you have the symptoms of dry mouth. At this point oral problems may have already set in!

Dry Mouth Symptoms Include:

*A feeling of soreness in the mouth
*Cracking at the corners of the mouth

*The mouth looking red and parched
*Difficulty eating dry or spicy foods
*Food just not tasting like it used to
*Difficulty speaking
*Bad breath
*A tendency to wake up more often during the night craving water

Dry mouth can also affect your quality of life. If not managed properly, the symptoms can cause anxiety, depression, low confidence and embarrasment! A lower mouth pH, as a result of dry mouth, causes a shift in th oral microflora towards cariogenic and halitosis bacteria, reducing tooth remineralization and increasing 3 x susceptibility to coronal and root caries.

Causes and Risk Factors:

* Aging 
* Medications (Allergy, Antibiotics, Antipsychotics, Cancer, Heartburn/GERD, High Blood pressure, HIV, Mental Health, Narcotics, Parkinson's)
* Chemo/Radiotherapy
* Physical trauma(blocked salivary duct)
* Health Condition (Sjogren's Syndrome, Diabetes, Depression)
* Aggregating Factor (snoring, mouth breathing, smoking, alcohol)

Prevention and Treatment:

* Sip water throughout the day
* Xylitol gum/candies
* Over the counter saliva substitutes
* Limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol
* Avoid smoking and tobacco products
* Eat raw carrots and celery to help stimulate saliva production
* Avoid sugary and acidic foods 

Remember to maintain regular dental hygiene appointments and carry out good oral hygiene at home!

In April as we celebrate 'Oral Health Month', and I would like to shed some light on the new trends in adult population: nicotine vaporizing and e-cigarettes also sometimes referred to as smokeless tobacco...The truth is, that the use of nicotine in any form is directly related to an increased chance of developing multiple types of cancer, heart or lung disease and other complications that may arise cause of that. 

Nicotine delivery via e-cigarettes allow users to inhale vapor conatining nicotine and or other substances and are typically battery operated and use a heating element to heat a liquid, releasing a chemical filled aerosol. In addition to pulmonary damage, vaporing negatively effects the epithelial rich lining of the oral cavity, which normally, rapidly sheds and regenerates to maintain the normal cellular equilibrium. Research found that users who vaped multiple times per day, exposed already damaged epithelial cells to the toxic substances, leading to oral ulcerations, potential mutations (palatal injuries, oral and nasal damage) and oral cancer. In addition, vaping makes it harder for the body to kill harmful microorganisms, leading to immuocompromise and illness. 

Immediate adverse effects of e-cigarettes may also be due to the variation in nicotine content of e-cigarette cartridges, from 3 mg to 24 mg and as high as 100 mg per cartridge.The elevated level can pose an increased risk of nicotine toxicity. Other adverse health effects known are seizures, disorientation, airway restriction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and burns from faulty devices.

Last but not least is the concern of its effects on nonusers, especially children. Overall users may be more susceptible to other diseases due to a decrease in immune response!
I found this list on the side effects of vaping, in the January, 2017 issue of RDH magazine and I had to share:


Dry skin
Dry mouth (xerostomia)                                                 Rash/Buring Sensation on face
Puffy/Dry Eyes 
Caffeine Sensitivity
Minor bloody nose issues
Throat irritation/dry cough/hoarseness
Mouth ulcers on palate, buccal mucosa and gingiva
Gingival inflammation
Dizziness and headache


We have been asked a lot of questions about pregnancy and how it effects the mother's oral health. Firstly, all pregnant women should seek oral health care, practice good oral hygiene, eat healthy foods and attend prenatal classes during pregnancy!

Concerns for calcium and tooth loss are simply not true, but a myth from the old wives tales....Yes, there are alternations in the microflora and microvascular casued by the high levels of progesterons, but with good oral hygiene and regular dental hygiene recare, optimal health care can be maintained. Even the use of radiographs, pain medications and local anesthesia is safe throughout pregnancy.

Watch for signs of inflammation and bleeding gums, specially pregnancy granulomas usually found on the buccal surface between the central and /or lateral insicors.

Good Oral Hygiene Tips:

Brush your teeth with a fluoridated tooth paste twice a day.
Replace your tooth brush every 3 or 4 months, or more often if bristles are frayed.
Do not share your tooth brush.
Clean between your teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
Rinse every night with an over the counter fluoridated, alcohol free mouth rinse.
After eating, chew xylitol containing gum or mints, which help reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

If you vomit, then rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water to stop acid from attacking your teeth and remember to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing!

Waterpik Water Flosser- "the easy and more affective way to floss!"

This Water Flosser is in fact an easy and affective method of flossing. It is easy because you simply fill the reservoir with warm water, place the tip in your mouth, position your face down toward the sink, and turn it on. You can even select a pressure that is most comfortable for you! Then, beginning with your back teeth, you trace your gumline while pausing briefly between each tooth. As you place the tip toward your gumline, using water pressure and pulsations, the Water Flosser cleans away plaque and other harmful bacteria from your mouth.

The Water Flosser is also very affective. Studies show that is removes 99.9% of plaque from your teeth. It is also 50% more affective than string floss when it comes to improving gum health. 

There are four different options to choose from when selecting a Waterpik Water Flosser. You can choose between a: Cordless Plus (a great option if you do not have much room in your bathroom), Classic (a great option for beginners), Ultra (if you have room on your bathroom counter, this is a great option with a larger reservoir), or Complete Care (the whole package- even comes with an electric toothbrusth). Photos below show the options in order as described.

Waterpik Water Flossers also come with six different tips to choose from. You can select a Classic Jet Tip, Toothbrush Tip, Plaque Seeker Tip, Orthodontic Tip, Tongue Cleaner Tip, or Pik Pocket Tip.

Waterflosser's are perfect for those who don't like to floss because it is not like the traditional method of flossing. So, if you are having trouble maintaining good flossing habits or if you don't enjoy using string floss, try out the Waterpik Water Flosser!

Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent disease’s that affects a large number of people of a variety of ages, and many of the sufferers are unaware of it. Periodontal disease does not just mean periodontitis, but also includes gingivitis.
Symptoms of periodontal disease can include:

  1. Bad breath that won’t go away
  2. Red swollen gums
  3. Tender and/or bleeding gums
  4. Painful chewing
  5. Loose teeth
  6. Receding gums

In the past periodontal disease was treated like an infectious disease and treatment included therapeutic measures in order to reduce the microbial burden in the mouth. This was done by mechanical debridement, antimicrobials, and short-term antibiotics. This method did help improve the disease, but the results weren’t long lasting. More recent studies have been done to determine that periodontal disease is more of an inflammatory disease and should be treated like one and in return it may help with other chronic inflammatory disease.

A chronic inflammatory response, like that found in periodontal disease, has a negative effect on the body since the body doesn’t have time to rest and heal, making it turn on itself. This is when we get the bone loss that causes receding gums and loose teeth that is common with periodontitis.  In response to this new data a drug called Periostat has been introduced. The drug helps stop the progression of periodontitis when used in conjunction with scaling and root planning. Periostat is a Collagenase Inhibitor, which is the enzyme that breaks down collagen and is produced during an inflammatory response. Collagen is found in the alveolar bone of the jaw and it is the breakdown of collagen that negatively affects the body and contributes to the other diseases associated with periodontitis like, coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes, and arthritis.

Even though science has come a long way in helping to eradicate periodontal disease the best method in dealing with it is to not let your oral health get to that point in the first place. Proper home oral health care and regular Dental Hygiene visits will help keep your mouth and your body healthy.

From April 9th to 15th was National Dental Hygienist Week and at Natural Smiles we celebrated the best way we could, with No-cost Dental Hygiene services. We were proud to take part in Gift From the Heart on Saturday, April 9th. We opened our doors and welcomed clients who cannot afford basic Dental Hygiene services and gave it to them for free. Gift From the Heart is an annual event that occurs across Canada in order to provide a basic health services for people who cannot afford it. GFTH was founded in 2009 and has provided over ½ million dollars’ worth of Dental Hygiene care since then. We were able to see eight clients that Saturday, providing them with Dental Hygiene instructions, scaling, and a fluoride treatment.

We were able to accomplish this with the help from the sponsors of Gift From the Heart; Henry Schein, CDHA, Paradise Dental Technologies (PDT), and some special help from the Northwood Shopper’s Drug Mart which supplied the items for our loot bags. We look forward to participating in this event next year and opening our doors to people who need it.

When we hear the words “Oral Cancer” we instantly associate it with cigarettes and tobacco products but there is more to it than that. There are many other risk factors that contribute to the rise in oral cancers; some of them can be controlled while others cannot. Excessive alcohol consumption, sun exposure, tobacco, and a low intake of fruits and vegetables can all play a role in your chances of getting oral cancer. Other factors to consider include age, race, socioeconomic status, and even gender. These cannot be controlled, which makes annual oral cancer screenings an important part of your oral health as well as your overall health.

You should be aware of any changes that may occur in your mouth such as soreness, and red or white discolorations that do not go away after 14 days. You should also be weary if any discoloration’s increase in size instead of healing. The good news is that with early detection most oral cancers can be dealt with easily, so make sure you are getting annual oral cancer screenings, which should be done in conjunction with your usual Dental Hygiene checkups.

Natural Smiles offers free oral cancer screenings as part of our New Client Dental Hygiene Exam which is achieved through palpation, a visual examination, and with our Velscope, it’s as easy as getting your picture taken. Talk to your Dental Hygienist about oral cancer screening today.

For more information: Oral Cancer Fact Sheet

As a parent one of the hardest jobs is trying to get your children to brush their teeth and to do a good job of it. We all know the importance of proper brushing, but with kids it can be a struggle. At Natural Smiles we have come across an App that helps with this problem. Philips Sonicare makes an electric toothbrush for kids that use Bluetooth to monitor your child's brushing habits. You do not need to purchase the toothbrush to use the App; it can be used with any toothbrush, whether manual or electric.

The App is designed to help kids brush for the recommended 2 minutes and is a visual aid for them to brush every tooth surface so they aren't missing areas. It also allows parents to keep track of their child's brushing habits such as occurences and how long they are brushing for. The App is set up to promote brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, keeping track and letting parents know if their children missed one or both. I will say that from personal experience my kids were excited about the App and they both woke up in the mornings wanting to brush their teeth. There are awards and badges that the child receives for brushing as well as gifts for the "sparkly" character that allows for some game play with the App. There are some added content for those who do purchase the Sonicare for Kids, it unlocks other activities within the App, but it is not necessary. If you are interested in purchasing the Sonicare we can order one for you and it will be at cost.

As a parent I really like the idea behind this App, I have already seen the benefits of it since both my children have been brushing their teeth longer and more often. The App is currently only available on Apples App Store, but they are currently developing it for Androids. The App is designed to have multiple users so each child can have their own dashboard. I highly recommend checking out this App if you are having problems getting your children to brush and brush properly. 

You can find the App on the Apple Store it is called Sonicare for Kids


The Team at Natural Smiles The Dental Hygiene Boutique want to make sure our clients, and even our future clients, are kept informed about the changing world of Oral Health. The best way to do this is to make sure they are educated on how to take care of their mouth's and body's. First we would like to address your current oral health and the ways in which you can improve it.

When we talk of oral health we don't just mean the teeth, we want to address the whole mouth. Step one in maintaining a healthy mouth is to work with your Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) so that you, with a little help, can develop a personal self-care program that is specific to your needs and wants. Step two is to follow through with it on a daily basis, such as brushing your teeth and tongue twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. Step three would be maintain steady Dental Hygiene treatments done at either 3, 6, or 9 month intervals (depending on your oral care needs). 

Another reason to talk to your RDH is so that you can receive Dental Hygiene instructions, this usually includes being shown the proper brushing technique that would best suit your oral needs. Improper brushing technique can cause tooth sensitivity, gum recession, and tooth brush abrasion. Most of these issues can be fixed or at the very least arrested by simply using the right toothbrush (soft bristle) and the proper technique.

So don't waste any more time, call and schedule an appointment with your Dental Hygienist.
Natural Smiles carries a variety of oral health produces that are all sold at cost. You pay what we pay.