Your Oral Health & the Holidays shares how to take care of your oral health this holiday season!

The holidays are a time for joy and celebration. But in the rush to buy your gifts and make dinner plans, there may be something you’re overlooking – your oral health.

You may be busy (and feel a tad overwhelmed) and this may cause you to neglect your oral-health routine. When people are stressed, they sometimes make poor lifestyle choices – smoking, drinking too much alcohol and eating more sugary foods – which increases the risk of serious issues including oral cancer, gum disease or tooth decay.

Here are some tips to prevent your oral health from suffering this holiday season.


Stress can have quite an impact on your oral (and overall) health. Stress can lead to bruxism (teeth grinding) and may lower your immunity to infections, such as gum disease, and colds and influenza. Try to manage and reduce stress in your life by eating well, getting plenty of sleep and exercising. If you don’t have time to exercise, a 30-minute walk every day is a good start.

Schedule dental examinations.

Get a dental exam before the holidays to make sure there are no current problems with your oral health. A cavity left untreated can become painful and can dampen any holiday spirit.

Maintain your oral health routine, even during holidays.

Brush at least twice a day and floss daily, and schedule and keep regular appointments with your dentist. Having good oral health habits throughout the year can see you through occasional indulgences. If you clench or grind your teeth, ask your dentist about getting a custom-fitted nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Be prepared for dental emergencies.

From a chipped tooth to a lost filling, a dental emergency can hamper any celebration. Talk with your dentist about his or her availability after hours and during the holidays. Your dentist may be able to provide you with an alternate phone number or the location of an emergency dental clinic in your area. Have this information readily available – post it on your refrigerator or by your phone. If a dental emergency does occur, call your dentist or alternative dental contact immediately. Explain your symptoms and ask to be seen as soon as possible.

Avoid activities that could injure your teeth and gums.

Don’t chew ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth; chew hard foods, such as nuts, slowly; and avoid using your teeth as scissors on tape, packaging or ribbon.

Eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

A balanced and diverse menu provides many nutrients to strengthen your teeth and gums, making them less susceptible to disease, including tooth decay. Greens and winter vegetables are great sources of vitamins A and C. Candies and other sugary treats are a big part of the holidays but enjoy them in moderation.

Chew on sugarless gum or snack on cheese.

This can stimulate saliva flow which will also help rinse your teeth of sugar and acids.

Avoid alcohol or limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

Moderation is key – when you drink, your mouth is exposed to increased levels of sugars and acids found in alcohol. This can be damaging to your teeth, especially if your alcohol consumption is heavy. Drinking water after an alcoholic drink will not only help rinse out the sugars and acids, it will help you avoid becoming dehydrated.

The holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry and with enough preparation (and self-preservation), you can celebrate them with a smile.


Your Health

Your Health:

The state of your overall health is directly linked to the state of your oral hygiene.

Many diseases affecting your health are linked to dental infections. These could be larger infections such as dental abscesses, advanced periodontal disease, or smaller, often chronic problems like gum disease, plaque-induced inflammation and gingivitis. These diseases are the direct or indirect result of the microorganisms that cause infections in the oral cavity.

Poor oral health is linked to:

  • Tonsillitis
  • Cardio-vascular disease
  • Diseases of the lung
  • Diabetes Mellitis
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological diseases
  • Gastric cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Spirochetes bacteria that can lead to Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Pick’s Disease (FTD, Frontotemporal dementia), Alzheimer’s and ALS

The best way to maintain your oral hygiene is to brush and floss regularly, and to maintain a consistent hygiene schedule with your dentist and hygienist.

The Canadian Dental Association provides more great resources on caring for your oral health and hygiene. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your oral health and hygiene.


Dental Dictionary

Dental Dictionary:

We want you to be informed and feel knowledgeable about your oral health and hygiene, as well as the services available to you. Use this dental dictionary or contact us to learn more!


A collection of pus. Usually forms because of infection.


A tooth or tooth structure which is responsible for the anchorage of a bridge or a denture.


A silver filling material.


An agent that causes temporary loss of sensation/feeling.


The front position.


The end of the root.


No micro-organism.


Wear of teeth due to activities such as chewing.


An injury that causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of the mouth.


A kind of dental x-ray which is taken with the teeth bite together. The main function of this kind of x-ray is to detect cavities in between teeth and height of bone support.


Whitening of teeth.


A prosthesis which is fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.


Teeth grinding.


The hard deposits on tooth structure. Also known as tartar.


The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are four of them. They are the longest teeth in humans.

Canker sore

An ulceration with yellow base and red border in mouth. It can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus.


Tooth decay.


A hole on the tooth.


A model of teeth.


The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.


An anti-microbial agent. It is available in many forms such as gels and rinses. It is an effective agent in controlling gum diseases.


A metal arm extended from a removable partial denture. It helps to hold onto natural tooth structure and thus provide anchorage for the denture.

Cold Sore

An ulcer or blister on lip. A form of herpes simplex.


White filling.


An abnormal bite relationship of upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth/tooth align toward the check/ lip side more than the upper teeth/tooth.

Crown (Porcelain/Plastic/Metal)

A crown is almost like a “cap” on a tooth. It covers the tooth partially or totally above the gum to restore its function and outlook.


A soft substance caused by the bacterial demineralization of enamel and dentin. An infection within a tooth. Must be treated.


A branch of medicine that involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of any disease concerning teeth, oral cavity, and associated structures.


The position, type, and number of teeth in upper and lower jaw.

Denture (Immediate, Complete, Partial, Over-denture, Temporary)

An artificial object to replace missing teeth and their neighboring structures. There are many different types of denture to satisfy different treatment requirements and patient preferences.


The person who specializes in fabricating dentures. A Denturist is not responsible for making any type of diagnosis or carrying out any other treatment (e.g. removing teeth).


A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.


The process of identifying dental disease.


The space between two adjacent teeth.


A direction indication in the mouth. It indicates the direction away from the middle of the jaw.


No teeth.


A department of dentistry involving diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental pulp (where the nerves and blood vessels are inside the tooth).


The process of the tooth appearing in the mouth.


The action of cutting something off.


When a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket.


A restoration placed on a tooth to restore its function and appearance.


A temporary denture to replace missing teeth during the waiting period for long term treatment.


A thread/tape that goes in between teeth for cleaning.


A compound of fluorine (an element) which be put in different forms such as water, gels, and rinses to strengthen teeth.

Fluoride Treatment

Teeth treatment with fluoride agents like gel or rinse. It helps to prevent tooth decay.


When a cusp of a tooth becomes weakened, a fracture may result. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root and damage to the pulp is commonplace.


A metal skeleton of a removable partial denture to support the false teeth and the plastic attachments.


Gum tissue.


The mildest form of gum disease: inflammation of gum. The earliest sign is bleeding gum.




Stop bleeding.


A condition where a tooth is not able to come in normally or is stuck underneath another tooth or bone.


A device (usually “screw-like”) put in the jaw bone to support a false tooth, a denture or a bridge.


A mold taken by some jelly-like material loaded on a tray.


The cutting edge of front teeth.


The four upper and lower front teeth.


A restoration (usually gold, composite or ceramics) fabricated in the lab that cements on a tooth like a missing puzzle piece. It helps to restore the normal function and outlook of the tooth.


The space between two adjacent teeth.


The side of the tooth towards the tongue.


The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw.


The last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.


A device to be worn in the mouth. Depending on the design of it, it prevents injury to teeth and/or jaw during teeth grinding or sport events.

Nightguard (Splint)

A mouthguard which is worn at night time.


The biting surface of the back teeth.


The way how the upper and lower teeth close together.


A restoration covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.

Open Bite

The situation where the upper teeth not able to contact the opposing lower teeth.


A special field in dentistry which involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities or facial irregularities.

Over Bite

The overlap of upper teeth and lower teeth when they close together.


The portion of filling material that hangs beyond the border of the cavity.


The roof of the mouth.

Panoramic Radiograph

An x-ray film used to obtain the wide view of upper and lower jaw and their associated structures.


An opening on a tooth or other oral structure.


The surrounding of the bottom of the root of a tooth.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease, ranging from inflammation to serious disease that may result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.


A specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease.

Permanent teeth

Adult’s teeth. The first permanent tooth usually comes in around 6 years old.


A piece of “nail-like” metal. It usually is used for better retention of a filling.


Is a biofilm that develops naturallyon the teeth. It gives rise to tooth decay and can lead to periodontal problems.


A process to make the tooth or filling or other denture smooth and glossy.


The false tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.


A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal or carbon. Its function usually is to support a big buildup on a tooth.


Located at the back.


An approval from the particular authority (usually insurance company in dentistry) before any action (treatment) is carried out.


Medication needing to be taken before treatment.


The two teeth located in front of the molar.


A written statement (from a doctor to a pharmacist) regarding the type, the amount and direction of the use of a medication for a patient. In dentistry, a prescription can also be a written statement for preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician.

Primary Teeth

Baby teeth.


The procedure of teeth polishing. It also means the prevention of diseases.


An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.


A specialty of dentistry involving diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.


The innermost part of a tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.


The removal of the whole pulp inside a tooth.


The removal of the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.


An x-ray picture.


The regular checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.


The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis back on the associated area.


An item a dentist uses to restore the normal function of a tooth or an area in the mouth. It can be a filling, a crown, a bridge, etc.


A device used for maintaining the position of teeth in the jaw in orthodontic treatment.


The process of repeating the root canal treatment.


The bottom part of tooth. It anchors the tooth to its supporting units.

Root Canal

The canal that runs inside the root of the tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth.

Root Canal Treatment

A treatment for the root canal inside the tooth.

Root Planing

The action of cleaning the root area of teeth.

Rubber Dam

A rubber sheet that fits around teeth. It isolates the treatment area from the rest of the oral cavity.


The physical removal of deposits from tooth and gingival structure.


A thin layer of plastic-like material covering the grooves and pits on a tooth to prevent cavity.


The use of medication to calm a patient.

Space Maintainer

An appliance to maintain the space between teeth.


An appliance or a material to prevent movement of a mobile part.

Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ)

The joint that links the two parts of the jaw.


An outgrowth of bone. It usually develops on the roof of the mouth or around the premolar area on the lower jaw.


A layer of tooth-colored material (can be porcelain, composite, or ceramics) that attaches to the front of the tooth. It is usually used to improve the appearance of the tooth.

Wisdom Tooth

The eighth (also the last) tooth from the middle of the jaw.


Dry mouth.


Your Oral Hygiene

Your Oral Hygiene:

Dental hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and the teeth clean to prevent dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

Brushing and flossing daily greatly enhances the overall health of teeth along with regular visits to your hygienist. Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health.

Your Hygiene Appointment

The Canadian Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist for a cleaning and check-up every six months to keep good dental health. The goal is to catch small problems early. We may suggest you visit more or less depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, problems that need checking  or treatment, how fast tartar builds up on your teeth, and so on.

A cleaning involves scaling to remove the build-up of tartar, and polishing using a paste to remove plaque. We do recommend fluoride to give your teeth protection.

A check-up involves X-rays yearly to check for cavities, bone levels and healthy roots. Dr. Kopec checks all your teeth and tissue to make sure all are healthy.

Proper Brushing Technique

1. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid damaging your gums and wearing away your tooth enamel.

2. Tilt the brush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line, and sweep or roll the brush away from the gum line.

3. Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back and forth strokes.

4. Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

TIP: If find yourself using too much pressure against your gums, switch to your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth – that’s the right amount of pressure to apply!

Proper Flossing Technique

1. Use a waxed variety to help the floss glide more easily between your teeth.

2. Use about 18 inches of floss. Start at one end of the floss and wrap between your index fingers on both hands, leaving  an inch or two to work with.

3. Gently follow the curves of your teeth, raveling and unraveling the floss as you go to ensure you’re always working with a clean section.

4. Be sure to clean beneath the gum line, but avoid snapping the floss on the gums.

The Canadian Dental Association provides more great resources on caring for your oral health and hygiene. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your oral health and hygiene.