Ottawa Blog for Braces, Invisalign & Orthodontic Treatments Ottawa

Toothbrush Buying Guide

bracesinottawa Whitening and Hygiene Comments Off on Toothbrush Buying Guide , ,

When taking care of your oral hygiene, the most essential daily activity you can do is brush your teeth. When brushing your teeth it is important to purchase one that will effectively and properly get the job done. Look for the Canadian Dental Association’s seal of approval to ensure that an independent body of scientific experts has evaluated the product. Additional considerations come down to making sure the design of the brush is effective by making your experience comfortable, efficient and personalized.

Manual vs. Powered

An alternative to manual brushes is a rechargeable electric toothbrush that can help you maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The brushing action of these “power” brushes is very different from the manual variety. The electric brush provides the movement and you only need to guide it. It might take a while to get used to, but the trick is simply moving it properly over the surface area of your teeth.

Electric brushes aren’t necessarily better for your teeth but they can make it more convenient for your brushing routine. Additionally, young children might find brushing with an electric brush more fun than with a manual one. If you have difficulty brushing with a manual toothbrush it might be worthwhile to give it a try and see if you find it more comfortable or easier. Essentially this distinction is simply a matter of choice and preference so try both and see which one you prefer.


An important decision when considering a purchase is the size of the toothbrush head. For best results and comfort, it is essential that this portion of the brush be properly sized for maneuverability and be capable of reaching every corner of your mouth. Make sure that you can properly reach to the sides and backs of your molars as well as having it fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. For ease of use, small-headed brushes are preferable over larger ones. When it comes to handle size, type and shape this is simply a matter of personal preference and you should pick the one that suits you best. Ask your dentist if you need a little more guidance on what size of toothbrush is best for you.

Bristle Variety

When visiting the drugstore you are presented with quite a few options when selecting bristles for your brush: soft, medium or hard nylon bristles. For most people the safest and preferred choice is soft bristles. When brushing too vigorously with medium or hard bristles you can compromise the strength of your teeth, damaging the gums as well as the root surface.

The shape of bristles can customize your tooth brushing routine even further. Available options include a cup shaped design to better accommodate the shape of your teeth, diagonal patterns to better clean the sides of your teeth or there might be slightly longer bristles intermixed that serve to get in between teeth while brushing. Look for brushes that features bristles with rounded tips for additional protection.

Toothbrush Care

Seeing as the primary use of a toothbrush is to eliminate bacteria from your mouth, you should take care that it is sanitary and bacteria-free. When going on a vacation or a trip you should cover it or keep it in a container to avoid the accumulation of dirt and harmful bacteria. When you are at home you should do the exact opposite and only store your toothbrush in vertically and in open air. This is to ensure that the moisture in the bristles can evaporate, which is important in the constantly humid environment of a bathroom.

You can explore using “toothbrush sanitizers” but there is no solid evidence that they work any better than rinsing with water and letting dry in open air. Do not attempt to sanitize your toothbrush with your oven or microwave; excessive heat will damage the brush. There is also no need to panic about a minimal amount of bacteria, which can be present on your toothbrush. The human body is constantly exposed to unfriendly microorganisms; the body is normally capable of defending itself through a variety of mechanisms inherent to how our body functions. With proper care by simply rinsing and air-drying, there is no adverse effect due to the bacteria on toothbrushes.

Each individual in your household shoÍuld have a personal toothbrush that shouldn’t be used with others. Sharing will cause an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms that might be harmful to everyone using the brush. With use, the bristles will become more worn and frayed which can lead to it being less effective in removing bacteria. To ensure good oral hygiene, replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months.

Brushing with Braces

Your routine when brushing remains the same while you have your braces. You continue to use the same brushes. You maintain a routine of brushing the fronts, sides, backs, chewing surfaces of your teeth. Continue to brush the tongue and roof of your mouth for a full two minutes. You can ask your dentist to prescribe you fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay even further. When your braces are nice and shiny with the brackets clear and clean, you’ve done a great job! If you need help, feel free to ask your Ottawa orthodontist for any recommendations.

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

bracesinottawa Oral Health Leave a comment   , ,

Valentine’s Day is a holiday all about love, but it often involves being very unkind to our teeth. Chocolate and sweets have become the typical way to show people you care in February, but we believe you can make that special someone happy with treats that won’t damage their smile. Continue reading for creative ways to spoil your friends and family this Valentine’s Day.

If you enjoy the tradition of sharing yummy snacks on Valentine’s Day, try making heart fruit kebabs. These treats are quick to make but will surely put a smile on everyone’s face. Start by placing strawberries onto a wooden skewer; their deep red colour and natural heart shape are super festive. Next, choose your favourite pink and red fruits to slice up and cut into small hearts using a cookie cutter. Create a fun fruit pattern on your skewer, present your healthy treat and enjoy guilt-free! In fact, with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and a little imagination you can turn almost any healthy snack or meal into a Valentine’s-themed treat! 

In our post Three Things to Avoid for White Teeth we discussed red wine being a major culprit for staining teeth. To keep your pearly whites intact this Valentine’s Day, we have a few different drink suggestions. There are plenty of tasty, lightly coloured herbal teas that will warm your Valentine’s heart without staining their teeth. For a Valentine’s Day theme, we suggest picking a tea blend in a pink colour or one with floral flavours. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even create a heart-shaped tea bag! We also love the idea of putting a twist on the classic chocolate-covered strawberries by making a strawberry smoothie with a few chocolate chips or some cocoa powder. Not only will it take much less chocolate to satisfy that sweet tooth, but you can also skip having the sugar stick to your teeth by using a straw.

For those willing to create completely new Valentine’s Day traditions, we suggest avoiding chocolate and wine altogether and making the day about spending time with loved ones or treating them with small but thoughtful gifts. Spoil your friends and family with a fancy new hand soap or lotion. Make it fun by attaching a gift tag that says “I was soapin’ you’d be my Valentine!” To get kids interested in Valentine’s Day without teaching them to expect candy, try playing a special game each year. It is easy to turn your child’s favourite game into a Valentine’s activity. For example, play musical chairs using paper heart cutouts placed in a circle on the ground.

Show your teeth some love this Valentine’s Day! There are plenty of ways to treat yourself and your loved ones that don’t involve damaging your teeth. Unique, heartfelt and homemade Valentine’s treats will be memorable and appreciated. Bonus points for anyone who gifts their Valentine with a new toothbrush. 

Don’t Forget To Floss!

bracesinottawa Whitening and Hygiene Comments Off on Don’t Forget To Floss! ,

Every January, many of us make resolutions to be healthier or set out to achieve exciting new goals. Unfortunately, by halfway through the month we have may already abandoned these promises to ourselves. The problem is not always that we don’t have the desire or willpower to stick to our resolutions, but that we simply get caught up in our regular routine and forget to incorporate positive new habits.

A very important resolution that we recommend everyone make is to floss every day. For those who already floss regularly, way to go! Keep it up! Flossing is easy to do and only takes a few minutes each day, but it can make a really positive impact on your oral health. The most challenging part of flossing is often just remembering to do it. Here are some of our suggestions for fun and easy ways to remember to floss:

Visual Cues

Tying a string around your finger to act as a reminder used to be a common practice. For an update on this tradition, try adding a bright ribbon to the handle of your toothbrush that will signal it’s time to floss when you feel it against your hand or see it in the mirror. You could also buy or create a decorative “Remember to Floss” sign for your bathroom and place it somewhere you will see it every day such as above the sink. If you prefer to keep it simple, a sticky note on your mirror would also do the trick!

Digital Reminders

For the technology lovers out there, we suggest using your smartphone as a tool for reminding you to floss everyday. The simplest way to enforce a flossing habit using your phone is to set an alarm with a label such as “Floss Your Teeth!” We recommend selecting a time you know you will be at home or able to access dental floss so there are no excuses. Try setting an alarm for shortly after you wake up in the morning or around the time you normally get ready for bed. There are also several apps you can try that are designed to digitally help people form habits, including one called Floss.

Buddy System

Finally, as with many other goals, it is easier to stick to a flossing habit if you have someone to hold you accountable. Find a friend or family member around Ottawa who is also trying to floss more regularly and agree that you will check in with each other once per day. You are more likely to floss if you know someone will be asking you and you will also want to make sure you’ve flossed before asking your accountability partner.

Making flossing a part of your daily routine is an important step in improving overall oral health. We hope one of our tricks for remembering to floss works for you! What are your best tips for creating a habit or keeping a resolution?

Tips for Maintaining Oral Health During the Holidays

bracesinottawa Oral Health, Whitening and Hygiene Leave a comment   ,

The holidays are fun and exciting, but from sleeping habits to nutrition many people’s healthy routines are thrown out the window around this time. It’s important to treat yourself once in a while, but maintaining balance can be difficult. Here are our tips for how you can enjoy the holidays without negatively impacting your oral health.


The first thing we recommend is keeping a strict schedule when it comes to your oral cleaning regimens. Eating more sweets than usual makes it even more imperative that you properly care for your teeth. Unfortunately, a busy social calendar means oral hygiene is not always a top priority. Try to do your more intensive cleaning including flossing and any orthodontic maintenance in the morning. You’re more likely to forget, skip or rush through your brushing routine after getting home late from a party or staying up to wrap gifts, so don’t put it off!


Speaking of parties, junk food and celebrations always seem to go hand in hand but they don’t need to. If you’re attending a potluck, why not bring a healthier alternative like a veggie tray? Crunching on carrots and celery will not only help you to resist snacking on sweets, they also act as a natural cleaner while you chew. When hosting a holiday gathering, be sure to add water to your drink menu. Sipping water after a glass of red wine or dark soda may help to prevent your teeth from becoming stained.


For the younger set of party goers, include a fun toothbrush and a new flavour of toothpaste in stockings to get them excited about brushing their teeth. The novelty of a special toothbrush may not last forever, but it should be enough to encourage children to keep brushing their teeth throughout the busy, candy-filled days until the New Year. There are plenty of options for kids’ toothbrushes from ones featuring their favourite cartoon character to ones that play music.


Our final tip is to not skip any dental or orthodontic appointments during the holiday season. If you don’t think you or your family members will be able to attend appointments, be sure to reschedule. Checkups, cleanings and adjustments are an important part of overall oral health and missing them altogether or delaying them for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your smile.


We hope you find our tips for maintaining oral health during the holidays helpful! Remember to be kind to your teeth during this busy time. What are some of your favourite ways to stay healthy while enjoying the festive season?

Fun Colour Schemes for Kids’ Braces

bracesinottawa Braces for Kids Leave a comment  

As a parent, you know that braces are important for your child’s oral health, but getting them to understand that may be more difficult. If your child is resistant when it comes time to visit the orthodontist, you may be able to get them interested in the appointment by asking which colour they’d like to choose for their braces. Especially for younger children, the independence of being able to select a colour scheme for their braces can turn what they may perceive as a scary experience into something exciting. If you need ideas, please take a look at some of our suggested colour schemes below:


If the time of your appointment matches up with a holiday season, different braces colours are a great way to get into the festive spirit! With Christmas coming up, red and green would be a great choice, or blue and white for Hanukkah. There are fun options for holiday colours almost any time of the year including Valentine’s Day in February, St. Patrick’s day in March and Canada Day in July. If you don’t want to commit to a colour that relates to just one day, why not match the season? A bright sunshine yellow for summer or cool blue for winter.

School Spirit

School spirit is in style any time of the year! What better way to show off your school or team colours than with your braces? Since school colours are generally quite basic, it is likely that your orthodontist will be able to match them closely to your braces. Be sure to give a big smile at any pep rallies or games! You could also use the colours of your favourite professional sports team.


Birthstones are a unique way to mark the month you were born. Jewelry with birthstones is very popular and your braces can also act as a fashionable accessory if you choose a colour inspired by your birthstone. While there may not be an exact match for some stones like pearl or opal, it is still lots of fun to choose a braces colour to represent your birthstone, especially during your birth month! You could also use a friend or family member’s birthstone to show that you are thinking of them. Create a new version of the friendship bracelet by alternating your braces colours between your birthstone and your best friend’s.

Choosing the colour for braces is definitely one of the most exciting parts of the process for kids and we hope our colour scheme ideas provide inspiration for you and your children. Let us know if you try any of them or if you have another suggestion! You can also visit our website to learn more about braces for children.


Images from: 

Three Things to Avoid for White Teeth

bracesinottawa Whitening and Hygiene Comments Off on Three Things to Avoid for White Teeth

They say prevention is better than cure and we agree, especially when it comes to white teeth. While teeth naturally begin to yellow with age, there are several things you can do that will help to slow down the process. Specifically, we recommend you avoid these three things to keep your smile as bright as possible:

1. Darkly Coloured Drinks

Avoiding dark drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine and cola is probably one of the most well-known tips for keeping teeth white. When you sip one of these drinks from a cup, the liquid hits your front teeth before you swallow it which can leave behind stains. There are a few options for those who want to enjoy their favourite beverages without staining their teeth. The first step is to try and find a light coloured alternative. For example, if you normally drink black tea you could switch to an herbal variety, or if you often have a glass of red wine you could trade it for a glass of white. If you aren’t able to find another option or really can’t give up your favourite treat, drinking it through a straw should help to reduce the amount of liquid that hits those front teeth.

2. Smoking

Smoking is another infamous culprit when it comes to yellowing teeth. You have probably seen a package of cigarettes with an image of a smoker’s unattractive smile on the back. It is so important to avoid smoking for your overall health and your smile is just one more part of your body that is negatively affected by smoking cigarettes. Smoking products are made up of a variety of poisonous chemicals which leave behind a sticky residue on the teeth. Stains begin to form with even just one inhalation and continue to build the more often you smoke. The only way to effectively prevent these stains is by completely avoiding all smoking products including cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

3. Sticky/Sugary Foods

You’ve probably been told since you were a child that too much sugar leads to cavities, but did you know it can also discolour your teeth? The same properties of sweets and candy that cause tooth decay can also result in discolouration. When you eat super sweet foods, bacteria in your mouth produce acids in order to break down the simple sugars and these acids erode tooth enamel, making your teeth more yellow as the layer underneath the enamel begins to show through. Sticky or gummy candies only make the problem worse by clinging to your teeth and making it more difficult for saliva to wash them away. If you need a sweet treat, we suggest you stick to pieces of fruit or try chewing a piece of sugarless gum.

A few small changes in your daily habits can really make a difference when it comes to maintaining white teeth. It may be difficult at first, but avoiding the three items mentioned above is an investment in your smile that will definitely pay off!


Illustrations from:

Three Common Misconceptions About Adult Braces

bracesinottawa Adult Braces Leave a comment   ,

Many adults settle for crooked teeth or an imperfect smile because they believe they have no orthodontic options to correct these issues. There are several different reasons people reject the idea of wearing braces as an adult, most of which should not be concerns at all. Here are some of the misconceptions about adult braces we often hear at our office:

Misconception #1: Braces Are Only for Children and Teenagers

It may surprise many people to learn that one in every five patients in orthodontic treatment is an adult. The idea that your smile can only be changed when you are very young is completely wrong. Just as it’s never too late to improve your physical fitness or nutrition habits, there is no age limit for improving your oral health or the appearance of your smile. We have treated patients in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s with great results. Adults can achieve the same benefits from braces as children or teenagers do including: aligned teeth, a more comfortable bite and the ability to brush and floss properly.

Misconception #2: Adult Braces Are Embarrassing

The word braces can automatically trigger images of awkward middle school students with brightly coloured metal covering their teeth, however, technology in orthodontics has come a long way from the head gear of the past. There are now several options for adults who want to correct their smiles while maintaining a mature and professional look during the process. Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear aligners which straighten teeth without the use of metal or wires and are nearly invisible. Incognito braces are customized brackets placed behind the teeth designed to deliver high quality results while being completely hidden from view. Clear ceramic braces work in much the same way as traditional metal braces, but provide a more subtle appearance with a colour very similar to that of a patient’s teeth.

Misconception #3: Braces Are More Painful for Adults

It is a common myth that orthodontic treatment will be more painful for adults since their teeth have already been in a certain position for so many years. In fact, adults undergoing treatment report the same level of soreness as children. Adults and children are typically most uncomfortable in the first 24 hours after an orthodontic adjustment and the discomfort normally disappears within three to five days. Patients who had braces as a child and remember the process being painful will be pleased to learn modern techniques and new technology are more efficient and cause less pressure on the teeth resulting in a more positive experience overall.

If you have been considering adult braces to achieve a beautiful smile, make chewing more comfortable or improve your overall oral health, we hope this information has helped to ease some of your concerns. Adult braces are effective, aesthetically pleasing, and cause a minimal amount of discomfort. We encourage you to read more about the benefits of adult braces and available treatment options on our website, or give us a call at 613-722-8500 to ask questions or set up an appointment.



« Previous   1 2 3 4