Are Your Teeth Prepared for Trick or Treat?

Halloween Party With Children Trick Or Treating In Costume

Halloween is finally here! While the kids are preparing their costumes and getting excited about all those treats, dentists and doctors are also gearing up for all those patients coming in with problems that are associated with excessive sugar intake and tooth injuries.

There are three important things that we want you to remember.

  • Hard Halloween treats can crack teeth
  • Sticky sweets are more difficult to remove from your teeth
  • If you don’t thoroughly clean your mouth and teeth after you eat sugary snacks, you are creating an environment for unhealthy bacterial growth and eventually, tooth decay

Halloween is fun and your kids will definitely want to be a part of the festivities. But you might want to take an active participation this year. Here are some of our top tips for you:

Check the treats that your kids collect. If your kids are up for it, you can propose a “swap”, see if you can trade those hard sticky candies and the chewy ones that are made of sugar and very little else for better treats.

Think of better and healthier treats to purchase and give away, too.  You might also want to consider swapping sweets altogether for toys, plastic jewelry, or some school supplies. You can also try healthier chips and crackers. You should save some of those and try to trade them with the sweets your kids collect.

If you do have to have some candies (for your teens or even the adults), it’s better to go for those sweets that contain nuts as they supply some nutrition. Of course, this is only if no one has nut allergies. Stay away from taffies and sticky candies that are particularly harsh on tooth enamel.

Don’t let your guard down with the sweets. We understand that even parents have a tendency to be careless during this holiday and just dip into the candy bowls anytime they want. Keep your and your child’s access to candies in check. Limit the number of treats that your kids will have per day in an effort to maintaining a healthy balance!

Be vigilant about brushing after eating candies. It’s easy to just settle with a light and quick brushing, especially if you have to rush to another activity during a busy day. Try to avoid that, especially now that the kids are consuming more sugar than they probably do any other time of the year.

You don’t need to deprive your children of all the fun this Halloween. All it takes for you and your kids to enjoy this holiday without compromising your teeth are a few smart tricks and you can go and enjoy your treats!



Fluoride for Toddlers – Good or Bad?

Fluoride for Toddlers – Good or Bad?

What can be cuter than a toddler giving you the biggest smile?

If you have a toddler, you’d probably agree that there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to keep your little one’s smile looking perfect. And if you’re like most parents, you probably have done a little research on the things that you can do to maintain your toddler’s oral health, as well as things can be harmful to small children. You probably have encountered the two different stands on the safety of fluoride for toddlers.

Some say it is better to wait until your child reaches the age of two before you introduce fluoride toothpaste. Others claim that parents can use a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the baby’s teeth start to show.

Knowing What’s Best for Your Child

You might think that baby teeth eventually come out anyway, so why should you worry too much about them? It is because it takes years before baby teeth are replaced by permanent ones, and your child can get cavities that can be really painful. Fluoride can prevent cavities but too much of it can put your child at risk for other health issues. It is a good idea to find out first whether or not you have fluoride in your drinking water. You can have your water tested if you’re not sure about that. Also consider your child’s diet. If he or she frequently eats sugary snacks, then the harmful effect of sugar on his or her teeth should be reversed, and fluoride can help do the job.

So… Should You Be Using Fluoridated Toothpaste with Your Toddler?

According to CDA, that if your child is under the age of three, using fluoridated toothpaste should be determined by the risk level of tooth decay. You can take your little one for a dental check-up at Pickering Square Dental. Our dental health experts can determine whether he or she is at risk of getting tooth decay. If so, you can use a minimal amount of fluoridated toothpaste about the size of a rice grain and make sure that you brush your child’s teeth. Using just the tiniest amount helps achieve the perfect balance of reaping the benefits of fluoride for your child’s oral health and keeping the risk of developing fluorosis at bay. 

Dr. Lean and the Pickering Square Dental Team can thoroughly assess your child’s oral health and also take into consideration all the factors before giving you a clear idea as to whether or not toothpaste with fluoride would be good for your precious toddler.


Back-to-School Dental Checklist for Healthier Teeth

Back-to-School Dental Checklist for Healthier Teeth

So, you’ve got everything ready and you’re excited to go back to school. Wait! How about your back-to-school dental checklist? You should not forget it because it’s going to be your key to keeping that strong, healthy, and beautiful smile – and you don’t want anything less, eh?

Because we don’t want you to forget anything important, we rounded up some of the most important things that you should definitely add to your checklist:


It’s very easy to forget about brushing your teeth when you’re rushing off to school in the morning or when you’re crawling your way to your bed tired from the very busy day at school. The thing is, you don’t just have to establish an oral hygiene routine, what’s more important is that you make time for it. Brush your teeth every morning and night. Floss your teeth once or twice a day, too. It’s also a good idea to rinse the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash. Sticking with this routine will reduce your risks of having dental concerns. That means no emergency appointments with the dentist and no missing out on school in the future!


Visiting your dentist every six months is very important if you want to have a clean and healthy mouth. You may think that you’re taking good enough care of your teeth, but there are things that only a dental professional can see. You can call Pickering Square Dental and we can easily schedule you for a check-up and cleaning!


Healthy food is good not only for your body but also for your teeth. Choosing healthier food for your lunch and snack every day can help you keep a strong set of teeth. Don’t have any ideas what to pack? You can add vegetables, fruits, and string cheese, among others. Swap your usual can of pop for good old water.


If you are an athlete, it is always a good idea to protect your teeth and gums with a sports mouth-guard that is customized just for you.  You can find off-the-shelf ones, but you won’t get the same level of protection and comfort that you would from a custom-made appliance.  You can have yours made at Pickering Square Dental.  Dr. Lean, the official dentist of the Toronto Maple Leafs customize one for you, too!

If you need more tips on how you can turn your smile into your best asset this school year, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Every member of our team will be more than happy to talk to you!

Make Your Child’s First Dental Visit a Success

Little girl at the dentist

As your kids get older, their biannual dental checkups and cleanings become more important, not only for their oral health but their overall well-being as well.


But as a parent, you probably already know how the very first visit can be a little scary both for you and your little one. If you have a son or daughter who is soon to make that initial visit, then you should read on.


Here are some useful tips to make sure that your child’s first dental visit is a success:

  • Encourage your child by giving him or her positive words, explaining that the dentist is a friend and the dental office is a nice and happy place. More importantly, reassure that there is absolutely nothing to be worried about or scared off. After all, the dentist will only make those little teeth whiter and prettier!


  • Be creative with it! Search for children shows and find books that tell fun dental stories. There are a lot of materials available online. You can also try playing pretend with your child. If it helps, buy some safe toy dentist tools at the nearest toy store. Take turns in being the patient and the dentist. This will give your child the idea that a dental procedure is fun and actually stress-free.


  • Take your child grocery shopping where you can encourage him or her to choose his very own dental supplies. Let your little one pick out his or her own toothpaste, toothbrush, and dental floss. This will tell your child that you are allowing him or her to make the decisions about caring for those pearly whites.


  • As early as possible, teach your child the importance of keeping his or her teeth and gums healthy. Let your toddler know that brushing teeth after every meal and visiting the dentist means no cavities!


  • Choose a dental facility that is child-friendly. You don’t know how bad it can affect your child’s attitude towards going to the dentist if the hygienist or even the receptionist is somewhat rude or even just really formal. You want to make sure that you go to a dental office that welcomes children and whose staffs know how to make kids’ dental visits fun and hassle-free.


Is your child big enough for that first dental visit? Start preparing him or her at home and when everything is ready, come and visit us at Pickering Square Dental! We’ll make sure your little one’s initial visit to the dentist is a memorable one… in a really good way!



Fun Tips to Teach Proper Dental Hygiene to Your Kids

Toddler smiling while brushing her teeth

Getting your child to start and follow a dental routine is no easy feat. Children just do not understand hygiene responsibility like adults do. Kids have to be reminded all the time when it is time to brush their teeth and on top of that, why they should actually do it.


If you are worried about your little one’s oral health, then you should offer some help to him or her. Employing the right techniques can achieve great results in an even fun way! Here are some great ways to convince your kids to care for their teeth.


  1. Brush teeth with your little one.

Experts say that kids should start learning to brush their teeth (with parent’s supervision and assistance) from the age of two. Having good dental hygiene at this early age can help prevent cavities, plaque, and other dental issues later on in life.


Brush your teeth side by side with your child as he or she brushes teeth too. This way, you can show your little one some good brushing techniques. When you brush properly, they will also learn to brush their teeth the right way.


  1. Look for tooth-related stories and read to them at night.

Instead of your usual fairy tale, look for some books that is about teeth to read to your child. Storytelling is a fun way to let your little one know how important it is to care for his or her teeth properly.


The Tooth Fairy, for example, can help your child feel less anxious about losing teeth.


  1. Let your little one have a pick of his or her own toothbrush.

Your child’s toothbrush is his or her personal belonging. Allowing your child to choose a toothbrush every three months is a great way to introduce them the proper custom of changing toothbrushes regularly. Changing brushes maintains the brush cleaning ability while ensuring that bacteria do not accumulate either.


For toothpaste, let your child have a pick from kid-friendly ones that are not too harsh or minty.



  1. Incorporate a song or dance routine while brushing.

Every little kid loves dancing and singing, and incorporating music in your routine turns a boring task into a fun and exciting activity that he or she will look forward to. Be as silly as possible!


It may also be a fun idea to take turns humming songs that the other would guess!



  1. Create a reward system

Have a chart with a record of your child’s oral health routine achievements. You can give incentives for reaching certain milestones. Make sure that you include all the important oral care must-dos like brushing, flossing, cleaning their tongue, and rinsing.


We hope these fun methods will help your child learn the importance of dental hygiene while enjoying the routine, too. Allow them to develop a sense of responsibility and encourage them with enthusiasm all the time!



Baby’s Healthy Mouth: First Steps to Take

Parents are the first teachers kids get to know and trust to teach them everything they need to learn. They play a big role in maintaining their children’s well-being, including their oral health.


According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, tooth decay is accountable for about one-third of all day surgeries preschoolers have each year. That is the reason why we encourage parents to introduce a good oral habit to their kids as early as their infancy.


Ideally, parents should take their babies to the dentist for the first time six months after their first teeth erupted. Your dentist will then examine the overall health of your baby’s mouth.


You may be surprised to know that a child can develop tooth decay or cavities soon after their first teeth appear. This is often called baby bottle tooth decay, caused by long-term exposure to sugary liquids like milk formula and fruit juice, among others.


Aside from tooth decay, there are other dental problems to watch out for like irritations when your baby is teething, gum diseases, and extended thumb or pacifier sucking. To make sure your child doesn’t have any of these, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible.


Here are some healthy practices you can do at home to introduce good oral habits to your baby:


  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean but damp cloth twice daily. Ask your dentist when you may be able to rub a little toothpaste on those gums so your child would become accustomed to the taste of toothpaste.
  • When your baby’s first teeth erupt, you can start brushing those with a tiny and really soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Assist your kids (preschoolers) as he or she brushes teeth at night, as thorough brushing at night is necessary to protect your teeth as you sleep. You may not be aware, but due to lower salivary flow while you are sleeping, your teeth are more susceptible to plaque and cavities.
  • Make brushing time a bonding time! It’s the best way to show your children how they should brush their teeth. It will instill the importance of brushing and overall oral hygiene, too. Once your children reach the age of five, you can probably let them brush their own teeth but still with supervision.


It is important that your children develop good habits for their oral health as early as possible. Your children should be at ease at the dentist’s office too, so it would be best for you to take your little ones to Pickering Square Dental to be acquainted not only with the friendly dentist and staff, but also with the facilities and equipment used. This is important if you want your children to be comfortable and confident when it’s time to visit the dentist!





How to Prepare Your Child for Dental Visits

Don’t you just love it when your child smiles? For most parents, their child’s smile is one of the best view in the world. That’s why parents also understand how important it is to keep that great smile healthy, and that can only be achieved by regularly visiting the dentist.


Unfortunately, most kids have apprehensions about going to the dentist’s office. That of course, is a mild interpretation of those tantrums a child throws complete with wailing, kicking, and sometimes even locking oneself in the room – at the mere mention of seeing the dentist.


There could be a lot of factors contributing to this anxiety, including fear of the unknown, or worse, fear of what an older sibling or friend had shared with him or her before. Whatever the reason for this anxiety is, it will be helpful if as parents, we do our part to prepare them for that very important visit. Here are some tips:


Start really early. Do not wait until his or her preschool years before visiting the dentist for the first time. By that time, your child will most probably have a made-up idea of how scary dentists are. How early should you go? As soon as the first set of teeth start to pop up.


Our Dentists handle little patients, too. Not that there are dentists who hate kids. It’s just that it would help a lot if the dentist can make your child feel at ease during an appointment. It makes a lot of difference if a dentist is friendly with your kid and exerts effort to make the visit truly pleasant.


Set expectations honestly. Not knowing what to expect plays a big part to your child getting all stressed out about a visit to the dentist. You can calm their nerves by telling them about the procedure they’re getting, and perhaps some of your own experiences when you had the same procedure. (Unless you had a traumatic one, of course)


Give everything a positive spin. Instead of telling your child that a tooth would be extracted, why not say, the dentist has to make room for his new tooth to grow? You can make things sound easy. Assure your kids that they can do it. Let them know that you’ll be there every step of the way. You can even offer an incentive sometimes!


It is important for your child to develop good oral habits so they can keep that happy smile healthier, longer. We, at Pickering Square Dental can help you prepare your child for a visit that is going to be quite enjoyable, too!


What To Do When Your Child Has a Dental Emergency

Children, especially the younger ones, are prone to accidents. Since their reflexes are not as quick as teenagers’ or adults’, they tend to damage their teeth when they fall face-flat on the ground. As parents or guardians, we don’t want to see them in pain.  However, dental emergencies are unavoidable at this point in their lives, so we should be ready should such instances arise.


Knocked-Out Tooth (Dental Avulsion)

If your child’s tooth had been knocked-out of his or her mouth completely, it is best to contact Pickering Square Dental immediately. Time is an important factor in saving a tooth. Dentists, in general, do not attempt to re-implant primary (baby) teeth because the procedure itself might cause damage to the tooth bud. While you are not with Dr. Marvin Lean and his team, it is best to recover the tooth. Be careful not to touch the root, just handle the crown carefully. Gently rinse off the tooth with water but do not scrub the tooth. Keep the tooth wet ( a glass of milk is ideal) during transportation as moisture is important for the tooth to be re-implanted successfully.



This is common in children of all ages and it rarely occurs without cause. If pain persists, give us a call. Some common causes of toothache are tooth decay, tooth trauma, tooth fractures, and wisdom teeth eruption (for adolescents). You can help your child relieve the pain by cleansing the area using warm water. It is best to hold off medication if you haven’t seen your dentist. Apply cold compress to the affected area in order to reduce the swelling.


Dental Intrusion

When a child gets into an accident and causes dental trauma, this might force a tooth (or several teeth) upwards into the jawbone. The force of trauma could be great enough to injure the tooth’s ligament, and fracturing its socket. It’s important to rinse your child’s mouth with cold water and apply cold compress around the affected areas to reduce swelling. Make sure to call us right away to completely relieve your child of the pain.


Tooth Displacement (Extrusion, Luxation, Lateral Displacement)

Tooth displacement depends on how the tooth is angled following the trauma. Extrusion implicates that the tooth has become partly removed from its socket. Dental treatment should be sought for permanent teeth that have been displaced in order to attempt whenever possible to save the tooth as well as prevent infection. Apply cold, moist compress on the affected area and offer pain relief that has been approved by paediatricians.


Broken Tooth

Dr. Marvin Lean and our Professional Dental Team can easily assess the severity of a fracture by the use of dental X-rays. If there are any changes in tooth color, this indicates an emergency warning sign. While you are on your way to our office, make sure to apply cold, moist compress on the affected area to reduce swelling.  Do not wait another day to have this looked by the dentist.


There are other dental emergencies that your child can experience. Make sure to consult us right away to prevent any further damage or infection from developing. We here at Pickering Square Dental and serve Durham and surrounding areas for their Emergency Dental needs. 

What You Need to Know About Baby Teeth

Baby teeth, medically termed as deciduous teeth, are the first set of teeth in the growth development of humans and other mammals. They are also called milk teeth, and now more commonly primary teeth. They develop as early as the embryonic stage – while in the fetus – and become visible in the mouth during infancy. They are meant to be lost and replaced by permanent teeth, but can remain functional for many years.

The ages when baby teeth usually appear and fall out are as follows:

Central Incisors

The first two visible teeth on the upper and lower gums usually appear i the first 6 to 12 months and fall out once the child turns 6 or 7 years old.

Lateral Incisors

These are the two upper and lower teeth next to the central incisors that appear between the 6th and 12th month. They usually fall out in the 7th and 8th year.

Canine/Cuspid teeth (16-23 months)

The first canine (also known as cuspid) teeth become visible on the upper gums, appearing between the 16th and 22nd month. They usually fall out in the 10th and 12th year. The lower canine teeth usually appear on the 17th and 23rd month, and fall out in the 9th or 12th year.

First molars (13-19 months)

The upper first molars become visible when the child enters their 13th to 19th month, while the lower first molars appear between the 14th and 18th month.  All molars s fall out when the child turns approximately 9-11 years old.

Second molars: (22-33 months)

The last set of primary teeth appear first on the lower gums, sometime between the 23rd-31st month, while the second molars on the upper gums become visible between the 25th-33rd month.  The second molars commonly fall out when the child turns 10 or 12 years old.

The oral health care for babies start even before any tooth becomes visible. After each feeding, wipe the gums off with a warm, wet washcloth. Soft, thimble-like rubbery devices are also used for rubbing off excess food.

Once teeth start coming in, you can now start using a toothbrush for babies.  The most ideal brushes come with soft bristles, a small head and a large handle.  As soon as teeth erupt (come in), a grain-sized portion of child toothpaste may be used, increasing to a pea-sized amount when the child turns 3 years old.  Toothpaste should always be spit out and not swallowed.

How to Help Your Teething Infant

Do your baby’s cries keep you up in the middle of the night? Is he/she still crying even after you’ve just fed them, changed his diaper, and tried rocking him gently to sleep? Maybe he’s in distress. Maybe his tummy is aching

Or maybe… maybe your baby is teething.

Teething usually occurs somewhere between 2 and 12 months, or sometimes even later than that. The first few teeth might show with ease, but it could be a long, painful process. The pain is common because just like with an adult’s wisdom tooth, the teeth are pushing through the gums. That is the reason why there’s so much pain and swelling so be sure you know how to help ease the pain!


Signs and symptoms of teething include:

*reddish, swollen gums

*flushed cheeks or face

*gum-rubbing, biting or sucking

*heavy drooling

*rubbing his ear on the same side as an erupting tooth

*not eating as much as usual

*irritable, agitated

*sleepless at night, but wakeful during the day

*increased temperature and diarrhea (might be caused by something else, consult a doctor to be sure)


Putting pressure on your baby’s teeth by chewing may relieve the pain. However, your baby’s gums might be sensitive at this time so there’s a tendency for him to turn away from your breast or his bottle during the teething phase.


There are several ways to soothe your baby’s painful gums before resorting to teething gels and other pain relief products. As much as possible, you would want to ease the pain naturally. Try some of these tried and tested practices:

*Rub a clean finger gently over your baby’s sore gums to temporarily numb the pain.

*Get your baby a teething ring. It’s better to buy the solid, silicone-based teething ring rather than the liquid-filled ones as the latter could leak. Before giving the teething ring, put it in the fridge for that cooling effect. Do not put it in the freezer as that could hurt your baby’s gums. Avoid teething necklaces as they are hazardous to babies.

*Offer cold drinks and cold food. For babies over six months, a bottle of icy cold water can be a relief for painful gums. You can also give ice-free water in a cup. For food, chilled yogurt, applesauce and blended peaches can be your options, as long as food has already been introduced to your baby.

*Never use rubbing alcohol on your baby’s gums. Parents should also avoid any herbal or homeopathic natural teething meds as those can contain ingredients that cause heart problems and drowsiness.

*Comfort – lots and lots of extra hugs, kisses and patience are required for our little ones throughout this painful process.


If you would opt to go for pain relief medicines or products, it is best to always consult your paediatrician first. Since you’re dealing with babies, it is not advisable to have them take medicines without prescription from a medical professional.