The Real Meaning of Oral Health

For most people, the term oral health probably means ‘brushing your teeth’, ‘flossing’, and ‘going to the dentist.’ That definition of oral health isn’t wrong, necessarily, it’s just not complete.

This year, we want to help our patients learn that oral health is so much more than just going through the motions of your personal hygiene routine; It’s about being proactive and thinking ahead.

The phrase ‘New Year, New You’ is cliche but that doesn’t mean it lacks merit. Now is the time to take control of your health. Good oral health doesn’t just mean being free from gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, or oral cancer - it means being able to go about your day without pain or discomfort that stops you from living life to the fullest.

Are you happy with your smile? Do you think you’re doing everything you can to keep your teeth and mouth happy? Now is the time to ask yourself if you’re truly satisfied with the state of your dental care or if there’s more that can be done to improve your quality of life.

Dental New Years Resolutions that Everyone Should Stick To

Whether you're a believer in new years resolutions or not, there are a few things that everyone should be focusing on this year in regards to their oral health:

Brush Every Day

It might be tempting to skip brushing your teeth after a night out on the town or on a lazy Sunday morning, but it's a bad habit that can quickly spiral into something more serious. Skipping brushing your teeth every once in a while isn't the end of the world but when it starts to become a habit, it can pose a real problem to your overall oral health. No matter how tired you are, force yourself to keep brushing your teeth and to make it a regular part of your routine.

Floss Regularly

Flossing can be a bit of a pain to remember on a daily basis but it's such a vitally important part of your dental hygiene routine. If the traditional long string style of floss is unappealing to you, there are a number of other styles (like floss sticks) you can try out that make flossing quickly and efficiently a breeze.

Cut Down on your Sugar Consumption

While too much sugar has negative effects on your entire body, it's unrealistic to expect anyone to cut it out completely. Try reducing your intake as much as you can and the next time a craving hits, reach for an apple or a banana instead of an over-processed sugary snack. If you find you're still struggling with sugar cravings, there are a number of healthier substitutes you can try ranging from honey and maple syrup to stevia.

The Doctors of Archer Dental

We love getting to know our patients during their appointments so we thought it was only fair to return the favour!

We recently launched a new page on our website called, 'The Doctors of Archer Dental' and we’re proud to share a little bit about ourselves with you.

Dr. Shannon Hobbs

Appearing on television shows such as The Social, Dr. Hobbs is an active member in the dental professional community.

Dr. Shael Markin

With a background in engineering, Dr. Shael Markin brings a hands-on scientific approach to dentistry. Shael is excited about the future of dental technology, and as a cutting edge dental office so is Archer Dental!

Dr. Eli Filliotis

Dr. Filliotis talks about how she brings her scientific background to the job and the importance of prevention. This is a dentist that clearly loves her job.

You can check out our website to learn more about our 3 dentists and our 4 dental hygienists (Lala, Krista, Mary, and Tina)

We Won Now Magazine's 'Best Toronto Dentist' Award for 2016!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we’re the winner of Now Magazine’s Best of Toronto ‘Best Dentist’ award for 2016!

Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us, who is currently or has been a patient of ours, or who referred other patients to our practice. We are truly grateful for all of you and appreciate your loyalty and dedication.

In honour of this award, we’ve put together a little ‘Thank You’ video:

We honestly could not do it without you. Thank you again!

Hogtown Wrestler, The Lover, gets a Custom Sports Mouth Guard

In October 2016, Archer Dental was thrilled to positively impact the professional sports world in Toronto when we made a custom sports guard (an athletic mouth guard) for a charming Indy wrestler named The Lover (whose wrestling outfit is adorned with pink hearts and the slogan, 'I put the harm in charm!')

The Lover arriving at Archer Dental

The Lover arriving at Archer Dental

The Lover is on the roster as a regular contender at Hogtown Wrestling in Toronto and, in his own words, he’s in-it-to-win-it ('it' meaning a championship title). Like everyone else on the roster, he wants to wear the Hogtown Wrestling Championship Belt and be called 'The Champ'.

The Lover doesn't mess around with match fixing politics, nor does he deliberately call out opponents or make any enemies in the ring; He's too busy obsessing over his own good looks in any mirror or camera lens he can find. The Lover is a very good looking muscular man and he knows it!  He also has nice teeth that he wants to keep safe from flying elbows, head butts and face plants. This is a huge part of the reason why we were so happy to help him create a sports guard that would protect his teeth and keep his smile intact!

The Lover's Sports Guard

The Lover's Sports Guard

Remember a sports guard only covers the top teeth, unlike a full mouth guard which is applied to the whole mouth. The purpose of the sports guard is to act as a shock absorber for the mouth, and to protect the front teeth from excessive force - like being thrown face first into a wrestling mat, or a ring rope post.  The sports mouth guard also protects the athlete’s head and brain from concussion.

If the blow is delivered onto the mouth area, the device also keeps athletes’ lips and tongues safe from being cut on their upper teeth.  This is safety apparel that every professional wrestler should employ and something we are offering the league at discount pricing – (if you’re an athlete reading this and want the same deal, just contact us and tell us your story).

Dr. Archer with the Lover during the fitting

Dr. Archer with the Lover during the fitting

When high performance athletes visit our dental office and order a custom sports guard rather than a full mouth guard, it's because they want the liberty to speak or call out during the game without having to remove a physical speech impediment, and The Lover has a lot to say both inside and outside the wrestling ring.

Custom made sports guards can come in any colour – they are individually designed to fit the athlete’s mouth and so are very comfortable to wear.

To get the custom fit, The Lover visited our Rosedale dental office twice. The first encounter was only 15 minutes long as staff members took an impression of his upper teeth using a quick setting polymer gel.  Then we sent him away and told him to come back a week later (he brought a full camera crew with him to document the occasion!)

The Lover with his completed Sports Guard

The Lover with his completed Sports Guard

The thick plastic device was created out of a cement mould made from the hardened polymer gel impression we took of his teeth. He chose the colour pink to match the hearts on his black spandex suit.

It's important to note that all sports mouth guards should be replaced after 18 months or two ‘seasons’ of play because they can wear down over time, making them less effective as a damage mitigating agent from harmful blows.

Replacement sports guards are especially important for adolescents because their mouths continue to grow as their teeth develop into adulthood. Many athletes who play different sports order new mouth guards from Archer Dental every six months as part of their routine dental check-up.

You can read about The Lover’s last match and get a better understanding of the #HogtownPro live wrestling events in general in the last report, What Happened at Socktoberfest in Super Wonder Gallery, 01 Oct 2016.

The Lover pays a visit to Dr. Natalie Archer to pick up his custom mouth guard from Archer Dental. www.Hogtownwrestling.com

 

 

 

Things College and University Kids Do That Nobody Else Understands

There’s nothing quite like going off to College or University for the first time. Joining the adult world can be scary, so it’s no surprise that most students find creative ways to adapt to living away from home and being separated from their parents for a huge chunk of the year. Here’s a list of our favourite things College and University kids do that nobody else understands.

1. Just because they’re broke and sleep-deprived doesn’t mean they don’t want to go all out during the holidays. Here are some of our favourite examples of College and University students decking the halls in some rather creative ways
2. Rather than expanding their recipe repertoire, a lot of students choose to get gourmet on some dorm classics. Check out these classy Kraft Dinner Mac'n Cheese and Ramen Noodle dishes.

3. Between going to class, having a social life, doing homework, and getting enough sleep, it can be hard for most students to find time to actually study. So while we may not agree with cramming for an exam until the night before a big test, we can (somewhat) understand why it happens.

And of course, here's the one we consider the most relevant:

4. We know that it can be a bit daunting to find a new dentist but that doesn’t mean you need to keep scheduling appointments with your childhood dentist out of town.

The next time you feel a cavity coming in, we think you’ll find it much less stressful to book an appointment with a dental office located near your school as opposed to having to travel home on short notice (especially if your home is more than an hour away from campus).

 

 

 

Our Thoughts on the latest Flossing News

Dr. Archer being interviewed by CTV News Channel about the latest flossing developments

Dr. Archer being interviewed by CTV News Channel about the latest flossing developments

There's been quite the bombshell in the dental world this week - the American government has downgraded the importance of flossing based on the findings of a number of different medical studies.

So while American dentists will no longer be obligated to vouch for the importance of flossing, what about their Canadian counterparts?

The Canadian Dental Association does not agree with the findings and still emphasizes the need for all patients to keep flossing. They believe that it remains one of the most effective ways to reach plaque, bacteria, and food that's hidden between the teeth that a toothbrush simply cannot reach.

There is a method to flossing that must be followed for maximum health benefits and gingivitis prevention. At Archer Dental, we believe that everyone should be flossing in a C shaped motion in order to truly clean the spaces between the teeth. We believe that regular flossing does make a profound difference in a patient's overall oral health and helps prevent dental diseases down the road.

Click here to watch Dr. Archer's interview with CTV News Channel.  

ETA (as of August 4th 2016): Here's a link to Dr. Archer's interview with Global News regarding the importance of continued flossing.

Now Magazine - Best Toronto Dentist Award 2016

It’s that time of year again! NOW Magazine is having their annual ‘Best of Toronto’ awards and Archer Dental is thrilled to be nominated for 'Best Dentist' for the fourth year in a row!

Voting closes on September 16 and we’d be honoured if you’d take the time to vote for us.

Patient feedback means a lot and we’re constantly updating and improving our services based on your thoughts and opinions. Polls like this one are important because they remind us that we have to keep upping our game and doing our best to provide the best service possible for our patients.

A link to the poll is here. Just scroll down until you see 'Best Dentist'.

Thank you so much for voting!

 

The Many Smiles of Archer Dental: Who We Are and What We Offer

Does the thought of going to the dentist make you break out in a cold sweat? Are you fed up with being unable to find a dental professional who’s able and (willing) to adapt to your needs?

 

At Archer Dental, patient comfort is at the very forefront of our minds. Here are some of the specialized services we’re pleased to offer each and every one of our patients:

Nervous Patients: Going to the dentist can be an anxiety-inducing experience! The staff at Archer Dental understand the importance of ensuring patients are as comfortable as possible while their teeth are being looked after. Nervous patients are encouraged to ask about using laughing gas at their next appointment to help calm their nerves and reduce stress.

Relaxing lavender scented pillows and access to Netflix are also available for all patients!

Children's DentistryArcher Dental welcomes patients of all ages, but we also do our best to offer specialized services for children. Whether your child is coming in for a standard cleaning or they’re being fitted for their first retainer, we’ll make sure to do whatever we can to keep them comfortable (there’s also the incentive of a toy at the end of the appointment to help them get through it).

SMS/Text Confirmation of Appointments: People are busy! Not everyone has the time for a phone call to confirm an upcoming appointment. That’s why Archer Dental is pleased to offer text confirmation instead. We’ll send you a message to remind you of your upcoming appointment; All you have to do is shoot us back a quick message to confirm.

Orthodontics and InvisalignWhether you decide to go old school with standard braces and orthodontics or opt for something slightly more modern (and less visible) with invisalign, we can guarantee you’ll be thrilled with the end results. Goodbye crooked teeth, hello perfect smile!

Focus on Accessibility and Comfort: Accessibility is a very important issue for us and we believe that everyone should have easy access to our services. Our Runnymede location is completely wheelchair accessible (including a wheelchair compatible dental chair).

Archer Dental is also dedicated to providing the most accessible and comfortable care possible for older patients who are often in need of more assistance.

Dental Implants: We do our best to help you preserve your existing teeth, but sometimes the best option for patients is to go with dental implants. We work with you to find the solution that best fits your life (and that will give you the most confidence).

Whitening: Teeth whitening is always a popular service. No matter what your reasons for needing a whitening, we’ll make sure you look your best!

For a more complete list of our services or if you have questions, please feel free to contact us at either of our locations:

Archer Dental Rosedale - 416-964-0010

Archer Dental Runnymede - 416-763-2000

 

Dementia and Dental Care

While you might not typically associate mental health with dentistry, it’s vitally important for older patients with Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease to receive proper oral care.

Let’s start with some statistics about Dementia patients in Canada:

  1. One in five Canadians aged 45 and older provides care to a senior in their life with long-term health problems.

  2. 747,000 Canadians were living with Dementia in 2011

  3. Over 72% of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

And here are some statistics regarding oral care in elderly patients (or those with existing health conditions that can affect their oral health):

  1. Nearly ⅓ of older adults have tooth decay that is left untreated.

  2. Half of the people 75 years and older have tooth decay.

  3. People with diabetes are 15 times more likely to lose their teeth.

  4. People 65 and older are the least likely group to go to the dentist or use other dental services.

Now imagine what happens when those two groups of statistics overlap? The negative consequences on a patient's oral health have the potential to be devastating.

You might think that Dementia won’t affect your family (or yourself), but with figures like the ones above, it’s time to start educating yourself just in case. The sooner you’re able to provide proper treatment and care for older patients with Dementia, the better for them and for your family.

Here are some techniques to help you recognize the signs of Dementia:

Identify

Examine your loved one’s behavior objectively - are their problem behaviours actually harmful or just unusual? Do your best not to intervene or correct situations that aren’t actually damaging.

Look for Patterns

Pay attention to the timing - when does the problem occur? What happened just before? What time of day and year? You should also look for patterns in location - what did the environment look, sound, and smell like? Was your loved one in a new place or were there any changes to their environment?

Ask ‘Why?’ rather than ‘What?’”

Understand the why of what your loved one is doing. Look for any outside stress that might be causing the action and keep an eye out for potential behavioural triggers.

If you believe that your loved one is suffering from Dementia and is unable to care for themselves properly, seek help for them as soon as you can.

Dr. Archer at PSW Forum: Tips and Tricks for Dementia and Oral Care

Dr. Archer was thrilled to present at the PSW Forum of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. The theatre was packed with a passionate and dedicated group of personal support workers from across the city, and Dr. Archer was proud to share her passion for dental care as a human right.

Oral health is essential and often forgotten. Simply brushing someone's mouth twice a day improves their self confidence, ability to eat and ability to communicate. With some patients, brushing can be challenging, but should never be forgotten. Dr. Archer presented some simple tips and tricks to the PSW Forum. Here are some highlights:

Did you know that the number one cause of death in long-term care facilities is acquired pneumonia? Increasingly research is showing that acquired pneumonia is caused by poor oral health and buildup of plaque. It's time to take a stand - let's not forget that proper, regular brushing can save people's lives!

Questions from the Audience:

Q: What about people who are clenching hard and making it very difficult to brush?

A: You only need a little space to get in there. Buckle up and do it - you can't ignore someone's oral health without putting them in serious risk of infection. Of course start with giving a gentle cheek rub, always approach with a smile and with kindness, but if absolutely nothing is working don't give up. Try to start a conversation, often patients will open their mouths enough to get an mouth prop in or even a popsicle stick. Once you have a bit of leverage, brushing becomes possible. A mouth prop is also a great way to prevent the patient from biting - because your safety is always first.

Q: What about sponges? Do they work as an alternative?

A: I'm not sure who introduced sponges into the oral health care system but unfortunately they have stuck around. If you want to see if sponges work, dedicate yourself to this for three days. Take a sponge, and only use that sponge to clean your mouth. Don't cheat - don't brush - and see how you feel after three days. Can you even stand beside someone and have a conversation? Sponges don't work - don't use them.

Q: What about mouthwash?

A: Warm water with salt has the same effectiveness. Mouthwash can often be very drying - and for patients with dry mouth - we want to avoid that at all costs. It's also difficult to prevent swallowing. It can work as something to dip the toothbrush into for the flavour but overall I would not suggest mouthwash. I don't even use it personally.

Q: What about brushing the tongue?

A: Unless it's completely impossible, I try to get the patient to brush their own tongue. It's very hard to prevent gagging when you are brushing someone's tongue. Unless there are deep grooves in the tongue, it's usually not a huge concern and good brushing will encourage a healthy tongue.

Q: I actually have a tip. I was volunteering and working with children who have developmental disabilities. One technique that worked very well is I allowed the children to brush my teeth while I brushed their teeth. Doing this was a lot of fun and it allowed the children to open up and relax.

A: I'm glad you brought this up, thank you. This is a great idea and I've seen this work with patients as well!

View this video with amazing tips on oral health for personal support workers and family members.

For more resources and information, see Archer Dental's helpful video and the International Caregiver's Association's website:

Review from a Happy Customer

We just love hearing from happy customers! We recently received the following thoughtful review on LinkedIn from Silvia de la Fe Gonzalez. If you would like to leave a review about the service you received at Archer Dental, please visit our Rosedale or Runnymede Yelp pages.

Dr. Natalie Archer — A Distinctive Dentist for Our Times

Knowledgeable. Innovative. Accomplished. Diligent. Passionate. Creative. Compassionate.

These are the words that best describe Dr. Natalie Archer — my dentist. When you walk into her technically modern dental office what immediately summons your attention is the care, warmth and thoughtfulness with which you are greeted by staff. It clearly speaks to Dr. Archer’s commitment to managing a dental practice that has at its centre the value she places on all her patients.

The décor, imaginatively chosen, immediately makes you relaxed — whether it’s the gentle music playing in the background or the waterfall located in the reception area. Patients are seen in a timely manner based on a carefully planned schedule. You are invited into a comfortably designed chair that makes you perfectly at ease.

Each staff member has a special role and task to play in the assessment of patients before Dr. Archer sees you. Dr. Archer, a chic dresser, reviews all the tests and records and explains what you need in clear language and caring tone.

If you look around each office you will instantly know that she is not only deeply caring about her patients and practice, but also about the needs of the most vulnerable in our community who are not able to receive dental care.
Silvia de la Fe Gonzalez

Oral Health Month: Listen to your Body

"If only I'd gone to the doctor sooner," is probably one of the worst regrets a person can have in life. In honour of oral health month, we thought it was the perfect time to remind you that your oral health is a huge indicator of your overall health, and that the second you sense there’s something not quite right with either, you should go to a doctor rather than waiting as it worsens, hoping it’ll go away on its own.

Did you know that the survival rate of most major illnesses and diseases is considerably higher if you go to a doctor as soon as you notice something is off or start having symptoms? Here are some stats from Cancer Research UK on the advantages of early detection as well as an article from Wired Magazine that explains the 90/10 Rule (where if cancer is found early, 90% of patients survive versus the 10% survival rate for patients when cancer is found too late). While these statistics might sound dramatic, they don’t only apply to diseases as serious and scary as cancer; in general, the state of your overall health improves when you stay on top of your doctor and dentists visits and when you make sure to book an appointment as soon as you notice there might be something wrong.

Let’s address some of the biggest concerns patients have that stop them from booking an appointment:

Embarrassment: Yes, you might find it a little bit embarrassing to book an appointment with a doctor only to find out there’s actually nothing wrong with you, but isn’t it worth the potential awkwardness (that, in reality, is likely only experienced by you and no one else) to know for certain that you’ve done your due diligence and your health is okay? Think of what a relief it must be for a doctor too to know that at least one of their patients doesn’t need medical intervention. Consider your appointment a bright spot in a day full of medications being prescribed and referrals being dispensed. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get the peace of mind that comes with knowing for certain that you’re healthy.

Fear: Many people don’t go to the doctor because they suspect something is wrong but they don’t want to know for sure. They would rather live in ignorance than receive a diagnosis they’re dreading. The problem with living like this is the problem doesn't go away. ­Often it only gets worse until medical intervention is absolutely necessary and by that point it might be too late for your doctor to help you like they might have been able to before. The earlier you seek a diagnosis and are given treatment, the higher your chances of survival are. Don’t wait until your problem is so dire it’s impossible to hide it anymore. Make the choice to take care of your body no matter how scary it might be.

Time and/or Money: For some people, the reason for not following through on booking that doctor or dentist appointment is simple: they don’t have the time available to go in or they don’t have the money to pay for it. While the government in Canada covers most necessary medical procedures, it can be a challenge for some to pay for their dentist bills out of pocket if they don’t have insurance. It’s important to keep in mind that, in the case of your teeth, ignoring the problem and hoping for the best will likely only cause the problem to worsen so by the time you’re finally forced to come in for a visit, it’ll be far more painful, dangerous, and far more expensive than had you come in at the first sign of trouble. 

Dental Trivia!

If you're in the mood to expand your knowledge when it comes to teeth and oral health, we've got some interesting bits of trivia for you!

  1. Did you know that tooth decay in children is a new concept? Kids in prehistoric times didn’t have to worry about it because their diets were free of sugar! 

  2.  The only organ that’s fully developed at birth in a human baby is the tongue

  3.  Women smile an average of 62 times a day

  4.  Before modern toothbrushes, humans in ancient history would clean their teeth with twigs and roots.

  5.  Of every 2,000 babies born, one will have a tooth already in their mouth.

  6.  The strongest substance in the human body is tooth enamel

  7.  The Chinese celebrate a holiday called ‘Love your Teeth’ day

  8.  Snails have thousands of teeth all lined up in rows

  9.  Some people in medieval Germany believed kissing a donkey would cure a toothache

  10.  The ancient Romans used to make toothpaste out of honey and eggshells

  11.  Much like a fingerprint, everyone’s tongue print is unique too

Sources:

CDHA - Tooth Trivia

CSDS - Dental Trivia

Roschella Zinger - Teeth Trivia

Colgate - Dental Trivia: Fun Teeth Facts for Kids

Canadian Dental Association - Jokes and Trivia

Tips to Help You Keep Your Resolutions

 

Picking your New Year’s Resolution is the easy part - actually keeping it is a whole other kettle of fish. If you’re struggling not to break the goals you set for yourself this new year, we have some tips to help keep you strong!

Find a Support System

Misery loves company, right, so why not extend that to include keeping your new year’s resolution? Find a buddy or support group to vent to about your difficulties sticking to your resolution and in turn listen to their complaints. Offer each other suggestions, tips and moral support. While it might not make things easier, it’ll give you someone (or a group of someones) to turn to when you need a distraction or commiseration, and chances are they’ll be able to help you get back on track if you do find yourself straying.

Reward Yourself

Give yourself something to look forward to! Award yourself prizes or treats to match certain goal milestones. Let’s say you planned to lose weight this year. Why not treat yourself with the gift of going to see a movie or trying out that new Lush bath bomb you really wanted to buy? If your goal was of the mental rather than the physical variety (i.e. learning to control your anxiety), then let yourself indulge in a venti Starbucks drink of your choice. Sticking to your goals is hard, so make sure you let yourself acknowledge when you’re doing a good job!

Keep Your Goals Realistic

Make sure that the goals you set for yourself are within reason. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to cut down on my sugar consumption” and another to say “I’m never going to eat sugar again ever.” While the second goal is technically attainable, it’s incredibly difficult and much harder to psych yourself up to. Start small and build up to it if you really want to eliminate sugar completely, but don’t raise the bar too high right from the start. Which leads into the last point:

Stay Positive

It’s not going to be easy. There are going to be days you’re ready to phone it in and give up. There will be days where you do cheat, or give in, or slack, and you’ll wonder if maybe you should just quit completely or if it’s even worth trying again. Don’t let negativity overwhelm you! Everyone stumbles and falls, but the key is to force yourself to get back up again!

 

Dental New Year's Resolutions

With 2016 fast approaching, there’s no better time to get started on your list of resolutions. Here’s a dental checklist to help you keep on top of your oral hygiene as well as your personal goals for the New Year!

 

  1. Brush Your Teeth Everyday: No matter how tired you are or how tempting it is to just fall asleep, your teeth (and your dentist) will thank you for making the effort to clean your teeth every night before bed (and every morning after you wake up)

  2. Floss: You know when your dentist asks when the last time you flossed was and you have to pretend it was more recent than it actually was? They can tell. Plaque build up, cavities in between your teeth, and bleeding gums are all signs that you’re not flossing as often (or as well) as you should be. 2016 is the perfect time to change that.

  3. Stay on top of your appointments: In order to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible, you should have a cleaning every six months (or twice a year). Don’t let yourself fall behind on your appointments!

  4. Eat Enamel Friendly Foods: In general, you should be practicing healthy eating, but did you know some healthy foods can be terrible for your teeth? Do some research and find out which foods help your whole body and which ones strip or damage your enamel (lemons, oranges, and other acidic foods should be eaten in moderation, for example).

  5. Don’t ignore your health problems (dental or otherwise): If you think you have a cavity, book an appointment to get it checked out as soon as you can. If you have pain in your chest that didn’t used to be there, don’t just hope it’ll go away - call your doctor. So many serious health problems can be avoided (or at the very least, mitigated) if they’re dealt with sooner rather than later. Your body will thank you for being proactive!

  6. Smile more. You’ve worked hard for those gorgeous teeth of yours, don’t forget to show them off! Studies have shown that forcing yourself to smile more often, even if you don’t feel like, can actually lead to a genuine increase in personal happiness. We think 2016 is the perfect year to try it out.

Deliciously Low-Sugar Dessert Recipes for the Holidays

With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are both dreading and looking forward to all the sugary treats we’re guaranteed to be surrounded by.

In order to make the upcoming Holiday season less punishing to both our teeth and our stomachs, we’ve scoured the internet to come up with a list of some of the best low sugar desserts we could find so you can spend your vacation indulging without guilt (or at least, with considerably less guilt.)

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles

Try this delicious truffle recipe from eatingwell.com if you're looking for something salty and sweet!

“Cocoa-Nut” Bananas

Not only are these banana bites super easy easy to make, but they're also full of healthy, unprocessed ingredients. 

Butterscotch Frosted Cupcakes

These are some of the more traditional treats you can make, but even the reduced sugar recipe doesn't make them taste any less incredible!

Easy Chocolate Mousse

The use of high quality bittersweet chocolate is what prevents this mousse from packing on the calories and fat of most traditional desserts.

Yogurt “Cheesecake” with Strawberries and Pineapple Syrup

This recipe is packed with fruit and uses yogurt as a healthy cheesecake alternative.

We'd love to hear what some of your favourite healthy/low sugar desserts are to make during the Christmas and holiday season.

Let us know what you think of the recipes above and share some of your favourites with us too!

 

Halloween Candy Tips and Alternatives

 

It’s that time of year again - in just a couple of days, adorable trick or treaters decked out in their spookiest and most creative costumes will roam door to door looking for sweet treats. The only problem? A whole bunch of them will wake up the next morning with a tummy ache (and likely the start of at least one cavity).

We’re not suggesting you completely boycott handing out candy (or cutting your children off from the sugary treats they collect entirely). Instead, why not practice moderation?

Balance Out The Goodies You Hand Out

Instead of just buying a jumbo bag of chocolate bars, mix up what you’ve got in your trick or treat bowl. Throw in some toys (maybe a pirate eye patch or glittery temporary tattoos) and choose the treats you do include with caution.

Try to avoid anything that’s likely to get stuck in between children's teeth too easily (a lot of chewy candies like sour patch kids, fuzzy peaches, and watermelon slices can cause some serious dental trouble down the road) and stick to items that aren’t hard enough to break teeth (giant gumballs, jawbreakers, and some lollipops can crack a tooth if they’re bitten into by an overeager kid).

Check out this Business Insider list for some of the healthier Halloween Candy options.

Use It as a Teaching Opportunity

Use Halloween as an opportunity to teach your kids about good dental hygiene. Come up with a reward system - they get to indulge in some of their Halloween spoils so long as they promise to brush and floss right after.

Make sure to follow up with them; if they listened, it means they can have a little bit more candy the following day. If not, then they to prove to you that they can be trusted to take good care of their teeth before having any more.