Summer’s here. That means outdoor activities. When exercising and participating in sports a warm up is a good idea, so it is with outdoor summer activities if we want to avoid injury or worse. Forbes magazine concluded that more injuries occur during summer and especially with mundane activities. Stats Canada found that the most injury prone group was between 20-64 years of age and you guessed it they were also males. Other agencies and groups offer similar findings – it appears that during summer activities we abandon our common sense and caution. Maybe it’s the sunlight and warmth after shivering in the dark for so long each year. Anyway, being prepared is the key to prevention.

The following links offer advice, tips and further resources to safely enjoy summer after our  winters hibernation.


General summer outdoor safety tips

Canadian boating safety and requirements



Staying safe camping and hiking

Ontario Parks

Family camping tips


Gear Checklists for camping

Checklist for learning to camp




Oral Wellness, Whole Health…you don’t want dental problems during your summer activities. Enjoy the sun!



Travel, Technology and Healthcare

Recently I had the privilege of speaking at the Hypnosis: New Generation conference in Budapest. We took some extra time and went to Vienna for a few days. Unfortunately one of our party became seriously ill requiring medical attention. This is when the challenges of travel in a foreign country become daunting.

Healthcare here at home is increasingly technology dependent from diagnostics to on-line accessible health records. There are certain downsides to this, but the upsides are equal to or outweigh them. For dinosaurs and Luddites like me, the value will become apparent.

Thankfully we are in the digital age. Not only is my smart phone well equipped with apps, but my laptop was also at hand.  Our Viennese residence had WiFi as one of its features enabling us to find a service that guided us to an English speaking physician. The Austrian system, not unlike our own, has the general physician act as the gate keeper. Once a preliminary differential diagnosis (the most likely possible problems leading to the apparent symptoms) was determined, he called the most appropriate hospital emergency room (Kankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brüder) to arrange follow up imaging and care, and gave us documents in German to speed the process. The staff at the hospital had knowledge of English from the rudimentary to superb making communication possible at a stressful time.

All of this searching, phone calls and directions took place on- line with a mobile phone and the laptop computer. Not only did this capability allow us to translate web pages into English, but it gave explanations of ‘how to’ in an alien health care system. Navigation was also enhanced by the Google Maps allowing us to easily find locations.

When travelling, I highly recommend that  you minimally carry a smart phone;  a tablet or a laptop gives you more capabilities along with the phone.  If nothing else, scout out the health care system before leaving for your trip. Never leave the country without good travel insurance, and consider belonging to groups like IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers) for assistance when necessary.

Also, never forget your toothbrush and floss! Floss has many uses beyond keeping your pearly whites gleaming.

Remember Oral Wellness, Whole Health!
















Victoria Day – Victorian Dentistry

Victoria Day, 24- weekend is the second most notable event next to Mother’s Day celebrated  in May. So in the interest of the Queen’s birthday, we thought it would be interesting to compare Victorian dentistry to today.

Victoria reigned from 1837 – 1901. Not too many people like to visit the dentist, but back then it was more like no one wanted to see the dentist… and the reasons were well founded. Generally the only treatment you could get were extractions and then usually by blacksmiths, barbers, or questionably trained “dentists”.

The battle of Waterloo was fought 4 years before Victoria was born 

and lends its name to Waterloo teeth, that is, dentures made from the teeth of the fallen soldiers during the battle. Other dentures might have had some form of ivory teeth and interesting solutions to keep them in the mouth.  Did I mention that extractions were without any form of anesthesia?

Speaking of anesthesia did you know that we tooth drawers were involved in its development? In 1884 cocaine in solution was used as a local anesthetic. The infamous Canadian born Painless Parker used a mix of whiskey and cocaine for his so called painless extractions.

In 1844 Horace Wells used nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for extractions and in 1846 William Morton superseded it with ether anesthesia. Since then dentistry has evolved various chemical anesthetics, electronic anesthesia, computer controlled injections and if lasers are being used, the need for anesthetic may not be necessary at all!

It should be apparent that these extractions led to a great deal of suffering, injury and illness. This changed only when dentistry was brought under legislative control. In Ontario this occurred in 1868, while in Britain it was in 1878.

Dental education was being formalized and one of the first schools was the Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland founded in 1840. Dentistry has made an effort to evolve to the state that it is today.

Dentists in Victoria’s time didn’t have a specific office; work was done at their homes if they were not itinerant. Dentists were very expensive and only the wealthy could afford to pay. Today dental insurance minimizes that pain.

Instruments were re-used instead of replaced after every visit and infection control was primitive in comparison. Drills were powered manually with foot pedals that the dentist had to pump hard to generate power. Today the high speed drill has even been replaced by the all tissue laser in some venues.

Preventative dentistry as we know it today didn’t exist in Victorian times – William Addis in 1780 Britain is responsible for their first mass produced tooth brush. Now the electric and ultrasonic brush with associated ‘apps’ is available to one and all. Coupled with the variety of tooth pastes available today, the average Victorian would be gob smacked.

So… how are your teeth? Are you brushing and flossing properly? Are you up to date on your check-ups at your dental home?                            Remember Oral Wellness, Whole health

Hypnosis: A Life Skill

Recently, I returned from the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis in San Antonio where I had the pleasure of presenting to a multidisciplinary group. Most folks have one of several possible responses to clinical hypnosis – disbelief, skepticism, bemusement (as in they had an experience in Vegas or a frat party) or curiosity. Most are unaware of its full potential and scope of applications across many fields.

Hypnosis or more correctly self-hypnosis (as clinicians consider all hypnosis to be self-hypnosis) is a life skill that can make the vicissitudes of daily life manageable. There are uses in medicine, dentistry, mental health, human potentials development, education and entertainment.  The applications for daily living, once mastered, are limited only by one’s imagination.

So what is hypnosis?

Dr. Peter Sacco defines it as,” tunnel vision for greater awareness”. My view is that it is a shift in mind set from the usual allowing change to take place. Other more complicated definitions exist, but there is not enough space to discuss them.  Hypnosis is a natural process that we experience several times a day  whether we are aware of it or not. Being aware and consciously using it opens up a world of possibilities. When all is said, hypnosis is the ultimate in self-control!

This link connects to a video of Dr. Elisabeth Marie Faymonville, an anesthetist, who has pioneered hypnosedation, which is a combination of hypnosis and local anesthetics for surgery. The results speak for themselves. Easy to use, less complications, faster recovery and cost effective to use which are all concerns in today’s health care environments regardless of where you are in the world.

I’m interested, how do I learn?

Many health care practitioners offer hypnosis as part of their care. Generally an organic web search with local search parameters will generate a list for you to investigate. If you are unsuccessful, look for clinical associations e.g. the Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnosis –Ontario Division, or the American Association of Clinical Hypnosis. They have lists of clinicians that are taking patients or clients and the services they offer.

If this does not result in finding an appropriate clinician, then ask your health care providers. You may have noted that I emphasize clinicians and health care providers for a simple reason- if one does not treat something without hypnosis, one should not treat it with hypnosis.

Should you still not be successful with your search, see our web site for information. We also offer an affordable stress management program utilizing self-hypnosis for bruxers, that is, grinders and clenchers because stress has a negative impact on our overall health including gum disease.

Self –hypnosis a life skill worth learning!


Alcohol & Your Mouth

March is known for many things – the Ides, the spring Equinox, but the most remarkable is St. Patrick’s Day. And St. Patrick’s Day is known for its green beer!

A little tipple may be good for you, but what about a lot? The usual risks of cognitive impairment, addiction, and cirrhosis are fairly well known, as are the societal costs of alcoholism. However, as in most things, the negative impact on the mouth is lesser known.

Chronic alcohol users have more cavities, missing and filled teeth. They also have more root canal treated teeth. Alcohol being acidic also increases the erosion of the teeth. Erosion wears away the enamel that can lead to several problems – some of them quite costly.

Periodontitis, that is, gum disease is also more prevalent. This means foul breathe, loose teeth, tooth supporting bone loss with eventual loss of teeth. Gum disease has been linked to general illnesses ranging from heart disease to cognitive decline.

Chronic alcohol users have more frequent oral lesions than their counterpart occasional tipplers.  The lesions tend to be precursors to cancers and other significant diseases. One of the less than pleasant symptoms usually experienced first thing in the morning is known as abstinence or withdrawal syndrome also known as the toothbrush heaves.

So the ideal thing is to reduce your risk. Yes, much easier to say than to do. However it’s all about moderation, the golden mean, or what your mother always told you.

Limit your amount of alcohol consumption.

Brush and Floss daily: Brush at least twice a day especially before bed because that is when we have a reduction in saliva production. Saliva is protective and restorative in nature, but if we have been eating and drinking all day (feeding the biofilm bacteria in our mouths) the decreased saliva flow permits the bacteria to do their worst over night.

Use a good fluoride toothpaste or one that is specifically formulated for erosion.

Keep your dental appointments: Regular dental appointments can help you avoid gum disease, bone loss and decay. Serious diseases can be spotted early preventing suffering and hardship.

If you suspect that you may have a problem or an addiction to alcohol. We encourage you to seek counseling.

Oral Wellness, Whole health is a conscious choice like a healthy relationship with alcohol.


Pet’s Dental Health Month

It should be no surprise that February is Pet Dental Health Month. After all, it has the Groundhog prognosticating about seasons and climate.

Groundhogs hibernate and likely have morning breath when they stick their heads out of their dens looking for shadows and such.

Does your pet’s breathe smell badly? Is your pet chewing slowly; do you see blood on their toys, or maybe they have lost some teeth? They could be symptoms of serious dental and general health problems. Remember that pets are prone to the same diseases we are – so like us, diseases in the mouth cause or make diseases of the body worse.

Good dental hygiene at home and preventative dental care at your vet can help keep your pet healthy, and save you money in the long run.

Some thoughts:

Brush your pet’s teeth

Ok. If you find flossing your own teeth a challenge, this may be akin to bronco busting at the rodeo, especially with a cat. But with patience, practice and some treats, it could become a bonding experience with your pet. Ask your vet how to do this.

Dental toys, treats and food

Dental toys, treats and food may not be effective as tooth brushing, but it will help in maintaining your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

Regular Veterinarian visits

Just as you should be having regular dental visits, your pet needs scheduled dental cleaning at your vet’s office. Keeping regular veterinary appointments will ensure your pet’s health.

Dental health for your pets, like you and your family, should be a daily ritual.

Remember Oral Wellness, Whole Health!






How many of Your New Year’s resolutions  have already lapsed, or been missed, forgotten or just plain ignored thinking you’ll start tomorrow…?

Stressed or depressed by this yet? So, maybe this year to stay healthy go without resolutions and stick to the things your mama likely told you.

Eat healthy. Eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to be complicated. A book like “What to Eat When: A Strategic Plan to Improve Your Health and Life through Food” by Roizen may be a good start.  Replace processed food with real food whenever is possible. Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a huge difference to the way you think, look and feel.

Exercise. Exercise helps control your weight, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers; it strengthens your bones and improves your mental health and mood. Even short walks with friends can improve your mood and health.

Rest. In our wired 24/7 world we are all sleep deprived and risking our well being. Learning to rest –meditation; self-hypnosis, disconnecting regularly, etc. is crucial to maintaining our sanity and physical health.

Me time in the out of doors. In Japan they call it forest therapy. Returning to nature to recharge and rejuvenate is the same as disconnecting from our wired world by taking the time to return to our roots…literally. We developed in the natural world and should reconnect whenever possible.

Preventive maintenance visits to your doctor and dentist is a very important thing to do if you want to stay healthy and have beautiful smile.

Stay Happy and Healthy !


Season’s Greetings! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidaaaays…

What if it isn’t Happy or Merry?  What if this is one of the most stressful, if not the most stressful period of the year?

If you are feeling anxious, lonely or overwhelmed; you have mental health concerns or are grieving, what do you do at this time of year?  Here are some suggestions to help get you through. If you are having serious difficulty coping, please seek professional care or at least talk to a trusted confident.

 Get enough sleep: Make an effort to keep to a sleep routine. Rest is important to counter stress.

Exercise: Exercise outside, where the sunlight will help improve your mood and focus. Physical activity is a significant counter balance to the stress hormones and chemicals in our bodies.

Make time for yourself:  Holiday vacations could be a huge hassle. Figure out ways to have fun and enjoy your holidays by doing things that are significant and meaningful to you.

Holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, love and joy. Figure out what YOU need to do to keep holiday spirit rather than be a casualty of it.

If you still feel anxious and depressed, here are some links that you can visit for helpful information:

We wish you and yours the Best of the Season, Happy Holidays and a Joyous Prosperous New Year!

Tips for Treats

Halloween is all about tricks and treats. The trick for parents is how to keep their kids healthy and safe. Considerations should include the type of costume, treat collecting route, and of course the weather. For kids Halloween means bags of free goodies. For parents it present challenges when it comes to the collected hoard of treats. Do I give them a little at the time, or do I let them indulge until they make themselves feel sick? That choice is yours to make, but it is important to have a plan.

Since we see the ravages of sweets, here are a few tips to consider so that the treats have less of an impact on your kids’ teeth:
Let the kids have their treats with meals or shortly after mealtime. This
allows saliva to wash away some of the harmful acids produced by treat fed
bacteria. Saliva changes at mealtime to provide a buffering effect against
acids which cause decay.

Choose the type of treat carefully. Avoid hard candy and suckers that stay
in the mouth a long time. Sticky candies like gummy bears and toffee get
stuck in the teeth and take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing
the risk of tooth decay. Sour candies are acidic. The acid causes erosion,
thinning the enamel of the teeth; this also makes them more prone to decay
and sensitivity.

Drink more water.

Help your children with brushing twice a day and flossing if they can’t do
this by themselves. If it is impossible to brush and floss after sweets,
chew a piece of sugar – free gum to stimulate saliva flow and neutralize the
acid produced by bacteria.

You and your child can come up with a plan on the number of treats they keep
and what to do with the rest.

For those of you giving out treats, you may want to consider healthier
alternatives. How about dollar store stickers or pencils? Another option
that is better than sticky candy is chips or pretzels or Doritos. Do check
the labels to avoid the worry of nut allergies!

If teeth should suffer, see your dentist don’t wait for their regular 6
monthly dental visit.

Happy Trick or Treating!