Category: General Tooth Care Info

Demineralization – say what?!?
Demineralization – say what?!?

I was driving down the road the other day a flipped down my visor to take a look at my brows to see if they needed tweezing.  It’s a long story, but the short version is that we have fluorescent lighting in our house and it is horrible and makes it impossible to visualize little details like, “Do my brows look ok?”  It turned out that my brows were indeed in need of plucking (luckily, I have tweezers in the car).  I flashed a smile at myself in the mirror and was shocked to note how yellow and, well, translucent my teeth appeared. What could be causing that?

“Tea?  Coffee?” my helpful husband suggested.  No, that wasn’t it.  I have recently changed toothpastes to an all-natural one, which means that there is not added fluoride.  I also drink water that has been filtered for everything, so there’s no fluoride in my drinking water.  “Could theses things be the culprit of my clear, yellow teeth?” I wondered to myself.

It turns out that minerals such as calcium and phosphate help make up tooth enamel, along with bone and dentin. They also prevent tooth decay and, subsequently, cavities.  As we age, the minerals in our teeth can decrease. This may be caused by eating sugary and acidic foods (soda, coffee, and more). It can also occur when bacteria accumulate in the mouth. Sadly, once the enamel or bone are gone, there’s no way to get them back without replacing the tooth entirely.  As I looked at my teeth in the mirror, I realized that the discoloration just might be due to demineralization.

Fear not!  It IS possible to help replenish the calcium and phosphate minerals with lifestyle changes and home remedies before tooth decay occurs. This process is known as remineralization.

How to remineralize?

Step 1:  BRUSH YOUR TEETH!

Like a broken record, let me repeat:  brushing your teeth is important.  It removes bacteria. Bacteria cause cavities.  No bacteria: No cavities.

Step 2:  Use fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride strengthens your teeth and it prevents tooth decay via the remineralization process.

Step 3:  Stop with the sugar already!

Again, like a broken record: Sugar is bad.  It is highly acidic and it interacts with bacteria in the mouth, breaking down tooth enamel.  A special note: natural, unprocessed sugars, like honey may be among the worst culprits for harming tooth enamel.  Another special note:  it’s not the *quantity* of sugar that you consume, but rather the frequency with which you do so that affects tooth demineralization.

Potatoes, rice, bread and other starch-laden foods increase the amount of fermentable sugars in the mouth, resulting in tooth erosion, just as with “regular” sugars.  Combine starchy foods with sugar and you have a lethal mix.  Always keep in mind that sugar comes in the form of carbohydrates as well as sugar.

Step 4:  Chew sugarless gum

Finally, advice that is fun.  Current studies indicate that sugarless gums may actually promote the remineralization process because they help to remove sugar, plaque and carbohydrates from the teeth, while encouraging salivation.

Step 4:  Fruit and fruit juice consumption should be in moderation

It’s sad, but it’s best to not consume fruit juice and to consume fruits in moderation. Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, etc.) are particularly bad for the calcium in your teeth.  Fruit acids cause calcium chelation, which means that the acids from the fruits bind with the tooth calcium and strip it away.  Simply said:  More fruit = less tooth calcium.

Step 6:  Increase your calcium and vitamin intake, including probiotics

Bonus:  eating calcium-rich cheeses might counteract the effects of eating sugar.  If your dietary calcium intake is low, consider a supplement.  Newer studies indicate that Vitamin D may be be important for protecting against cavities. Ask your doctor or dentist if they feel that a Vitamin D supplement might be a good idea for you.  Probiotics have received a lot of attention in recent years, and with good reason.  When it comes to your teeth, they can be an important player in the process of reminerilization.  Only certain strains of probiotics are produced in the mouth and these are the ones you want to take to aide in oral health.  These strains include bifidobacterium, reuteri, rhamnosus and salivarius.  Finally, take a daily multi-vitamin.

Step 7 :  Decrease your dairy intake.

There’s balance in everything.  Dairy is a great source of calcium.  But, the lactose in traditional milk products can increase the acidity in your mouth.  Consider opting for lactose-free, almond, or soy milk.

Step 8:  Salivate

Saliva is integral ot remineralization.  If you find that you have a dry mouth, then consider talking to your dentist about gums and rinses that can increase saliva activity.  In the meantime, start chewing a sugarfree gum between meals.

Step 9:  Drink WATER

‘Nuff said.

8 things to do to protect your teeth … young or old
8 things to do to protect your teeth … young or old

8 things to do to protect your teeth … young or old

1. Avoid drinking soda pop as part of your daily routine.

2. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning to help prevent cavities and detect them early.

3. Avoid having a dry mouth and remedy it with water (not soda, milk, or sports drinks!).  Some causes of dry mouth are dehydration, dry climate, and prescription medications.

4. Go to your dentist if you have a problem with your teeth.  This includes pain and chipping.

5. Get enough fluoride in your mouth.  Consider taking fluoride supplements, especially if you don’t live in an area where the water is fluoridated.  Note:  if you have TOO MUCH fluoride in your diet, then your teeth will develop yellow spots.

6. Keep your tongue healthy. When you brush your teeth, brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria.

7. Don’t brush your teeth with a hard-bristled brush. Hard bristles can open up the root surfaces through gum recession and can wear down the tooth enamel.  Medium or soft is the way to go!

8. Don’t use commercially available whitening products before talking to your dentist.

Enamel Love
Enamel Love

Each one of your teeth is covered by a hard, protective layer called the enamel.  The enamel is what protects the tooth from decay.  It acts as a shield.  Just like a metal shield, when acids come in contact with the enamel, they can erode it and make it soft.  If the shield experiences acid exposure repeatedly, then it deteriorates to a point where it is useless and unreparable.  If you tooth enamel erodes and is corroded, it can never, ever be restored naturally.

You might ask, “Why does this matter to me?”

When the tooth enamel is eroded away, your chance of getting cavities increases.

You might wonder, “If acid is the bad guy, then what foods are acidic?”

So many … too many to list … but, here are some of the most commonly consumed acidic foods:

  • Soft drinks, Cola, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Root beer, ALL OF THEM!
  • Sports drinks
  • Coffee
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Pasta
  • White flour
  • Salt
  • White bread.

Sadly, even repeated, throughout the day exposure to fruits and vegetables can slowly erode your teeth due to acid exposure.

“Can it possibly get worse?” you ask

Possibly the worst news?  Possibly the worst news is that even if you avoid all acidic foods, the bacteria that lives in your mouth feeds on sugars.  When the bacteria feed on sugars, they multiply.  When they multiply, the byproduct is acid.   So, no matter what, your teeth are exposed to acid.

Surely, you’re wondering, “What CAN I do?”

Great news!  You can indeed do something to minimize the acid attack on your tooth enamel.  You can eat acid-balancing foods, such as nuts.  They’re nutritious and will help you show Enamel Love.  Bonus, you’ll gain protein intake at the same time.  Note, the softer the nut, the higher the fat content.  Also, take a look at the graphic associated with this post.  Ginger, onion, pineapple, cheese, celery and apples.  These foods are great at promoting tooth health overall.

And now you’re thinking, “How do I show even more Enamel Love?”

Love your enamel…

  • Avoid eating continuously.
  • Rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating.
  • Floss your teeth during the day.
  • Chew sugar free gum throughout the day, especially after eating.
  • Brush right after you eat.
  • Only drink water during the night! (see next point)
  • Consider running a humidifier next to your bed at night if you live in a dry climate.  This will help you reduce the feeling of dry mouth overnight.
You’ve got this!  Simple, healthy choices are good for your overall health and directly affect your teeth.
How to Care for your Child’s Toothbrush (and your own!)
How to Care for your Child’s Toothbrush (and your own!)

Today’s blog is short and sweet, but oh-so-important.

Oral hygiene is of paramount importance. Brushing twice a day, flossing, going to the dentist.

But so often, we neglect that crucial component of oral hygiene:  The Toothbrush.

To care properly for your child’s toothbrush:

  • Ensure that it is THOROUGHLY RINSED after each use. Also, encourage your child to shake off the excess water and allow the toothbrush to fully dry between uses.  These practices reduce the growth of bacteria on the brush.
  • STORE the toothbrush in an UPRIGHT position and without touching another brush. Doing this avoids spreading germs and encourage complete drying.
  • Use mouthwash to SANITIZE your child’s toothbrush overnight (or dip it into boiling water for a few seconds) WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ILL.
  • This may seem like a silly recommendation, but its worth mentioning: DON’T SHARE toothbrushes.
  • REPLACE the toothbrush no more than every 3 months. If the bristles are fraying, it’s time.

Brushing is much more effective in helping your child’s teeth to be healthy when the toothbrush is “healthy,” too.

Dental emergencies
Dental emergencies

Once upon a time, my adorable 4-year-old son was being a big boy and helping his daddy change the tires on our truck.  He was so proud of himself, being with his dad and doing hard work.  So proud that he decided that he was certainly strong enough to pick up one of those big ol’ tires all by his little ol’ self.  He knelt down, shimmied his hands under the tire, took a deep breath and lifted that side of the tire up with a giant grin on his face, “Look Daddy!” he shouted just before losing his grip and dropping the tire

…which hit the ground hard

…and bounced up into the air, smashing squarely into those adorable top baby teeth.

All of them. They were jammed up into the gums.

This certainly seemed like a dental emergency to me.  Despite all of our efforts to protect his teeth – regular brushing, trying to get regular flossing in, wearing a mouth guard when he played ice hockey (yes, at 4-years-old, he was already an avid ice hockey player!), and going to the dentist twice a year.

But was it an emergency?

Dental emergencies are typically due to injury. This was definitely an injury.  Emergencies typically involve a tooth being knocked out, cracked, or chipped.  His teeth were all intact.  *Really* intact – as in jammed up into the gums!  The other categories of emergency are extreme pain or an object that is jammed between teeth.  It was hard to tell if he was in pain or not because he was scared.

As parents, we felt that this incident qualified as an emergency.  And then it hit us:  We had no idea what to do in the case of a dental emergency!  Through trial and error and talking with the dentist, we learned how to respond correctly.  I hope that you never have to deal with an injury to your child’s teeth. But, if you do (and you probably will because kids will be kids), here is a plan for response to a dental injury:

  1. Stay calm!
  2. Stop the bleeding quickly. Mouths bleed A LOT and your job as the responsible adult it to get that bleeding stopped as quickly as possible.  Use gauze or a clean cloth and apply gentle, but firm pressure to the wound.  As the bleeding slows, you will be able to assess the injury better.  Sometimes, a cut in the lip seems like it’s going to be a serious injury, but as the bleeding is staunched, you can see that it’s nothing that a little ice and a few snuggles won’t cure.
  3. Check the wound. If you find a cracked or chipped tooth, you’ll need to get to the dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
  4. (if applicable) Find the tooth! If your child has knocked out a tooth, find it and then call the dentist.  Dentists can actually put baby teeth back in (who would have thought that was possible?!?) and your dentist may want to do this.  The other reason to find the tooth is that it will enable the dentist o assess whether or not the entire tooth was knocked out.
  5. Keep the tooth moist. Yes, you read that correctly.  Once you find that precious tooth (especially if it’s an adult tooth), do your best to keep it moist.  If you can, put the tooth back in your child’s mouth in its proper place.  Have your child gently bite down on a piece of gauze or even a tea bag to help keep the tooth in place (and prevent swallowing).  If you can’t put the tooth in his mouth, then put it in a container or milk.
  6. Call the dentist.

My poor little guy’s gums turned an ugly purple color and bled so much when he injured his teeth.  To our amazement, the dentist didn’t tell us to rush to the emergency room or even to get into the office immediately.  He did set up an appointment for the following day and gave us some tips, like giving only cold liquids and children’s Tylenol to help with the pain.

Much to our surprise, when we went to the dentist the next day, he took one look and proclaimed that we had nothing to worry about.  All of the teeth were intact and he informed us that they would slowly move back down to their normal position and that one day, he would lose those baby teeth and they would be replaced by healthy permanent teeth.

I didn’t really believe him. My son’s gums were soooo swollen and discolored.  Howe could it be possible that everything would be fine?  But, in the end, his little body healed itself and today, he has a healthy set of permanent teeth. Well, almost, there’s still one baby tooth hanging on in there, but I’m sure it’ll come out in due time.

Best advice in the case of a dental injury?  STAY CALM and contact your dentist.

Caries … what in the world is that?
Caries … what in the world is that?

There is a bacterial infection called “caries.”  It causes tooth decay and cavities. It is the most common chronic disease of early childhood.  Upwards of 50% of 5-year-old children have “had” caries (tooth decay). Sure, this is “only” affecting baby teeth, which the child will eventually lose, to be replaced by permanent adult teeth.  But when the teeth are impacted, overall well-being is impacted, including: eating, speaking, learning and playing.  Pain, caused by tooth decay, negatively affects childhood development.  Furthermore, the health of those future permanent teeth can be compromised.

If these bacteria are so common, what can be done about it?  Great news!  Nearly all tooth decay can be prevented.  There are two main factors in preventing tooth decay:

  1. Although there is some controversy over fluoride and its excessive use, it is a proven fact that brushing with fluoride toothpaste is important to oral health and preventing tooth decay.  Brushing twice a day is recommended.
  2. Exposure to sugars brings the greatest risk for tooth decay.  Do not give your child juice, especially at bedtime.  Formula also contains sugars, so if you are formula feeding your little one, you need to be brushing his teeth, as well.  The interaction between sugars and bacteria produces acids that slowly damage tooth enamel.  Tooth enamel is the protective covering of the teeth.

But, wait! There’s more!  You can implement other practices to help reduce your child’s (and your own) risk of tooth decay. Add these tools to your tool box and benefit from great oral health:

  1. Regular checkups. Going to the dentist every six months is worth it.  Cleanings remove buildup on the teeth and also provide the opportunity to catch decay before it progresses.
  2. Drink water. Drinking water rinses the mouth and helps decrease the interaction between your food and drinks and the bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Fluoridated water provides an extra level of protection, as fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel.
  3. Teeth have 5 sides (front, back, side, side, top).  Brushing only reaches 3 of those sides, but adding flossing to your routine ensures that ALL 5 sides of each tooth are cleaned daily.

Remember, there are about a billion microbes in your child’s mouth.  These microbes recycle what we eat and drink.  When the microbes have access to sugars, then they will eventually recycle those sugars into acids.  Acids wear down the tooth enamel and eventually, the tooth is subject to bacterial invasion that causes cavities.

Reducing risk is simple:  brush teeth, reduce intake of sugars, drink water, floss, and go to the dentist regularly.

Independence Day Family Celebration Ideas
Independence Day Family Celebration Ideas

“Every heart beats true for the red, white, and blue”… may be some of the musical lyrics you hear this 4th of July celebration! Parades, park adventures with the family, camping, picnics, and fireworkds are all part of the celebrations today as we commemorate the 242nd birthday of the United States of America! Join us for some tasty, festive snacks and fun activities for the kids!

Red, White, and Blue “Firework” Pom Poms

Hosting a party or BBQ? These little pom poms are fun, fairly quick, and festive decorations for your porch or dinning area. Here is what you will need!

Tissue paper: red, white and blue of course! Chose white with colored sparkles to create firework-style pom poms

Ribbon or fine string

Scissors

Stapler

How to:

  1. Fold tissue paper in half 3 times until you have a rectangle approximately 7 x 10 inches. Cut along the folds until you have 8 pieces. If using a different size tissue paper, simply cut into 7″ x 10″ rectangles. Repeat for each set of tissue paper.
  2. Take two cut sheets of each colour and layer on top of each other: red, white, blue, red, white, blue or sparkly color tissue paper.
  3. Folding horizontally along the short end of the rectangle, create an alternating accordion fold about 1 inch think along the tissue paper sheets. You should be flipping the tissue paper over with each fold to create the accordion fold.
  4. Pinching the folded tissue paper together in the middle, staple once in the center to secure all of the layers in place.
  5. Flip the accordioned tissue paper over, and center the ribbon over the backside of the staple. Staple again to secure the twine or ribbon to your folded tissue paper layers.
  6. Trim each end of your folded pom into an arrow point.
  7. Gently fan out one half of the folded pom, and gently pull each layer of tissue paper away from the centre to fluff. Repeat for all layers of tissue paper on both the top and bottom half of each pom. You should have a cute, round pom once you’re done!
  8. Repeat Steps 1-4 to create the next accordion pom. To make one continuous garland, simply measure the amount of space you would like between poms before directly stapling the folded pom to your twine or ribbon. Repeat Step 6 & 7 to finish each pom. Keep going until your pom pom garland is to your liking!

 

Hand print Keepsake Fireworks

Hand print artwork is a classic keepsake to look back on as your kids grow up; this little activity is perfect for those parents who enjoy these memorable pieces and ideal for kids who love to get messy with the paint! (water washable paint is the best!)

Supplies:

Red, blue, gold, silver, cardstock/construction paper

White cardstock (2) smaller than color cardstock/paper

Acrylic paint of choice or washable paint

Glitter glue – gold, silver, or multi color

Paint palette (paper plates work well!)

Paint brushes (foam brush and regular paint brush)

Paper cutter or scissors

Glue stick

tape

Wipes for cleaning up!

Festive stickers (optional)

How to:

  1. Gently tape white cardstock (matte side up, shiny side down!) to the table for secure hand printing painting
  2. Apply desired paint color for handprint to a paper plate or paint palette and use the foam brush to apply to your child’s hand, apply a thin coat to prevent globs and reduce smearing.
  3. Gently press their hand down on the card stock. Encourage them to hold still by gently tickling their palm before pressing down to stimulate a spread reflex (works well for young babies and toddlers). As they press down, run your fingers across the tops of their fingers to encourage the same reflex.
  4. Pull their hand straight up and either wash at the sink or wipe away the paint
  5. Next, on seperate piece of cardstock, add detail of fireworks with regular paint brush or help guide your child’s little fingers to make strokes of paint. Use multiple colors of choice and start with an “X” shape, adding strokes all around between.Use glitter glue to add some sparkle streaks for a firework resemblance.
  6. When the handprint dries, cut out along the edges and glue to the middle of the cardstock with the firework detail. Or, attach handprint to still wet glue of firework detail.
  7. Cut cardstock to fit inside color paper, using the color paper as a frame.
  8. Don’t forget to write the name and date at the bottom!
  9. Add festive stickers or glitter glue to the border of your frame if desired.

 

Fruit Kabobs

Fruit is in season and often on sale this time of year. It is well-known as nature’s candy and kids are commonly fans, so pick out their favorites and make some tasty snacks…think red, white, and blue!

Yummy options:

Strawberries

Rasberries

Blueberries

Blackberries

Bananans

Red grapes

Watermelon

Rice krispie treats

Angle food cake cut into squares or rounds (cookie cuters!)

Marshmallows

Kabob sticks/skewers

How to:

  1. Fairly simple, prepare your fruits and foods of choice. Wash berries and cut Strawberry tops, slice bananas, cube watermelon and Krispy treats and cake bits to desired bite size.
  2. Place your choices on a plate or in cups and let the kids pick and stick!

We hope you all enjoy a memorable and safe Independence Day this year with family and friend! Make some of these fun craft and snack ideas part of your celebrations and keep those smiles bright!

 

These fun tips were brought to you by Kidds Place

Exploring the Backyard
Exploring the Backyard

A child’s mind is always active, and they are constantly seeking new wonders and adventures.  Children are natural explorers, and there is so much to do and see in your own backyard.  Keep in mind that extravagant vacations to exotic places are not necessary, in order to fulfill a child’s never-ending need to see all that the world has to offer.

Fun in the Garden

Your own backyard is a great place for your children and their friends to be occupied for hours.  Some great ideas include:

  1. Have the children go on a spider web hunt.
  2. Make a crown made from leaves, or even have them design their own place setting made of leaves, that they can use for the evening meal.
  3. Rock painting is becoming a fast enjoying trend.  Rocks can be found in your own backyard, and once painted; they could be hidden in secret places around the community to be found by others.  This is a great way to keep children occupied, and bring a smile to the face of strangers.
  4. Growing vegetables is a great way to teach children about food and nature.  Growing a sweet potato is something that could be done above ground, so children can experience the wonders of all stages of growth.
  5. Attempting to catch butterflies with a home-made butterfly net is a great way to get children to create something of their own, and also to appreciate nature.
  6. To tap into their imaginary side, encourage children to make a fairy garden, or build a tiny house for fairies.  Also, they can whip up a batch of fairy potion with a few household items, such as a jar, water, flower petals (or other items from the backyard), food coloring, and of course a magic stick to stir the potion.
  7. Camping and stargazing in the backyard has been something that children have been doing for years, and this is a tried and true activity that children love.

Your backyard is going to the place to be, where you share your homemade large games with the neighborhood.  Remember, building the game is half the fun.

Yard Twister

You will need some string to make sure your lines are straight, but more importantly, you will need spray paint cans of blue, yellow, green and red.  A 5 gallon bucket with the bottom (about a 10 inch circumference) cut out is recommended for the pattern template.  It is strongly advised, to allow the paint to dry before playing, to keep children from ruining clothes and shoes (or tracking wet paint into your house).   Use the spinner from the original game, if you don’t have one, just call out random combinations and watch the fun unfold.

DIY a Lawn Tic-Tac-Toe set

For the board, you can use spray paint, pool noodles, chalk, or use rope or yarn for the lines on the board.  Then you will need the “X” and “O” (5 of each) – these can be anything, like painted rocks, bean bags, or large handmade cutouts.

DIY Giant Backyard Bowling 

PVC pipes can be used to create this great, larger than life backyard game, but you can also use some common household products, such a large plastic soda bottles (filled with water with food coloring added), empty cereal boxes, or empty paper towel tubes filled with rocks (tape both ends of the filled tubes).

Giant Jenga

To create this fun game, you will just need a few 2’ by 4’ boards.  Most home improvement stores and lumber yards will cut the wood to your specific lengths, so you don’t even need a saw!

 

 

Kidds Place is a place for children of all ages. Learn more about our dental services here.

3 Unexpected Reasons Why You Should Change Out Your Toothbrush Every Three Months

It may or may not be common knowledge that there are nearly 100 to 200 species of bacteria, at any given time, lurking in your mouth. This is bacteria that also take up residence on your toothbrush as well! Now you know. How you store toothbrushes can also contribute far more greatly to the issue if you aren’t careful. After all, the point of brushing our teeth is to remove bacteria, so inevitably, there will be much present on your toothbrush. It may not be a pleasant subject to read about or discuss, however; teaching consistent habits early on will help construct healthy choices for your little one’s health and overall well-being.

So why should you care about where the toothbrush is placed between uses and why should you change it out? Does it really matter? Read on to find out the how and why you may not be aware of!

Germs thrive in warm, moist environments

Making toothbrushes prime estate for germs to live and grow. Bathrooms are often warm and damp from the steam of bathing, which creates an environment where your toothbrush may remain damp between uses. The ideal way to store toothbrushes is upright such as in a toothbrush clip/holder in a place where it can dry between uses, such as in a tight-closing mirror cabinet or even in the cupboard under the sink if you have a cabinet counter.

Avoid air tight travel cases too as they don’t allow air flow to dry and create an ideal environment for visible mold, which starts to grow well before you see it! Air drying kills anaerobic bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities. Use the bathroom fan to circulate air and prevent steam from building up in excess. If you have a bathroom window, open it slightly to allow steam an escape.

Airborne and splash bacteria

Have many sources in the bathroom alone. Droplets of wastewater from flushing the toilet, hand washing, and even shower steam introduce an array of other bacteria to your toothbrush… all day long. Wherever you do find best for storage in your space, DON’T store toothbrushes off the side of the sink or on the counter top, no matter how rushed you may be! Close the toilet lid before flushing and instruct children to do the same. Teaching this during potty training days too can help ingrain this habit to help reduce contamination of the rest of your bathroom.

The common cold and flu

Viruses are active days and weeks before visible symptoms are present. They can also linger a while, though usually not for long. Still, you should change your toothbrush if you have been sick and be careful not to store toothbrushes of family members together to avoid cross infection. When you buy toothbrushes or visit your dentist, ask for one or two extra to keep on hand, unopened, for a fresh replacement after illness.

Normal wear and tear

Changes your toothbrush effectiveness more than you may think. Bristles can break down and splay causing them to become dull and unable to reach into the cracks and crevices of the teeth. Three months is the general guideline and if you or your kids tend to be heavy handed on toothbrush use, you may find replacement required more often. Use common sense to figure out when you and the family are due for new brush. Keep in mind too that maintenance between uses will greatly help and even prevent unwanted nasties.

Here are a few things you can do between uses:

Rinse in hot water

For about 30 seconds before and after brushing to remove all traces of toothpaste and kill off a majority of microbes, many of which can’t survive beyond about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the brush at a head-downward angle and tap out excess water with the bristles facing down prior to storing upright. Once a week, you can boil water a few minutes and submerge the brush head for about 20-30 minutes in a glass container.

Soak brush heads in mouthwash

In an antibacterial mouthwash for 20-30 minutes after rinsing with hot water. A gum disease-fighting mouthwash or one with alcohol or cetylpyridinium chloride will do the trick. White vinegar is also a good option aside from mouthwash. This is also ideal for toothbrushes fresh out of the package as they are not perfectly clean either.

Hydrogen Peroxide rinse

Isn’t just for owies! This is especially helpful after each brushing if you are sick. Soak for 5 minutes once a week for regular maintenance. Just don’t reuse the same hydrogen peroxide, particularly because it will break down and lose effectiveness when exposed to light.

Don’t forget the toothbrush holder!

This study by NSF International revealed that the toothbrush holder takes the title for germiest place in the bathroom! Whether you use a clip holder, cup, or other upright-holding way of toothbrush storage, clean it in hot, soapy water at least once a week or when you clean your bathroom. You can also rinse or soak with vinegar rinse under hot water. Air dry on a clean towel or paper towel.

Germs are everywhere, it’s a fact of life, and why we have immune systems to help protect us on the daily basis from common household bacteria. Don’t push your luck though and now that you know just how bacteria ridden the toothbrushes in your household really can be, take a few moments to maintain them between replacements every three months. Happy brushing!

 

Cooking with Kids: Baking Substitutes
Cooking with Kids: Baking Substitutes

Getting your kids involved in the kitchen is an easy way to expose them to the important life skill of cooking. Fortunately with baking sweets, most kids are more than eager to participate (being able to lick the spatula was always the best part when we were kids, right?).

Baking is always a fun way to have a sweet snack here and there, however much of the ingredients called for in baked goods recipes consist of unhealthy options such as Crisco or butter, bleached four or high amounts of white refined sugar. With the awareness of nutrition on the rise, there are so many healthier options out there to give you alternatives for each ingredient in your recipe to make them just as yummy but healthier at the same time.

  • Flour –

There are a lot of flour substitutes out there such as whole-wheat flour, which gives you more fiber than its bleached form. Nut flours are also very common. They have healthy oils in them and also more fiber.

  • Sugar –

There are so many alternatives for sugar it would be difficult to list them all. Natural honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or coconut sugar are just a couple options you can choose from when searching for a sweetener. These can be just as effective as refined sugar except they don’t have as high of a refined sugar content.

  • Eggs –

Not everyone likes to eat eggs or thinks that they are healthy for you, especially people who are committed to a vegan diet or have high cholesterol. Some excellent egg alternatives are chia seeds or flax-seed meal which still have emulsifying agents like eggs but are from plant sources.

  • Butter –

Butter can typically be substituted with any nut butters or unsaturated oils. Some other good options would be applesauce which has a low calorie content or ripe bananas which can still have the creamy texture of butter but are filled with nutrients and natural sugars.

Coming up with way to make your favorite recipes healthier for yourself and your family can be a fun exercise and is definitely worth it in the end!