Category: General Tooth Care Info

Fall Fluenzas
Fall Fluenzas


Enterovirus and preventing illness in your home

Fall, one of the more radiantly beautiful seasons of the year, is finally upon us again and as parents, we know what that usually means! Back to school, sweaters, and the flu. This year in particular, there has been much concern regarding the Enterovirus in the eastern and central states. Every year, the colder seasons usually come with a cycle of colds and viruses and keeping them away is of every parent’s concern. So what is the Enterovirus and how can you prevent and protect your family from falling sick this fall?

What is Enterovirus?

Enterovirus is a non-polio respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe breathing problems, particularly in children with asthma. The strain that is currently traveling the United States is known as the Enterovirus D68. Symptoms mimic those of a cold: runny nose, sneezing, cough, body aches, and fever. More severe symptoms include wheezing and difficulty breathing; usually in children with a history of respiratory problems. The virus is spread just like the common cold, through sneezing, coughing, and touching a contaminated surface.

The CDC has confirmed that from Mid August through September 16th, 120 people across 13 states have been confirmed to have the illness caused by the Enterovirus. These states include: Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Currently, children with respiratory illnesses from different parts of Washington have been admitted to Seattle Children’s hospital for testing to determine the virus or an uncommon strain of cold virus that typically hits in the Fall. There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Washington yet. The virus lasts about one week and most children recover without any lasting symptoms. Children with asthma or any kind of respiratory weakness though, are at higher risk for more serious symptoms. Like most viruses, there are no vaccines to prevent the illness and it must run it’s course. Only temporary relief from symptoms with medicine like cough syrup or pain relievers.

Preventing Illness

Whether effective cures are discovered or not, prevention is the best cure to any illness out there. Education of proper hygiene is one of the best tool you can give your kids to stay healthy and happy throughout their lives.

Wish Wash!

The first step in prevention is teaching your children to wash their hands, properly! Though it’s obvious, it cannot be stressed enough. 80% of infectious germs are spread by touch alone! Keeping toddlers from touching infected surfaces and covering coughs is near impossible which is why hand washing is realistic and most effective for younger children. Introduce your child at 1-2 years of age and let them play in the water and get comfortable with it. Pump some soap between their fingers and let them squish it around and play with it, just don’t let them eat it of course. Singing a song or practicing letters and numbers can distract them to lingering longer at the sink, enabling you to make sure they get a good wash.

Washing your toddler’s hands can be tricky, but making it fun is a learned art that will help you equip them with important hygiene skills. Experts suggest washing for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water and any soap; the regular soap will be just as effective as antibacterial. If a sink and warm water aren’t available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer and have your child rub it around until evaporated, about 20 seconds. Just don’t rely on hand sanitizers for keeping your child’s hands clean, use it only when warm water or soap is not available due to alcohol content.

When should you wash hands? It may seem obvious, but to kids it isn’t so. Encourage them to wash after blowing their nose and sneezing, coughing, touching their face, using the bathroom, and eating. The best method for teaching your child about hand washing is to do it yourself! When they see you wash, children are far more inclined to do it themselves; kids learn by influence. It is equally important for you to wash your hands for a few reasons: taking care of a sick child can also get you sick. Also, taking care of a sick child while you are sick is just miserable. Make hand washing a group activity!

Disinfect your home

When you have a sick child, it may seem inevitable that everyone in the house will get sick, but you can prevent spread by taking a few steps to eliminate germs. Keeping a clean home to prevent illness means keeping surfaces such as counter tops, door handles, and light switches sanitized. Also consider toys, toothbrushes stored in a shared cup, and chairs. Using wipes or a spray solution and paper towels, spray surfaces but allow it to rest for about 20 seconds, then wipe, ensuring that those germs are eliminated.

Besides the obvious surface sanitation, keep towels in both the kitchen and bathroom laundered regularly. Germs can hold in damp towels and cause anyone using them to become sick, especially hand towels used by everyone. Consider using disposable paper towels to prevent reduce germ spread. This sounds like a lot, but don’t make yourself go crazy in attempts to prevent germ spread, just do your best. You can’t follow your kids around disinfecting every little thing, its impossible! You can’t eliminate every germ in the house, but encouraging all members of your home to wash hands regularly will reduce the germ population greatly.

Keep your hands to yourself!

Literally, encourage your kids not to touch other children or food in the kitchen that is not going directly to their mouth. Encourage hand washing after eating and don’t let them share food and drinks with others in the home or with their friends. Oral transmission is another very common way to spread germs, so avoid sharing any food, beverage, or toys and binkys.

For parents, avoid preparing food if you can, and if you must, we cannot emphasize enough to wash your hands! Avoid breathing directly onto food as well. If your kids want a snack, remind them to wash before opening the fridge or prepare a snack for them. If possible, pack lunches for school the next day while you are washed up and preparing dinner the night before, or while preparing breakfast that morning.

Eat a healthy diet

This may seem obvious, but most people don’t get enough hydration or food intake while they are sick because they simply don’t feel up to it. Drinking plenty of water and liquid like tea and juice will help your body “flush” out the bug and heal more quickly. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and try to avoid dairy since it promotes mucus production. Take in foods with vitamin C and D. Consider taking a supplement even before you ever become sick, especially in the area we live. Studies have shown that people in the Northwest area do not get enough sunlight which is processed as Vitamin D in the body which is necessary for strong immune support.

Stay Home

Ask any parent, or person for that matter, and they would prefer those who are sick to stay home from work or school. While it may be difficult for some families, it is important to think of others in your area of work and play. Think about it, if you didn’t stay home or keep your kids home from school for a day or two, and their playmates or a co worker became sick later down the road, you could become sick again yourself! While viral illnesses usually build an immunity in your body and remain a “one time deal”, bacterial illnesses such as the common cold could be caught multiple times a season. Keeping your kids home and taking a day off from work to rest will also help you to get healthy quicker. Taking time to rest and take care of yourself saves you more trouble than missing a day of work or school and not only getting others sick, but remaining sick yourself due to lack of needed rest to recover.

But Keep in mind…

You can’t know and predict when your child will get sick. While trying to prevent germ spread is a noble goal, it can spread quickly, especially in the home. You can try though! For instance, you could kiss your kids on their heads rather than their cheeks for a few days. You could ask your spouse to read the bedtime stories and baths for a few nights if you are sick. Though taking these precautions could result in becoming sick anyways, you don’t know if doing so could also prevent the rest of your family or even one of you from becoming sick as well! . But obviously, you can’t be so careful in your efforts to prevent germs from spreading that you feel like you’re shunning your kids or initiating a lockdown. So, why not try and while you are at it, use some of these suggestions to be proactive this cold and flu season!

Summer Sizzle
Summer Sizzle

Helpful Tricks for Soothing Sunburns

You spent all day at the beach, you wore sunscreen and maybe reapplied it after a few hours, but you’re still sunburnt! Sunburns happen, even without spending the whole day at the beach! Getting lobstered tends to happen in much less time today than in our grandparents day. Sunburns can be miserable, especially for the little ones who may have never experienced one before. Here are some facts you should know about sun exposure:

Facts about sunburns

● Unlike burning yourself on the stove, sunburns are a unique kind of burn because they are not immediately apparent. You can’t usually tell your skin is burning until much later; redness develops between three and five hours after sun exposure. Burning peaks at about 12 hours and fades within 72.

●Did you know that you can get a sunburn in just 15 to 30 minutes? Children and those with light, fair skin and hair have less melanin and are at a higher risk for sunburn compared to adults and people with darker colored skin.

● Sunburns are caused by UVB rays while UVA rays cause cancer-increasing damage beneath the skin surface.

● Those that live in the mountains or or near the equator are at a higher risk for developing a burn since the ultraviolet rays are stronger in these regions.

● Certain medications, such as ibuprofen and motrin, make the skin more susceptible to burning. If you or your children take any medications, it is important to check the label for sun exposure warnings.

Soothing the burn


As parents, our child’s comfort is our own and soothing that sizzling burn becomes a priority when you come home from the beach. Here are some helpful remedies that you can utilize:

● When you arrive home, encourage your child to take a cool shower or bath to help reduce the inflammation. You can even add some chamomile tea bags, lavender oil, baking soda or oatmeal to the water for a soothing effect.iDepending on the severity of the burn, give them an appropriate dose or asprin or ibuprophen to reduce the swelling and pain.

● Aloe Vera is the classic go-to for burns. You can usually find it in drug and department stores and often times it is a green or blue gel. Aloe Vera is a plant that looks a bit like a cactus with gel-filled leaves. You can buy an Aloe Vera plant for your own home to use for any kind of burn, scrape, or itch. The gel straight from the plant, however, is not green or blue but rather clear. Better yet, whether you have a plant or a bottle from the store, store it in the refrigerator for a cool touch, just store plant gel in a jar.

●Another product that doesn’t require you to rub it onto a painful sunburn is Solarcaine Cool Aloe Burn Relief Spray Formula. It provides an instant cooling effect, the healing properties of aloe, and the pain relief of Solarcaine–all in an easy-to-apply spray. You can find this product at most drug stores and large retailers.

● Baking Soda is not only great for cookies and household cleaning but also for burn and even rash relief. Take a couple tablespoons of baking soda and mix into cold water. Use a soft washcloth or cotton balls to apply the solution to the burn.

● Apple cider vinegar is another great household-item remedy that brings much relief to sunburns, especially when it is refrigerated. Raw, unfiltered vinegar is the trick to the soothing power and it can also aid in healing the burn because it helps to balance the pH (alkalinity) of sunburned skin.  Though it does have a more foul scent, this is sure to do a wonder! It is also safe for sunburns that develop blisters and reach the peeling stage. A great brand for this liquid gold is known as Bragg’s and you can find it at most grocery and health food stores.

● Witch Hazel is another soothing astringent for sunburns. This solution is used for both facial cleansing as well as first aid purposes and you can apply it with the same method of apple cider vinegar.

● Coconut oil has astounding healing properties and it is quite popular for its numerous uses today. Among these many uses, coconut oil promotes healing by moisturizing the skin and killing any potential germs since it is antibacterial. For a more soothing effect, add a few drops of peppermint oil. Coconut oil melts quickly with body heat so apply it quickly as a lotion.

● For severe burns with blisters present, do not pop or scratch them since this can lead to infection and increased pain. Instead, let them remain uncovered and soothe them gently with cold water. To avoid rupture, put some aloe vera gel or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle.

● Vitamin E oil or gel, as long as it is real and not synthetic, with bring much moisture back to the skin and promote healing as well. If you have vitamin E supplements, take a few capsules and pop them open over the skin, lightly rubbing them into the skin.

If you haven’t already, Make a habit of checking on your kids throughout the day for sunburn, especially young kids who may not give any attention to it. Burns can be overlooked in bright daylight and since they take time to manifest on the skin, try limiting how much time they are outside and bring them in for activities in the house for a break. The best source of protection while they play? Use that sunscreen! But despite even our greatest efforts to protect our family’s skin, burn happen. So equip yourself with remedies to soothe that sun-baked skin and keep your children informed about sun exposure.



Fluoride Update
Fluoride Update

The Recommended amount

Mention the word fluoride and people instantly think about dentistry and toothpaste. Fluoride has been a big part of public water supplies as well as dental care, and in case you didn’t know, it is also found in some foods. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the earth’s crust. In 1931, it was discovered that people who drank naturally fluoridated water had fewer cavities. Since this time, fluoride has been added to deficient water supplies and proven to prevent cavities.

Early this year in April (2014), the American Dental Association advised that all children brush with fluoride, beginning at the appearance of the first tooth. Using only a smear of fluoridated toothpaste, the same size as a grain of rice, for children under three will help prevent the ingestion of too much fluoride. For children between 3-­6 years of age, use a pea­size amount. These serving recommendations ensure that children are not overexposed to fluoride, and for the younger kiddos, they are not ingesting too much. With all children, it is advised to brush both morning and evening with fluoridated toothpaste. Here is a great example of the “smear” and “rice grain­size” amounts of toothpaste appropriate for your child’s age:


This update was put in place by The American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) in order to further prevent childhood cavities.Tooth decay is the most common childhood ailment, surpassing childhood obesity, diabetes, or asthma. Luckily, cavities are entirely preventable through preventative care including: brushing, flossing, dental sealants, fluoride, and regular visits to your child’s dentist. Have you started brushing your child’s teeth yet? If they have sprouted their first tooth, its time to start!

City Strolls to Scenic Adventures:  Outdoor Activities for the Family
City Strolls to Scenic Adventures: Outdoor Activities for the Family

Summer time means the opportunity to break out of the wintertime blues and take an outdoor adventure! Whether you enjoy leisurely park strolls, take city tours, or take off on a wild forest adventure, getting outdoors with your family is a must during the rather short, fair weather months of the Northwest!

While work schedules tend to pick up in the summer months, taking the weekend to spend time with your family is important to stay connected. If you find yourself rolling into your Friday afternoon with not a clue about how to spend the weekend, fear not, there are plenty of great places to visit and activities to do right here in the area you live! Here are some suggestions for those of you who enjoy the great outdoors, whether you are city bound or rural country hiking.

Take a visit to Green Bluff


Green Bluff is a collection of small family farms for the adventurous visitor to discover. What makes Green Bluff unique in the entire country is the large association of over 30 farms within about 12 square miles. They host seasonal “pick your own” activities and festivals which run from Spring to Falls and even the holidays. Green Bluff is located about 15 minutes north of Spokane, nestled at the foothills of Mt. Spokane. Each farm has it’s own schedule of events, with some farms open all year round. Check their website for an event calendar!

Travel the North Idaho Centennial Trail

centennial trail

Walk, run, bike, roller blade, there are plenty of options here! The Centennial trail stretches 24 miles: from the lovely mountainous ranges of Higgin’s Point off Lake Coeur d’Alene, through Spokane along the river! This is a multi-use recreational trail offers numerous scenic rest areas and historical interpretive signs to enhance your enjoyment of one of the most majestic trail systems in the country.

Explore the Post Falls Dam


One of the phenomenal scenic destinations along the Centennial trail is the Post Falls Park. This is a beautiful, 22-acre park that includes picnic shelters, accessible paved pathways, historical interpretive signs, restrooms, a playground, and scenic views of the dam and gorge. A fishing pond dedicated for youth & handicapped individuals creates the centerpiece for this historic attraction. Bring a lunch and even some bread for the ducks and groundhogs that roam the park! This site is especially enjoyable during spring when the damn waters run strong.

Skip along the Mudgy Moose Trail


If your children are fans of Mudgy and Millie, this could be an especially exciting activity! The Mudgy Moose Trail, created in conjunction with the City of Coeur d’Alene Parks Department, begins at the base of Tubbs Hill and concludes at Independence Point, where Mudgy discovers that Millie was hiding close by all along.The 2-1/4 mile Mudgy Moose Trail along Lake Coeur d’Alene and through Downtown Coeur d’Alene features five life-size bronze statues positioned at locations where Mudgy pauses in his search for Millie. Watch for the Mudgy Moose Trail signs which will guide you along the trail which is free to explore. Along your expedition, stop to enjoy the new CDA park at the base of Tubb’s Hill. Bring your hiking shoes along with your bathing suit as there are many points to stop and take a swim along the Tubb’s Hill trails!

Take a walk on the wild side

If you would like to take a grand adventure beyond the city limits, take a camping trip! There are numerous places to camp with your family and enjoy the wild side of the Northwest. Here are some places you can venture:

Idaho: Washington:
– Bumblebee – Riverside State Park
– Coeur d’Alene KOA – Spokane KOA
– Farragut State Park – Nine Mile Recreation Area
– Mokin’s Bay

For your K9 family member


In case you have a special pet, there are fun adventures for them too! High Bridge Dog Park is located in Spokane at approximately 4.5 acres. This park land includes wooded trails, open space and a large bowl-shaped slope. SCRAPS Dog Park is located closer to Idaho in Liberty Lake, Washington and became the first open-leash park in 2006. Coeur d’Alene also offers dog parks including Cherry Hill Dog Park and Central Bark. For great insider tips to bringing your pet to the local dog parks, visit Dog About Town.
Getting outdoors couldn’t be anymore enjoyable or convenient in the Great Northwest. Break out of the wintertime blues and explore a few of these places this summer, you may be surprised at what you can find!

Some Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth
Some Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth


What are “Wisdom” Teeth?

Most of us know a friend or family member, and perhaps even had their own experience with wisdom teeth at some point in their young adult lives. As you can gather, wisdom teeth have a rather troublesome reputation for being anything less than wise! Wisdom teeth are often referred to as “third molars” and resemble the shape and size of your molars. Most people have four of these teeth, but it is quite possible to have fewer or even none at all! These teeth are the last to erupt, between the ages of 17 and 25 when a person reaches adulthood.

Since the nineteenth nineteenth century they have been known as such it because they appear so late, at an age when a person matures into adulthood and becomes “wise.” Most people have a negative and often fearful outlook on the emergence of these teeth, but actually, if they grow in properly and fit well in the jaw and gums, they are of no concern and do not require extraction. The problem is, however, most people do not get very “wise” teeth and they do not come in as they should.

What can I Expect When These Teeth Emerge?

Sometimes, usually with most people, the jaw just doesn’t have enough space for wisdom teeth to push through the gum line properly. Lack of space causes impaction and they become “stuck” in the jawbone, which causes pain, swelling of the gum, and sometimes infection of gum tissue. Wisdom teeth can also cause other teeth to shift, resulting in a sore mouth throughout. Everyone has a different experience with their wisdom teeth. Some may experience partial eruption, when the teeth come through but don’t have enough room to fully come in; and some have too little space for them to even break the gum surface, in which they may ever erupt.

When Should These Teeth be Removed?

Your child’s dentist will monitor their teeth throughout the growing years, which is why xrays are important to your child’s development. If there are problems with these teeth, most dentists will recommend immediate removal, usually within a year’s time or less, depending on the rate of development. Since most mouths are too small to allow wisdom teeth to reach full size, it is evaluation and recommended removal will occur when your child is between 16 and 19 years old. Every child’s development is unique, so ask your dentist when he or she would recommend removing your child’s wisdom teeth. The signs for needed removal are usually obvious:

● There is pain, infection or swelling
● There are cysts or tumors (usually rare)
● There is gum disease around the wisdom tooth area
● There is tooth decay
● You have an orthodontic, restorative or periodontal treatment plan and your wisdom teeth will hinder that treatment’s effectiveness
● The wisdom teeth are partially erupted, making them more prone to bacteria and infection
● There is evidence (such as xray) of poor alignment, they are angled in any direction other than straight up or beneath the second molar.

How Does the Extraction Take Place?

Your dentist is the best source of information regarding the removal process, but it typically involves a surgical removal.The difficulty of the extraction depends on the position of the tooth and how developed it is. In a nutshell, the removal includes an incision on the gum gently detaching the tooth from the connective tissues, removing it, and suturing (sewing) the gum line back in place. Sometimes, if the tooth is too large, it may need to be cut into sections to remove it safely. Wisdom tooth extractions are performed in the dental office under local or intravenous anesthesia. You can discuss the options with your child’s dentist.

If you have questions regarding wisdom teeth and the removal process, make the wise decision to contact your dentist or schedule a consultation!

Toothpaste: A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right One
Toothpaste: A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right One


Since children can be picky about tastes and parents selective about what goes into their child’s mouth, choosing a toothpaste can be a daunting task! When your little one reveals their first few teeth and its time to choose a toothpaste, how do you pick the best one to care for your child’s smile? The store shelves are full of many different kinds of toothpastes, which are all meant to do the same thing, right? Selecting a proper size toothbrush and a nourishing, yet cleansing brand of toothpaste is the first step in maintaining a healthy smile, so here is a quick guide to help you decide which toothpaste is best appropriated for your child.

Chose an age appropriate toothpaste

When your child’s first tooth appears, its time to find a toothpaste! A good place to start would be in the children’s section of the oral care aisle. Children’s toothpaste is formulated with ingredients appropriate for young teeth and gums, unlike adult toothpaste with unnecessary whitening agents and often too harsh abrasives for kids. Still, there are many options! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using just a smear of toothpaste until 3 years of age, and a pea-size amount for older children. Check labels since some toothpastes are intended for children 6 years and older.

Look for the ADA Seal

 When it comes to products such as mouthrinse and toothpaste, your best source for dental product suggestions would be your pediatric dentist, but apart from this, toothpaste with the familiar American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance is a good choice since it has been tested for effectiveness and proper ingredients. Products with this seal must renew every three years, thus maintaining the recommended standards.

Watch out for harsh ingredients

 Some toothpastes contain harsh abrasives which can wear away young tooth enamel, which is why choosing an age-appropriate paste is important. These abrasives include phosphates and alumina. Abrasives are necessary to remove plaque and polish teeth, but some can be too harsh on young enamel, causing sensitivity. Look for a toothpaste that will be gentle on your child’s teeth.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is an ingredient added to give toothpaste foaming action, however, it can cause mouth ulcers (also called canker sores) in some children. If your child has developed these painful sores, consider switching to a SLS-free toothpaste or if you are introducing toothpaste, opt for one without this ingredient to avoid the potential ailment. Enamel Saver is one brand popular among children that is SLS free and also comes in various flavors.

Look for fluoride

The American Dental Association revised their guidelines in April of this year concerning the use of fluoridated toothpaste for infants under the age of 3. Previously, it was recommended that children under the age of 2 use non fluoride toothpaste, and a small amount for children between 2 -6. Now, regardless of age, all children should use fluoridated toothpaste. The important thing to remember here is how much. The recommended amount for children under 3 is just a smear, and the usual pea size amount for older children.

It is up to you as the parent to decide what amount and when your child gets fluoride in their toothpaste. Keep in mind that children under 2 are unable to spit out their toothpaste and tend to swallow a small amount. If your child tends to swallow, take caution and give them a fluoride-free toothpaste until they are able to spit out remaining toothpaste.

Consider Flavor

 Though flavor is not of a dental health concern, it is for your child and their willingness to brush! Some kids cannot tolerate the taste of a minty toothpaste, which may feel “spicy” to them or tingly and “cold.” Opt for a toothpaste with fun children’s flavors such as watermelon or strawberry. These tend to have a mild, palatable taste that will encourage your child to brush their teeth. Sampling a few toothpastes may be what you have to do, but it is worth the effort of finding a flavor that will make your child ask to have their teeth brushed!

Toothpaste is only as good as the toothbrush

 While you’re shopping for toothpaste, pick out a toothbrush that is age appropriate for your child. Children’s toothbrushes are often labeled for the appropriate age. If your child’s toothbrush is too big, it may cause them to gag or won’t reach their teeth in the back of their mouth. If its too small, they may miss cleaning much of the surface area on their teeth.

If you prefer the natural toothpastes

 Natural products and diets are popular, now more than ever. If you prefer to use natural toothpaste for your family, there are some choices for you that are ADA approved! Tom’s of Maine carries a variety of toothpastes for the whole family. They have both fluoridated and unfluoridated toothpaste for children as well as adult toothpastes in many flavors and purposes, from whitening to tartar control.

Finding the right toothpaste doesn’t have to be a challenge if you know your family’s needs and seek advice from your pediatric dentist. Our toothbrush and toothpaste is something most of us use 365 days a year, hopefully twice in each of those days, which amounts to about 730 brushings a year! Take the time to find a good toothbrush and toothpaste for your kids that works well for them and that they can enjoy! Happy brushing!

Summertime Fun Aside From the Sun
Summertime Fun Aside From the Sun

Summertime Fun Aside From the Sun

Outdoor activities are a given for summer time fun, however, sometimes it just gets too hot to be outside! There is nothing like the cool, crisp, air of an air conditioned building on a 90+degree summer day! If you’re sporting a new sunburn or simply want a break from the heat of the day, guess what? There are still fun places to take your kids to get out of the sun for a change.

Take a visit to the Museum

The Museum of North Idaho collects, preserves and interprets the history of the Coeur d’Alene Region heritage. The Museum is located downtown CDA and remains open Tuesday through Saturday 11-5, April 1 to October 31. The Museum Store features a wide selection local history books, locally made silver jewelry, souvenirs and gifts. Along with the museum tours and open visits, tours are also available of the old Fort Sherman near the North Idaho College. If you love history and would like to know about the fascinating history of Coeur d’Alene Idaho, this is the place to go!

Enjoy the show at Christian Youth Theater

 If your child loves the stage and appreciates the performing arts, Christian Youth Theater North Idaho is a wonderful place for them to participate. The theater is not a church, but a non-profit, educational children’s theater arts program for children ages 6-18. They offer theater summer camps, theater classes, acting classes, voice classes, dance classes, improv and theater specialties. They also offer the Christian Community Theater (CCT) which is a summer production program for both youth and adults. There are no accompanying classes in this program and  all ages are welcome to audition.

Visit your local community center

 For those of you in Spokane, the YMCA is a not just a gym and a pool, it has many activities to accommodate everyone in your family! Some of these activities for infants, children and teens; include: swim lessons and water acclimation starting at 6 months old, tumbling, sports, teen programs, and day camps.

For those of you in Coeur d’Alene, The Ray and Joan Kroc Center provides community programs, classes, events, aquatic and fitness/recreation center, acafé, chapel and performing arts. Each of these facilities include childcare while you work out in the gym and hold special family events.

 Participate in your local Library events

If you have younger kids , make a visit to your local library such as the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, Post Falls Library, Hayden Library, or any of the Spokane Public library branches located throughout the area. This is a great way to instill the love of reading into your child and even take some time to read a book yourself. The best part is its free to the public. The Spokane County Libraries tend to do more with the kids and include a play time afterwards with educational toys!

See a free or reduced price movie

 The Garland Theater as well as the Riverstone Stadium Theater in Coeur d’Alene offer free or reduced movies one a week to kids and families. Call ahead or check their websites for movies listings and times.

Some parks also offer free movie nights in the park for a family-friendly movie. Fort Sherman Park in CDA, Mirabeau Park, and Riverfront park in Spokane, just to name a few, all offer these events. These are free and open to the public, just bring a chair or a blanket to lounge on the grass!

 Bowl the night away

Bowling is a fun family activity that even young children can participate in. River City Lanes in Post Falls, Triple Play in Hayden, North Bowl and Valley Bowl in Spokane (just to name a few) are great places to take your kids on a summer evening. Bowling alleys have family lanes with bumpers and a roll rack for young kids to participate in the fun also. Triple play also includes the Raptor Reef swim park, laser tag, mini golf, bumper boats, arcade, climbing wall, and more.

There are many things you can do with your family during the summer that don’t include further sizzle to your sunburn. Some days, or just certain times of the day, can be just too hot to participate in outdoor activities. We hope these suggestions can help in your hunt to make weekend family plans, but search around! Check park websites and local listings for upcoming activities around your area, there is plenty to do and often times, there are many free events in the summertime months!

Use it, Don’t Lose it!
Use it, Don’t Lose it!

Ways to Keep Your Children Learning Through the Summer


Summer break is an exciting and much needed time for kids to unwind from their academic demands and just be kids! While a summer break is essential and only a fraction of the time they spend in school, children seem to “forget” some of what they learned in the previous school year. Studies show that children not engaged in learning over the summer lose approximately one month of academic knowledge; particularly in areas of math and reading. At just about every school, the first month back at school is usually spent in review of the previous grade, because if you don’t use it, you really lose it! While we want our children to enjoy a leisurely break, it is important for their learning success that they continue learning through the summer months, even on a lighter scale.

When you think about it, children spend nearly 10 months of every year devoting enormous amounts of intellect and energy to their academic learning and achievement, and then walk away from that investment every summer, overnight. It is no wonder we usually forget some of what we learned. So, how could we as parents keep the momentum throughout the summer? Most kids wouldn’t want anything to do with academics over the summer, and you don’t need to hand your child a math book. Here are some simple, creative tips to not only help your child stay on track, but sharpen their minds and keep them one step ahead when they return to school in the fall.

Join a Library reading club

 Most libraries have kid’s reading clubs over the summer time and host activities such as arts and crafts for kids. This can be a fun, weekly activity to help kids meet new friends and cultivate a love for reading.

 Make your daily tasks a teachable moment

 The simplest of tasks can offer a wealth of practical knowledge. From writing your grocery list to watering your garden or doing the laundry, encourage your kids to participate. Have your child write the grocery list to improve spelling and penmanship skills. Let your kids help you cook as much as they are able, they will appreciate it as a young adult as well as improve their math and measuring skills. Do you have a garden? Even if you grow only a few plants on your porch, allow your kids to help you water and care for them. Enlist older children to study the plants you have and how they grow. Laundry can help improve coordination and sorting skills, even for young children.

 Try simple science experiments.

 The classic baking soda and vinegar volcanoes have been known to make quite a mess! But experiments like these make the perfect spark for creativity. There are many fun experiments to try at home for kids to participate in, and even you! Check out this link for some fun experiments to try!

Write your own campfire story

 Encourage your child to write about something they would like to do this summer, and make a fun story out of it! Even create a “Madlibs” scenario that you can share around the campfire, the BBQ pit, or even the dinner table or living room. If your children are young, make up your own for them and ask them to fill in the blanks with silly or random words.

Another creative way to write is to write a play and let your kids make props in the yard. They can write their own or you can write a fun play and let them act. Put on a family show one night and enjoy some popcorn.

Record your very own audiobook

 This is a great option for young kids, but it is quite versatile for any age. You can record an audio reading your child’s favorite book and upload it to the computer for or a disk for them to listen to at bedtime. Babies especially will like the sound of mom’s voice. Older children can record their own book. This may put a fun twist on reading for children who aren’t fond of reading. If you have multiple kids, assign a character to each one or take turns reading.

Make your own decor

If your child likes to paint, this could be a great option for them. There are many creative crafts to make using paint, and one of them is their own removable or temporary wallpaper and wall art. This is a good opportunity change up and customize their room without making any permanent changes to your home. Lay some large pieces of paper outside and let your kids finger paint or brush paint their own design. Utilizing pinterest is a helpful option for ideas, for those older children who may want a more polished look.

 Personal restaurant

Create a simple menu with your children, consisting of some simple meals they like such as different sandwiches. Use Monopoly cash and let them make an order, then take up cash. One of the parents can then make each plate or make it a family chef ordeal.

Learn another language

 This can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be! Choose a language that you and your kid’s would like to learn and pick a word or short phrase to learn each day or week. Use the word or phrase throughout the day and work it into everyday conversations.

Find a Pen Pal

If your child has a classmate that is moving away or has family in another state, ask them about a pen pal friendship and send pictures, drawings, and cards to each other. There are trusted pen pal programs such as Amazing Kids, International Pen Friends or Circle of Friends where you can find a pen pal for your child.

Children wake early and study hard most of the year, but just because they are on a summer break from school, doesn’t mean they should take a break from learning as well. Fortunately, most summer activities and daily tasks can be optimized for learning, it is often just a matter of recognizing the opportunity and approaching it from an educational angle. Get creative with your kids this summer and teach them to learn in everything they do, not just in the classroom.The best way to retain what you learn is to use it, otherwise, you might lose it!

Wish-Wash: Mouthwash for Kids
Wish-Wash: Mouthwash for Kids

Wish-Wash: Mouthwash for Kids

We all appreciate having a delightful conversation with someone who has fresh minty breath. After all, no one wants to get a whiff of what was on the lunch menu or take a step back from the conversation for a breath of fresh air. Mouthwash is a wonderful product for oral hygiene that can give us confidence in everything we say… really! But when you walk through the store to pick up a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste for your family, have you noticed the colorful bottles and great looking flavors of mouthwash that glisten with all the shiny packaging? Perhaps you use mouthwash yourself, so what about your child? Its difficult not to notice how fun the children’s oral care products look, but is mouthwash a necessity? Read on to learn about mouthwash and the importance it can have in your child’s oral health.

Mouthwash For Children

Benefits Of Mouthwash

Mouthwash helps remove plaque from teeth, kill bacteria, and protect the gums against gingivitis. Some rinses also contain fluoride for strengthening tooth enamel, which helps protect against cavities and tooth decay. The most notable benefit of mouthwash is that it makes your breath smell fresh by removing odor-causing bacteria and masking other bad smells. While mouthwash may give your child’s mouth an extra clean touch, dentists say it is no substitute for regular, thorough brushing and flossing.

When Children Can Use It

Unlike flossing, which should begin as soon as two teeth surface side-by-side, mouthwash can be the last oral care product you add to your child’s regimen. According to the American Dental Association, children under the age of 6 should not use mouthwash because they usually cannot keep from swallowing it. Swallowing mouthwash poses health hazards to young children, especially if they swallow an adult mouthwash containing alcohol or a fluoridated mouthwash, which can give them more than the recommended amount of fluoride and a belly ache. For children over 6, it is OK to start teaching them to use mouthwash, under adult supervision. Make sure to use only rinses designed for children, since they don’t contain alcohol and are less harmful if your child accidentally swallows some of it. Every child is different and may not be ready for mouthwash until later. A good way to test their ability is to fill a small cup with some water, have them rinse, then spit back into the cup. If they are able to spit all the water back into the cup, they are ready for mouthwash! When you chose to introduce your child to mouthwash, discuss it at their next dental visit and start with a dentist recommended mouthwash.

Choosing a Mouthwash

As you have probably discovered, the store shelves carry quite a variety of colorful kids mouthwash in different brands. You may find choosing one to be just as difficult as getting your child to actually brush and floss their teeth! Keep in mind that you may need to try a few to find the one your child will like and it is important to pick a mouthwash that suits your child’s needs. Some kid’s mouthwashes are designed to combat bad breath while others prevent the buildup of plaque. Still, some will both combat bad breath and kill bacteria. Before considering a fluoridated mouthwash, determine how much fluoride your child is receiving in their toothpaste, dental treatments, food, and water supply. Too much fluoride can be harmful, but if needed and/or recommended by your dentist, it can help to protect your child’s tooth enamel. It is best to avoid all mouthwash containing any alcohol since it can be a health hazard if swallowed and it is likely that children may swallow some. Kids mouthwashes are specially designed for the possibility of swallowing and are your safest, recommended choice. They come in may fun flavors such as bubble gum and cherry that kids love and creates a more enjoyable experience for them. Talk to your dentist about recommendations for what your child should use.

As parents, we do these things to protect and care for our own teeth because we hope to keep them around for a long time, and maintain a beautiful smile! But if your child’s teeth will eventually fall out, no matter how well they’re protected, do we have to go to such great lengths to care for them? The simple answer is yes; a child’s teeth and gums are just as vulnerable to decay and disease as your own teeth. Brushing and flossing are of the most vital oral hygiene practices, and mouthwash can be beneficial too! The choice is yours whether or not you decide to incorporate mouthwash into your child’s tooth care regimen. Until then, happy brushing!


Between the Lines: Flossing for Children
Between the Lines: Flossing for Children

Between the Lines: Flossing for Children

Kids aren’t usually a fan of sticking things between their teeth that isn’t candy or some other sweet treat, but, when it comes to flossing, developing a daily habit is vital in their oral health. Flossing is an important step in removing all the food particles from teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Studies have discovered that 30-35% of all cavities in children occur between the teeth, particularly the baby molar teeth. While you may be wondering how you could possibly get your child to start flossing, we would like to fill you in on the basics of flossing your child’s teeth and how you can introduce it into their daily routine and make it a positive experience.

Flossing Childrens Teeth

When Should My Child begin Flossing?

For starters, children need to have their teeth before they can begin to floss. Once they’ve got the hang of brushing, teaching them how to floss is an important follow-up. When you introduce your child to brushing and flossing, they should be assisted by a parent or adult until the age of 4-5 years old, then supervised by an adult until they are 8-10 years old. Studies show that children are not coordinated well enough to brush and floss their own teeth until they can successfully tie their own shoe, which usually falls at the same age of 8-10 years old. Every child, however, is different and these numbers can vary. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that flossing should begin when the teeth begin to touch, typically between 2 and 2½ years of age. Some children may only need a few back teeth flossed while others may need flossing between each tooth, depending on the amount of spacing between teeth.

How Do I Floss My Child’s Teeth?

As important as daily flossing is, it is even more important to floss correctly. Flossing should be done once a day, preferably after dinner with the evening brushing, this way, all the food particles from the day are removed. You will need to floss your child’s teeth until they are capable of doing a thorough job on their own. Here are some steps to follow for flossing your child’s teeth:

  1. Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers. Most of it should be wrapped around the middle fingers of both hands.
  2. Use your thumbs and forefingers to lightly hold and guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.
  3. Use a back and forth motion to guide the floss between their teeth
  4. Tightly hold the floss and curve it into a C-shape against one tooth and slide it into the space between the gum and tooth, until you feel resistance.
  5. Gently scrape the floss down toward the tongue against the side to the tooth.
  6. Repeat this process for each and every tooth.

The sooner your child becomes aquatinted to consistently flossing their teeth, the more likely they will make and keep the habit. Flossing takes little time, especially when your child doesn’t have all of their teeth yet. Something to remember while you help your child floss is to be gentle. Children may still have periods of teething at 2-3 years old and may get fussy with brushing and flossing their tiny teeth. Another precaution is for children with loose primary teeth, be gentle and careful not to floss too deeply on the gum line around a loose tooth since it may already be tender. Floss the tooth beside it very gently and do not put any pressure against the tooth, to avoid bleeding or injury to the gum. Even though primary (baby) teeth eventually fall out, it is important to brush and floss them to create good oral hygiene habits for your kids and prevent conditions like gum disease and decay from setting in.

Introducing Your Child to Floss: Making it Fun

Just as children are fun, playful, and imaginative, so must parents be when it comes time to introduce them to the necessary tasks of life! Here are some tips for you to keep in mind when introducing your little one to flossing:

  • Sing! Sometimes toddlers will try to sing along or smile so big they cannot help but open their mouth.
  • Let them play with the floss string to get aquatinted with it, but be careful they do not wrap it around themselves.
  • Brush and floss with them!
  • Make animal sounds or “roar”
  • Use a flossing “chart” and have them mark the days with favorite stickers
  • Motivate them with a prize at the end of the week for good flossing
  • Play a “good vs. evil” game involving the evil bacteria and the hero, floss! The best part is they get to be the hero!
  • Teach your child to count by their teeth, while you floss!
  • Use flossing tools such as floss sticks which come in colorful assortments, to make it easier for kids just learning to floss on their own.

Flossing doesn’t have to be a battle. Sometimes, however, children can put up a fuss and need to be reminded that their teeth need to be cleaned. If you’re into the tooth fairy, try telling them the tooth fairy gives extra change for clean teeth! While your child is learning to care for their teeth, remember that the best way they learn is by example! So

get between the lines and happy flossing!