Bismarck Family Dental, PC

3 Tips for Healthy Summer Smiles

Summer sun brings summer fun! While warm months are perfect for spending family time together, summer vacation can also throw off your usual dental routine. Here are three ways to prevent summertime tooth decay:

  1. Stay on a routine 

Whether your kids are staying up to catch fireflies or a fireworks show, resist the temptation to skip brushing before a late bedtime—or let it slide when they sleep in the next morning. It’s important for families to stick to an oral hygiene routine that’s consistent. This will help keep kids on track for healthy back-to-school dental visits.

No matter how eventful the summer months become, supervise that they are brushing twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Simple things like setting a reminder on your phone can help everyone stay on track throughout the summer. Plus, you can use the opportunity to spend some family time together. Brushing alongside your children for 2 minutes, twice a day for the three months of summer gives you 6 extra hours together, so make the most of them!

And don’t forget to clean between those teeth once a day. Many little ones do not yet have the dexterity and fine motor skills to floss on their own. If your child needs help, try different types of interdental cleaners or put your hands over theirs to guide them and get the job done at the same time.

  1. Say no to sugary drinks and snacks 

As the temperature rises, it’s common for families to sip and snack during sports tournaments, while at the pool, or at the playground. Watch your family’s intake of lemonade, juice, and soda. Consider sugary drinks treats to enjoy once in a while, and not often. Instead, offer water to beat the heat, or milk to drink with meals. And, don’t let summertime grazing damage your child’s smile. Taking a break from snacking is healthy for your teeth. It allows time for saliva to clean the teeth and wash away any unwanted leftover food particles.

  1. Make your back-to-school dental visit early 

Some schools require back-to-school dental visits for certain grades, and these checkups can be a good way to be sure your child’s teeth are healthy. It is a good idea to make your child’s back-to-school appointment early in the summer to avoid the August rush and help insure you get the appointment time that works best for you. We love to coordinate appointments with families so that your children don’t have to miss class or after-school activities once the school year has begun. Visiting the dentist regularly can help your child’s smile stay strong and healthy all year long!


Visit for more insightful tips on how to keep you and your family’s smiles looking their best!


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To Floss or Not to Floss?

I’m not sure how many of you pay attention to dentistry topics in the news, but recently you may have heard reports that question whether existing scientific research support the oral health benefits associated with flossing. The bottom line for dentists and patients alike is that a lack of strong evidence does NOT equate to a lack of effectiveness. As a dentist, I strive to advise my patients on what the best oral hygiene practices are for each individual because ultimately, I want what’s best for each of you!


The news story also implied that by not including flossing in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the government has changed its stance on flossing. However, this is simply not the case. The new guidelines made a deliberate decision to focus on food and nutrient intake (i.e., added sugar to the average American diet), which is another topic to discuss on a different day.


Flossing is a very important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when food and plaque are allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between your teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.


According to the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. I cannot advocate for flossing enough! Cleaning between your teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.


Did you know that more than 500 bacterial species can be found in dental plaque? Some of these microbes are good for your mouth and some are bad for your mouth. Together with food debris, water, and other components, the plaque buildup around the teeth and on the gum line will contribute to disease in teeth and gums.


Whether you use floss or another interdental cleaner is a personal preference, but it’s very important to understand the proper technique for each tool so that it is effective. Make sure you ask a staff member at Bismarck Family Dental regarding any questions that you may have the next time you visit our office about how to use interdental cleaners to ensure efficacy!


To maintain good oral health, Dr. Van Erem and myself (Dr. Holzer), along with the American Dental Association, continue to recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner, and regular dental checkups to our office.


To learn more about flossing and other interdental cleaners, please visit

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