Summit Dental health team members stationed at their table outside the LaunchPAD Children's Museum next to a Summit Dental Health banner

How To: Make Elephant Toothpaste

Some of our team members had the opportunity to participate in the Sloppy Science event at LaunchPAD Children’s Museum in Sioux City this past weekend. It was a great first-year event where kids could watch science demonstrations, create their own experiments, and get sloppy with slime and a sloppy obstacle course.

At the Summit Dental Health booth, we had 3 hands-on activities that were fun for the kids, but also educational.

Kids learned how to floss and then got to practice their new skills with mega blocks, Play-Doh and yarn. We had some pretty enthusiastic new flossers who were pretty excited to win their very own dental floss on our wheel of prizes.

We also did an experiment to show how bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugar and creates cavity-causing plaque.

One of our most popular experiments was making elephant toothpaste while sharing fun facts about elephant teeth. We had several parents ask us how we did it, so we thought we’d share here

Elephant Toothpaste Recipe

A young boy smiles as he watches the chemical reaction that makes up the "elephant toothpaste"

Supplies Needed:

  • Pan to catch the toothpaste
  • Empty 16 oz plastic bottle
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Funnel
  • 3 tbsp. very warm water
  • 2-3 tsp. yeast
  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (We used the kind you get at a beauty supply store. It’s stronger than the regular kind you have in your medicine cabinet.)
  • 1 tbsp. dish soap


Step 1: Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Place the plastic bottle inside the pan. Using the funnel, pour in the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.

Step 3: Pour the yeast/water mixture into the bottle. The mixture will bubble over and look like toothpaste coming out of a tube.

Summit Dental Health team members stand behind their table at LaunchPAD Children's Museum

Disclaimer: This experiment only looks like toothpaste and should not actually be used as toothpaste for children or pet elephants.
Graphic of Lemon and Banner that reads "Community Lemonade Stand Day"

Host a Lemonade Stand for CLSD17

Support Open Door Mission and the Siouxland Soup Kitchen in their commitment to feeding the hungry and breaking the cycle of homelessness in Omaha and Sioux City. Host a lemonade stand for Community Lemonade Stand Day on Saturday, July 29, and help us give back to the communities we love so much.


Pick up your free lemonade stand kit at any Summit Dental Health location

Community members are encouraged to pick up their FREE lemonade stand kit from any Summit Dental Health location in Omaha and Sioux City starting July 3. Your lemonade stand kit includes:

  • Powdered Lemonade
  • Cups
  • Poster
  • Instructions
  • Summit Dental Health Sunglasses
  • Lemonade-flavored Chapstick


Add your Lemonade Stand to our Map

Complete this form and we’ll add your stand to our Omaha or Sioux City map in 2-3 business days.

If the form doesn’t load in your browser, just click here to view it in a different window!


Promote your Lemonade Stand

Once you’ve got your kit and added your stand to our map, you’ll want to generate some customers! Here are some suggestions for promoting your lemonade stand:

  1. Say you’re “Going” to the Event on Facebook. Click here to see our Facebook Event and share it with your friends!
  2. Post about Community Lemonade Stand Day on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Be sure to include a link to to help your friends learn more about the event and see your lemonade stands on our Omaha or Sioux City map!
  3. Print this flyer and hang it at work, church or school. Tell everyone you know about Community Lemonade Stand Day and invite them to come visit your stand on Saturday, July 29th.
    Poster - Summit Dental Health - Community Lemonade Stand Day 2017 - Omaha - Saturday, July 29

About Open Door Mission

Open Door Mission is a Gospel Rescue Mission founded in 1954 committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Each day, Open Door Mission’s campus offers 816 safe, shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals and provides preventive measures to more than 275 people living in poverty.

About Siouxland Soup Kitchen

Siouxland Soup Kitchen serves on average 1,800 to 2,000 meals per month. There are no requirements for being served a meal at the Soup Kitchen, they welcome everyone that comes to their door.


Blond woman in dentist chair smiles as she is handed clear aligners

Invisalign: Clear Braces for Adults

Many people think of teens when it comes to braces. But now thanks to Invisalign® clear aligners, the number of adults receiving orthodontic treatment is on the rise. Invisalign clear aligners are a comfortable, removable & almost invisible alternative to braces that are perfect for adults who want to straighten their teeth. Unlike braces, Invisalign is made of a strong plastic material and fabricated to fit each patient’s unique bite. No metal wires or brackets. And you can take Invisalign out whenever you want – for eating, brushing, meetings, dates or photographs.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign is great at correcting crooked teeth, gaps, overbites or underbites. At your initial consultation, your dentist will take a physical impression or digital scan of your teeth that is used to create a 3-D model. We send that information to Invisalign’s skilled team of experts who propose a plan based on your dentist’s prescription. Once your dentist has approved the treatment plan, Invisalign fabricates your custom aligner trays.

Next you’ll receive a series of custom trays that you’ll change every 1-2 weeks at home. It’s recommended that patients wear their Invisalign clear aligners 20-22 hours each day to get the best results. You can remove Invisalign whenever you need to eat, brush, floss or clean the trays, but you’ll want to leave them in as much as possible to achieve the best and quickest results. Our team will schedule checkups with you every 6-8 weeks to ensure the treatment process is going well, and that you’re on your way to a more confident smile.

Invisalign vs. Braces

Invisalign treatment works faster than traditional braces. Traditional treatment plans for braces last about 2 years on average, but Invisalign treatment normally takes only 6-18 months.

Invisalign allows you to eat what you want. One of the most common complaints about braces is that your diet must change. People with traditional braces can say goodbye to popcorn, chips, ice, gum, nuts, apples and candy. But with Invisalign, you can eat what you want whenever you want.

You don’t have to change your brushing and flossing routine. Another of the most common complaints about braces is that brushing and flossing take extra time and technique. With Invisalign, you can brush and floss the same as before. Just be sure to rinse your trays and soak them for a few minutes each day.

Invisalign doesn’t irritate your gums or cheeks. Unlike braces, Invisalign clear aligners fit comfortably to your teeth and won’t cause swollen gums or mouth sores.

Invisalign protects teeth from grinding. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a very common side effect from stress and happens to many adults while they sleep. Wearing Invisalign is a perfectly good alternative to wearing a nite guard while you sleep!

Frequently Asked Questions About Invisalign

Will Invisalign treatment be painful? Although some people experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment, patients who’ve had braces say Invisalign isn’t close. No mouth sores, no swollen gums and hopefully no headaches. The feeling patients get within those first few days is often described as pressure. And even though it might be a bit uncomfortable, it’s a sign that Invisalign is working.

Will Invisalign affect my speech? Patients with traditional braces or retainers often report a lisp or extra saliva within the first few weeks following an adjustment. After the initial adjustment period, patients with Invisalign shouldn’t notice any big difference. And remember – if you’re ever self-conscious about your speech in a meeting, phone call or on a date, you can still take Invisalign out for 2-4 hours each day!

How much does Invisalign treatment cost? Invisalign treatment generally costs between $3500 – $5000 depending on the patient’s needs, which is roughly the same cost of traditional braces. Insurance plans often cover up to $3500 of orthodontic treatment costs so depending on your insurance plan, you might be paying very little. We offer payment plans as well as a discounted dental plan for uninsured patients. You can estimate your cost using the Invisalign Cost Calculator on the Invisalign website.

group of ethnically diverse women of all ages stand and smile

Women’s Oral Health at Every Life Stage

Studies show that not only are women more proactive about their oral health, but also have a better understanding about what good oral health entails along with a more positive attitude toward visiting the dentist. However, due mostly to hormonal fluctuations at different life stages, women generally have more oral health concerns to worry about. But what’s new, right?

If you’re curious about how puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause affect your oral health, we’ve prepared a quick summary of how to prepare for and how to maintain great oral health throughout every stage of your life.


Puberty occurs in girls between ages 8 to 14. In addition to developmental changes, hormones such as estrogen progesterone increase blood flow to the gums and can cause them to become red and swollen. Along with hormonal fluctuations,  microbial changes in the mouth result in in “destructive” bacteria that can lead to more plaque, cavities, gingivitis and bad breath. If your daughter is going through puberty, it’s normal for her to experience light bleeding during brushing and flossing.

Encourage her to keep a good brushing and flossing routine, in order to cut down on plaque.


A woman’s menstrual cycle also impacts her oral health. Hormonal fluctuations can cause swollen gums and possible bleeding while you brush or floss, especially the week before your period. During their period, many women experience dry mouth and bad breath due to a loss of saliva. Finally, thanks to increases in the mucosal lining of your oral cavity, some women are susceptible to canker sores in the days leading up to their periods.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try rinsing at least once a day with a nonalcoholic mouthwash.

The best time for women to schedule a dental cleaning is the week after your period. High estrogen levels before and during your period can cause gum inflammation, which can throw off the results when your dentist measures pocket depth — a measurement of gum health. Your cleaning could also be more painful around this time.

Wait to schedule your checkup for a more comfortable experience and better results.


By now, you’ve figured out that you are more at risk than men for gum disease. And we’re sorry to say it doesn’t get any better when you’re pregnant. Although women were once discouraged from seeing the dentist while pregnant, it is now suggested that women schedule a checkup between four to six months. This is because the first three months of pregnancy are thought to be of greatest importance in your child’s development. During the last trimester, stresses associated with dental visits can increase the incidence of prenatal complications. Pregnant women who already have gum problems need to be extra diligent about their oral hygiene as it can worsen and turn to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

If you get a sweet tooth while pregnant, we encourage you to reach for cheese, fresh fruits or vegetables instead of soda or ice cream.


In menopause, estrogen levels decline rapidly, which can lead to bone loss and periodontitis. Postmenopausal women are at risk for osteoporosis,  a disease that causes brittle bones and has a major impact on the jawbone supporting the teeth. Many women begin hormone therapy and taking supplements to combat estrogen, calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies as a result of menopause, but you can still lose teeth even if you are doing everything right. If you’ve lost teeth as a result of osteoporosis or menopause, dental implants have been shown to improve quality of life more than dentures.

If you are experiencing any oral health concerns during menopause, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

Women’s Oral Health Tips

So despite taking better care of your teeth and gums than men do, your hormones are working against you and steering you toward gum disease and bone loss. But you can still do something about it! If you believe you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your gum health and how you can improve your oral hygiene. Otherwise, be sure to follow these general tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush twice each day
  • Floss at least once per day
  • Rinse with a nonalcoholic mouthwash every day
  • Chew gum after meals
  • Change your toothbrush 3 or 4 times per year
  • Avoid artificially sweetened foods and drinks
  • If you play sports, wear a mouth guard
  • Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco
Stack of colorful books, grungy blue background, charley's heart logo on left side of image

Books for Charley

During the month of May, new children’s books can be dropped off at any Summit Dental Health location throughout Omaha in honor of the 7th Annual Books for Charley initiative through the Charley’s Heart Foundation. The books will be donated to the Omaha Children’s Hospital. Over 11,000 books have been donated to children’s hospitals and pediatric units since Books for Charley began in 2011.

Charley’s Heart

Books for Charley is an annual book drive in memory of Charlotte (Charley) Ritchie, daughter of Matt and Kristen Ritchie of Gretna, Nebraska. Charley was born with a congenital heart defect. After numerous hospital stays, procedures and open heart surgeries, Charley passed away on May 31, 2011, just two weeks after celebrating her first birthday.

After losing Charley, her family knew that they needed to do something to help keep her memory alive and to stay involved with other families with children with congenital heart defects. “Charley’s Heart was formed in an attempt to help provide support to others in the heart community, fund continued research for congenital heart defects, raise awareness, and above all, to celebrate Charley’s life,” says Kristen Ritchie, Charley’s mom.

Outlay of multiracial faces printed

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

Oral cancer kills someone in the U.S. every hour.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth or throat, sometimes connected to head and neck cancer. It is more prevalent in men than in women and can develop in lips, cheek lining, salivary glands, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, the area under your tongue, gums, tongue and tonsils. Despite being mostly preventable, an estimated 49,670 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and more than 9,700 will die of the disease.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Tobacco: The greatest risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco, accounting for about 60% of oral cancer diagnoses. Smokers are 3 times more likely to lose teeth than non-smokers and people who use chewing tobacco are still at risk for cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips. If you are using other smoking alternatives like vaporizers, be warned – no smoking alternative has been proven to be more healthy than cigarettes.
  2. Alcohol: Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers. When tobacco and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than non-users of tobacco and alcohol products.
  3. Diet: Refined sugars, oils and carbohydrates and dairy products have been shown to increase inflammation in the body as well as risk for oral cancer. The main culprits are bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, muffins, cakes, boxed cereals, frozen treats, pretzels, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages and candy.
  4. Age: 86% of the people diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 50, but lifestyle and environmental factors are generally the greatest risk factors.
  5. Excessive Exposure to Sunlight: Excessive and unprotected exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet radiation (UV) like tanning beds is linked with cancer in the lip area. The skin on lips is actually much thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the face. Men who work outside are 5 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those with jobs inside.
  6. Human Papilloma virus (HPV): Human papilloma virus is a common sexually transmitted infection. For many people, HPV causes no harm and goes away without treatment. Only a very small percentage of people with HPV develop mouth or oropharyngeal cancer, but the risks are very real – especially for current smokers and people who are frequently subjected to secondhand smoke.


How to Prevent Oral Cancer

  1. Brush, Floss, Rinse & Chew Every Day: Are you doing your Daily 4? Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing once, rinsing and chewing gum after meals is recommended.
  2. Don’t Smoke or Chew Tobacco: Research has shown that ex-smokers reduce their risk of mouth cancer by more than a third.
  3. Drink Alcohol in Moderation: If you are going to drink, try to limit yourself to your one serving per day. For men on average, this means 24 ounces of beer or 10 ounces of wine. For women on average, this means only 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to many health problems, not just oral cancer.
  4. Eat More Cancer-Fighting Foods: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, as well as a healthy intake of Vitamin C and calcium. Try incorporating as many “cancer-fighting” foods into your diet as you can – kale, broccoli, blueberries, sweet potatoes, turmeric, yogurt, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, mushrooms and green tea are pretty easy to find at your local grocery.
  5. Don’t Fry Foods. Bake, Boil or Steam Instead: Frying your food increases the formation of acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical also found in cigarettes. It is most commonly found in fried potatoes. If you are eating frozen foods, it is very important to follow the cooking instructions – or replace your frozen veggies with fresh ingredients from the produce section!
  6. Use Lip Balm with SPF: If you work outside, protecting your lips should be a priority. This means you too, men! Invest in a fragrance-free lip balm with SPF 15 or higher and apply throughout the day. This also goes for people who like to spend their afternoons gardening, swimming, skiing or sunbathing – protecting your lips is one of the easiest ways to prevent oral cancer.
  7.  Practice Safe Sex: If you are sexually active, you know it’s important for you to be safe. Contraceptives do not provide 100% protection against HPV, which is why vaccines are recommended. If you have any symptoms of HPV or think you might’ve been exposed, be sure to talk with your doctor about your health.
  8. Check Your Mouth Regularly for Symptoms: Purchase a small mirror and take a look around your mouth. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your dentist or doctor soon.
  9. Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening: At your next regular checkup, remember to ask your dentist about oral cancer. If you feel you have symptoms of oral cancer, make an appointment with your regular dentist for an oral cancer screening.
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