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Should Kids Floss or Brush First?

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

daughter-brushes-teeth-with-her-momAs a parent, you probably know one of the keys to helping your little one maintain a superhero smile is developing an amazing oral hygiene routine. After all, brushing and flossing will go a long way in preventing tooth decay and gum disease in children and keeping their smiles strong and sparkling clean. You probably also know kids should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once daily. But, what about the brush floss order? Should kids floss and then brush their teeth or should they brush before flossing? And, when should they floss? In the morning? Before bed? For older kids, where does mouthwash come in? 

Well, wonder no more, because our Englewood, Thornton and Central Park pediatric dentists have you covered. In this post, we’ll talk about:

  • Whether kids should floss or brush first
  • Whether it’s better to floss in the morning or at night
  • What the ideal brush, floss, mouthwash order is for older children and teens
  • The basics of a solid brushing and flossing routine for kids

Should Kids Floss Before or After Brushing?

The order of brushing and flossing might not seem all that important. Either way, you’re getting rid of those sugar bugs on your child’s teeth, right? Well, a 2018 study in the Journal of Periodontology aimed to answer the question of whether to floss or brush first and to determine how much of a difference the brush floss order had on plaque removal. 

The researchers discovered that flossing before brushing eliminated a whole lot more plaque (the sticky bacterial film that clings to the pearly whites) than flossing after brushing. The theory is that flossing loosens the bacteria, plaque and food debris stuck between the teeth and then brushing, followed by rinsing the mouth, further clears out the bad stuff. So, whenever possible, have kids floss teeth before they brush. 

Is it Better to Floss in the Morning or at Night?

Flossing the teeth is super important for removing plaque between the teeth and along the gumline that can’t be reached with a toothbrush to maintain kids’ oral health. If kids don’t floss, they’re at a greater risk for tooth decay and gingivitis. How often should you floss your teeth? Once a day is recommended for children (and adults!). 

As for the best time to floss, it really doesn’t matter. While, theoretically, flossing teeth at night can be a good way to get rid of any food, plaque and bacteria that has built up throughout the day, how often kids floss is more important than when they floss. So, if you’re exhausted at night and can’t keep up with your child’s flossing routine, floss in the morning. If mornings are hectic, floss at night. As long as the job gets done, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger and Dr. Meredith whole-heartedly support flossing any time of day! 

What is the Ideal Brush, Floss, Mouthwash Order?

According to the American Dental Association’s guidelines, little ones under the age of six should not use mouthwash unless directed to by their dentist because there is a high risk of them accidentally swallowing it. However, if your child is six or older and is good at spitting out toothpaste, adding mouthwash to their oral hygiene routine can ensure no plaque is left behind. As for the recommended brush, floss, mouthwash order, have kids floss first to loosen plaque and food particles, then brush their teeth and finish by swishing the mouthwash around in their mouth for 60 seconds and spitting it out. If you do opt for mouthwash for kids, choose an alcohol-free version. 

The Basic of Flossing and Brushing Teeth for Kids

While we’re on the topic of flossing and brushing kids’ teeth, we thought we’d have a quick refresher on some of the basics. 

Here are a few tips for flossing and brushing success:

  • Start brushing your baby’s teeth – or tooth – twice a day with a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) as soon as their first baby tooth erupts
  • From ages two to five, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and continue brushing kids’ teeth twice a day for two full minutes each session. At this age, it’s important to help toddlers brush their teeth since they don’t have the dexterity to do it effectively on their own. 
  • Begin flossing your toddler’s teeth once a day when there are no gaps between the teeth, usually around 18 months. Again, little kids don’t have the coordination to floss on their own, so do the flossing for them early on. 
  • As for how to floss kids’ teeth, position a length of dental floss or a special flosser between any two teeth. Floss up and down the side of one tooth, getting just under the gumline, and up and down the side of the other tooth, before moving on to the next set of teeth. Continue until you’ve flossed between all of the teeth and around the back molars. 
  • Older children can brush and floss themselves. However, it’s a good idea to monitor kids until around age eight or when you feel confident they’re doing a thorough job.
  • Kids with dental braces should brush their teeth more frequently. Have them brush in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Kids can floss during braces treatment, using a floss threader or orthodontic flosser will make their once-daily flossing easier. 
  • Mouthwash can add an extra layer of protection and banish more plaque and bacteria, as well as fight bad breath. Reserve it for children over the age of six who you know won’t swallow it.

The bottom line is that studies do suggest the brush, floss, mouthwash order matters to some extent and having kids’ floss before they brush and then use mouthwash last can help send extra plaque packing. That being said, if kids are brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once daily, it will ward off cavities and keep their teeth and gums healthy, regardless of the order.

Do you need help creating an outstanding homecare routine for your kiddo or are you in need of a fun, exciting dentist for kids in Denver, Englewood or Thornton, Colorado? Schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today! 

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What Are The Causes of Child Tooth Pain?

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

Child-with-tooth-pain-and-his-hands-over-his-cheeksAs a parent, it’s heartbreaking to see your child in pain. Whether a scraped knee, stubbed toe or, (heaven forbid!) a broken limb, you want to take the hurt away however you can. 

A child’s tooth pain falls squarely into the above. So what are the culprits that cause tooth pain in kids? 

Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger at Kids Mile High are here with the experience and expertise to answer that question! As your Denver area pediatric dentists in Englewood, Central Park and Thornton, we’ve seen many children with sore teeth and gums and have helped them through it. Parents often schedule an appointment with us when:

  • Their baby has sore gums
  • Their child’s loose tooth hurts
  • Their child’s tooth hurts when eating
  • They’re concerned about childhood teeth grinding
  • Their child has sore jaws or teeth

A Baby with Sore Gums

When your baby is crying, irritable, drooling (more than usual!) and chewing on his fists, they’re probably teething and has very sore gums. Teething starts anytime from three months onward, with teeth starting to show around six months old. It’s an exciting ‘first’ for your baby but it can be a painful one. Just think, if adults experienced teething, “crying like a baby” would take on a whole new meaning! 

Alleviating Teething Pain

The team at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry has seen a lot of teething babies with swollen, tender gums and flushed cheeks. We know that it’s challenging for both the baby with sore gums and the parents. Here are our top tips for alleviating your baby’s sore gums

  • Counterpressure Using Teething Toys and Gum Massage – Your baby has the right idea when they’re chewing on their fist; they’re providing a relieving counterpressure. Give your baby with sore gums teething rings or plush teething toys — free of BPA, phthalates, latex and PVC, of course — and let them gum, gum, gum away! A wet washcloth is also comforting to chew. Even better? Try cold pressure: refrigerate teething toys and washcloths for further comfort. 

A gum massage is a nice way to bond with your baby and apply that much-need counterpressure. You’ll also get the chance to feel for any newly-erupted teeth.

  • Cold Food or Drinks: If your baby is already eating solid foods, give them cold items like yogurt or blended fruit. You could also try giving them refrigerated breastmilk.
  • Distractions and Play: When the irritability cranks up, try changing your baby’s activity. Pull out a new book, go for a walk, play some happy music and sing along. Even short distractions help.
  • Child Toothache Medicine: Baby pain relievers are an option, especially at night. Rest for your baby and you? Always important. Ask your pediatrician about infant ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

While we’re talking about babies, let’s cover baby tooth decay. Yes, tooth decay can happen in those tiny teeth! Baby bottle tooth decay is what happens when babies are put to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice — anything that has sugars in it — and the sugars that sit in the baby’s mouth all night turn into bacteria and plaque. It can happen in the daytime, too. When you give your baby constant sips or bottles of sugar-containing liquids, you run the risk of bacteria building up.

Brushing and Flossing your Baby’s Teeth

To help get rid of bacteria in a baby’s mouth, use a soft, damp washcloth to gently clean your baby’s gums and teeth twice a day. Once teeth begin to show, use a soft, baby toothbrush with a tiny, rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste to gently brush teeth and gums. How often? At least twice a day. As for flossing, how many times a day should you floss your baby’s teeth? When teeth grow big enough that the gaps between start closing up, you should floss your baby’s teeth at least once a day. 

My Child’s Loose Tooth Hurts

After the arrival of baby teeth, losing those teeth is the next step in a child’s dental development. Losing baby teeth to gain adult teeth happens during most of childhood, from 5-7 years old until about 12-13 years old. When your child says their loose baby tooth hurts, it’s most likely gum tenderness around the tooth. This is normal. For the most part, however, losing baby teeth doesn’t hurt, except for the back molars occasionally. Back molars don’t have baby counterparts to pave the way so they might cause tooth pain in a child. During the day, cold or frozen food will soothe discomfort. At night, ibuprofen can help your child sleep better and lessen tooth pain.

In some cases, your child’s loose tooth hurts because of trauma to the tooth or gums. Are teeth or gums bleeding? Any teeth black or cracked? If so, make an appointment at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible!

My Child’s Tooth Hurts When Eating

Tooth pain in children when they’re eating is not a normal event and needs close attention. When your child complains that his teeth hurt when eating, tooth decay is a likely culprit. Some causes include

  • Cavities – Tooth decay, or cavities, can happen to anyone at any age. So if your child’s tooth hurts when eating, they could have a cavity. With a cavity, bacteria has worn away a tooth’s surface enamel, causing a permanent hole in the tooth. The lack of enamel makes a tooth more sensitive, and deeper cavities can expose nerves, which cause even greater pain. If your child’s pain is really bad, internal tooth decay is a possibility. Internal tooth decay is when tooth decay is happening within the tooth’s soft interior of nerves and tissue.
  • Infections – With moderate cavities, only the teeth are affected. But with more severe internal tooth decay or gum disease, not only does your child’s tooth hurt when eating, but there might also be an infection in the gums. Infections also occur because of cracked teeth or abscesses. Signs of infected gums include: swollen and red gums, throbbing pain, a swollen jaw, fever or a bad taste in your child’s mouth. Eep!

If you suspect a cavity or infection is why your child’s tooth hurts when eating, make an appointment at our Englewood, Central Park or Thornton office right away. 

Preventing Child Tooth Decay and Cavities

The best way to prevent and stop child tooth decay is a thorough brushing and flossing routine. Get your kids into good oral hygiene routines early so their healthy oral hygiene habits will carry into adulthood. Kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Dentists suggest that parents brush their kids’ teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts and supervise kids’ teeth brushing until the age of 7 or 8.

People often ask, “How many times a day should you floss your kids’ teeth? Is it the same as brushing? More? Less?” When it comes to how many times a day you should floss your kids’ teeth, we typically recommend flossing your kids’ teeth at least once a day. Flossing is proven to significantly reduce the number of bad bacteria left in your mouth. Like brushing, parents should help their child with flossing, or at least closely supervise, until their child is about 7 or 8. After that, it’s still a good idea for parents to keep an eye on your kids’ flossing and brushing to ensure they’re doing a thorough job. 

Tips for Encouraging Teeth Flossing 

Find a flavor of dental floss that your kids like, use floss picks or a water flosser. If you make flossing fun, your kids’ answer to “How many times a day should you floss your kids’ teeth?” might be a surprising one like, “Every chance you get, mom!”

Kids’ Teeth Grinding

When your children go to bed, you wish them sweet dreams and a restful, peaceful sleep. What happens, though, if you hear the alarming sounds of your kids’ teeth grinding? Bruxism, as it’s officially called, affects 2-3 out of 10 children. It’s one of the more common kids’ oral health concerns we see at Kids Mile High and we’ve found that kids teeth grinding is most often related to misaligned teeth or stress. It can also be behind your child’s tooth pain. 

  • Misaligned Teeth – As we talked about earlier, losing baby teeth and gaining adult teeth happens continually from about ages 5 to 13. So there’s plenty of times during childhood when your kid’s teeth might not line up, resulting in discomfort and teeth grinding. The good news is that kids usually grow out of teeth grinding when all their adult teeth are in. If teeth grinding continues into the teen years, we suggest booking a visit with our Kids Mile High pediatric orthodontist Dr. Owens to assess if your child needs orthodontic care.
  • Stress – An upcoming test at school, a piano recital or pivotal soccer game, an argument with parents or friends. Childhood stressors are a non-dental cause of kids’ teeth grinding. While we can’t eliminate your little one’s stress, if your child’s teeth grinding is damaging their teeth, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger can provide some guidance or suggestions — like outfitting your child with a custom-made mouthguard to protect their teeth.

Sometimes kids’ teeth grinding is a medical symptom. Certain medications can cause teeth grinding. Medical issues such as hyperactivity or being tongue-tied are linked to it, as well as conditions like cerebral palsy.

Sore Jaws or Teeth From Illness

Occasionally, your child’s tooth pain isn’t from any of the common dental problems in children that we’ve mentioned. Does your child have a stuffy nose? Is she complaining that her ears hurt? Sinusitis or an ear infection can cause jaw or teeth pain. In these cases, an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen is an option, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any other medications your child is taking.

Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger to the Rescue!

Now that you know what can cause child tooth pain, your next step is visiting us at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry. As your Denver pediatric dental specialists in Englewood, Central Park, and Thornton, our fun, kid-centric vibe helps kids feel calm — even when they’ve got tooth pain. Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger will quickly figure out the cause of your child’s tooth pain and provide guidance and solutions for a happy, pain-free child! Contact us today for an emergency virtual visit or an in-person appointment.

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Give Your Child the Gift of a Healthy Smile

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

Can you believe it’s already the holiday season? After a long and interesting year (to say the least!), we all deserve a reason to celebrate with our families. And as pediatric dentists in Englewood, Central Park and Thornton, you know what we think is the perfect gift this year. To us, there’s no better way to show your little ones you care than by setting them up for lifelong oral health.

Okay, we know it’s not a traditional gift, but this year the Kids Mile High team encourages you to give your kids the gift of a healthy smile. After all, it really is the gift that keeps on giving: not only does a healthy smile support your children’s health overall and reduce their need for serious (and costly) intervention in the future, it’s also proven to boost their self-esteem, happiness and confidence.

Wondering what you can do to support your children’s oral health? Here are some simple tips for keeping your kiddos’ teeth strong and healthy this holiday season and beyond.

Book Your Child’s First Dental Appointment by Age One

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children have their first dental appointment by age one, or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. On average, kids begin to get their primary teeth around six months old, and it’s important to have those little pearly whites examined by a professional to make sure they’re coming in properly.

At your child’s first dental visit with their Central Park, Thornton or Englewood pediatric dentist, we’ll take a look at their overall dental health and assess any potential issues, as well as provide tips for proper oral hygiene and give some nutritional guidance. The goal is to establish healthy habits early on to set your child on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile.

Teach Your Kids Tooth-Healthy Habits

We’re always here to support our patients and provide education on taking care of your kids’ teeth, but the real work happens at home. Getting kids excited about brushing and flossing their teeth is a tall order, but it’s a necessary one, so the sooner you get started the better. Fortunately, there are creative ways to make oral hygiene fun for kids. Here’s how:

  • Brush and floss as a family, because kids love to mimic their parents!
  • Play a two-minute tune to ensure your children brush for the appropriate amount of time
  • Reward your kiddos for brushing and flossing every day
  • Turn brushing and flossing into a game to get rid of those nasty sugar bugs
  • Let your little ones choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste so they feel like they have a say

Practice Preventive Dentistry

When it comes to kids’ oral health, it’s always better to prevent issues from happening than try to fix them afterwards. That’s why preventive dentistry is the best dentistry for kids. When you take preventive measures, it helps your child avoid oral health problems like cavities, gum disease, enamel decay and more.

Dental sealants are one of the best ways to take preventive action for your kids’ teeth. They’re basically like protective armor that blocks out all the bad stuff, like bacteria, plaque, acids and food particles that eat away at your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are made from a thin plastic that’s painted onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth to create a barrier over the enamel of each tooth, keeping your child’s teeth as healthy as possible. Fluoride treatments are another fantastic preventive dentistry option and we’re not talking about the yucky, messy kind in trays. These days, we apply fluoride varnish to your child’s teeth and they’re free to go about their day.

Visit an Orthodontist By Age Seven

If a pediatric dentist is like a general practitioner for your child’s teeth, an orthodontist is a specialist that focuses on a specific aspect of oral health. Orthodontists are primarily concerned with straightening the teeth and aligning the bite to create beautiful, functional and healthy smiles. While there’s no standard age for kids to first visit an orthodontist, most dental professionals recommend seeing an orthodontist by the time your child turns seven.

Similar to your child’s first dental visit, their first orthodontic appointment gives their doctor a chance to examine, diagnose and prevent potential bite issues. It also gives parents and kids a better idea of whether they’ll need orthodontic treatment in the future.

Schedule Regular Dental Appointments

Aside from taking all the necessary steps at home to care for your child’s teeth, regular visits to your pediatric dentist in Central Park, Thornton or Englewood are crucial to your child’s ongoing oral health. Kids should see their dentist approximately every six months to keep an eye on their development and watch out for any incoming problems. We’ll also do routine cleanings and can add on fluoride treatments or dental sealants if you’d like. And if you still have questions, the Kids Mile High team is always here to help you out.

Ready to book your child’s first dental appointment or schedule regular visits to your pediatric dentist? Contact Kids Mile High today.

Braces-Friendly-Food

Braces-Friendly Food in Englewood, Thornton and Denver Restaurants

By | Community, Orthodontics | No Comments

Are you thinking about getting braces for your child, or is your kiddo already on her way to a new smile? One of the first things the parents of our Denver area orthodontic patients ask is, “How will braces change my child’s life?” For starters, braces will improve your child’s bite, oral health and self-confidence. But there are also a few changes she’ll need to make along the way, such as avoiding certain foods that could damage the hardware.

Fortunately, there are tons of braces-friendly food, so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. Even eating out is totally possible with braces! If you’re looking for a place to eat in Denver with braces, look no further. Read on for Kids Mile High’s ultimate braces-friendly food guide to the best restaurants in Denver, Thornton, and Englewood.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

First things first, let’s start with a little refresher on what foods to eat with braces and what foods to avoid. While it can be a bit of a bummer to be told what to eat, we’re here to assure you (and your kids) that eating with braces can be just as enjoyable as without. You’ll just need to follow a few hard-and-fast rules to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy.

Basically, you’ll want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky or any foods you have to bite into. Here’s a list of foods to avoid with braces and why:

    • Hard/crunchy foods: Popcorn, ice, chips or hard candies could potentially break your child’s brackets, which has the potential of delaying progress.
    • Chewy foods: Dense bread, like bagels or pizza crust, can get stuck in braces, making it more difficult to brush and floss effectively.
    • Sticky foods: Sticky items like caramels, candy and bubblegum are off-limits if your child has braces for obvious reasons. Not only do they get stuck in the brackets and wires, but these treats can also pull the brackets off your child’s teeth. And of course, the sugar itself isn’t good for developing mouths!
    • Foods you bite into: Biting into things like apples, corn-on-the-cob, or carrots are dangerous for your child’s hardware, so it’s best to avoid them until the braces come off.

The most important thing to remember about eating with braces is that you need to be extra diligent about oral health care. The brackets and wires create lots of extra little spaces for plaque and bacteria to hide, so your child will need to brush and floss after every snack and meal to avoid harmful build-up.

Where to Eat with Braces in Englewood, Thornton and Denver

Okay, now to the fun part! Let’s talk about all the delicious foods you can eat with braces in the Denver area. While eating out with braces can take a little extra forethought, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are our favorite restaurants in Denver, Englewood and Thornton for anyone — with or without braces

  • Undici Ristorante Italiano – 1200 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO – Italian food is one of the best things to eat with braces for many reasons: it’s delicious, it’s usually soft enough for even sensitive teeth, and everyone loves pasta! Undici has some of the best food in Englewood, serving up classic Italian dishes like calamari, spaghetti and meatballs, and tiramisu. The best part? All of the above are perfectly safe for diners with braces, so there’s no need to compromise. Undici is currently open for dine-in and takeout.
  • Garibaldi Mexican Bistro – 3298 S Broadway B, Englewood, CO – For a casual dining experience that even kiddos with braces will love, Garibaldi is the spot. It truly doesn’t get more authentic than this for real-deal Mexican eats in the heart of Englewood. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the chicken mole enchiladas or the daily quesadilla special. Mexican food is an ideal braces-friendly cuisine, as long as you stick to soft tortillas, not the crunchy kind. And be sure to cut everything into bite-sized pieces to guarantee your child’s braces stay safe! Garibaldi is currently open for takeout and delivery.
  • Doug’s Diner – 4243 E 136th Ave #6918, Thornton, CO – Everyone’s favorite diner in Thornton doubles as the perfect place to eat with braces. This neighborhood gem dishes up American classics like omelettes, hamburgers and sandwiches. Kids with braces can still eat at Doug’s, as long as they cut their food into bite-sized pieces or stick to soft menu items like the many delicious omelettes available. Doug’s Diner is currently open for dine-in and takeout.
  • Four Friends Kitchen – 2893 Roslyn St, Denver, CO – This Southern-inspired eatery is a fantastic place to eat out in Denver with braces. Located in Central Park, Four Friends was created by, you guessed it, four friends! So you know it’ll be a friendly restaurant for the whole family. For your braces-clad kiddos, stick to menu items like grits, waffles and mac-n-cheese. Four Friends is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery.
  • Ace Eat Serve – 501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO –  This has got to be one of the coolest restaurants in Denver, whether you have braces or not. With a menu full of unique Asian-inspired dishes and a dozen ping pong tables (yes, really), you and your kids are guaranteed to have a great time. Most things on the menu are safe for braces, including rice bowls, noodle bowls, bao buns, and especially the peanut butter Thai rolled ice cream (just watch out for those crunchy peanuts!). As long as you avoid any tough meats like the crispy beef, you should be in the clear. Ace Eat Serve is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery — and ping pong!

Did we miss one of your favorite local restaurants? We’d love to hear all about it at your next appointment with Kids Mile High. Contact us today to book.

Children and Gum Disease

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

Most of us think of gum disease as an adult problem that only affects us later in life. Of course, as pediatric dentists in Central Park, Englewood and Thornton, we know that gum disease (and especially its precursor gingivitis) are extremely common in children and teens. Gingivitis and gum disease cause puffy, swollen or red gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. Caused by a build-up of food particles, bacteria and plaque, gum disease in kids and teens can lead to significant tooth damage and health concerns if left untreated.

Though signs of gum disease are typically first seen in adolescence, the beginning stages can begin at any point in childhood. That’s why it’s so important for kids to learn healthy oral hygiene habits from an early age. At Kids Mile High, it’s our job to help set your child up for lifelong tooth health. Here, we’re answering all your questions about kids and gum disease, including:

  • What are common symptoms of gum disease in kids?
  • Why do kids get gingivitis or gum disease?
  • How can I treat my child’s gingivitis at home?

What is Childhood Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Characterized by inflamed gums, bad breath and loose teeth, gum disease can affect children, teens and adults alike. There are three types of gum disease in children: chronic gingivitis, localized aggressive periodontitis and generalized aggressive periodontitis.

Chronic gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is not only very treatable, it’s preventable with proper brushing and flossing and regular dental care. Gingivitis itself is a non-destructive form of periodontal disease but untreated, it can lead to more serious, damaging periodontitis.

Localized aggressive periodontitis primarily affects the first molars and incisors in teens and young adults. Oddly, patients with this type of periodontal disease don’t usually have much plaque, but experience severe loss of the alveolar bone. That’s the part of the jaw that holds the roots of your teeth and keeps them in place, so it’s pretty important!

Lastly, with generalized aggressive periodontitis, your child will have very inflamed gums and heavy build-up of plaque and tartar. Over time, this condition can weaken the teeth and cause them to become loose, leading to tooth loss.

Gum Disease in Kids: What to Look Out For

Do you think your child might have gingivitis or gum disease? There’s no reason to panic. It’s a common part of childhood and adolescence and if you catch it early, it will not cause lasting damage. If you suspect your child is suffering from periodontal disease in any form, it’s always best to visit your pediatric dentist. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the main symptoms of gum disease in kids:

  • Swollen, red or puffy gums
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away with regular brushing and flossing
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that bleed during or after brushing and flossing
  • Loose teeth that are not caused by any other impact or force

However, your child’s symptoms alone are not always enough to diagnose childhood gingivitis. A baby with sore gums most likely has a tooth erupting, not gum disease. Loose teeth are also not a cause for concern on their own because all kids lose their baby teeth to make space for their adult ones. But if, for example, your two year old has swollen gums and bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away, it may be an early sign of childhood gum disease.

Why Does My Child Have Gum Disease?

If your child does in fact have gum disease, you’re probably wondering what caused it in the first place. As we’ve mentioned, gingivitis and periodontal disease are characterized by excess plaque, bacteria and tartar that accumulate on the teeth over time. In most cases, the condition is caused by poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing or flossing your teeth, which allows all that gunk to build up. But even with proper dental habits, kids can still develop gingivitis. There are several additional causes of gum disease in children and teens, and risk factors that may make them more likely to develop the condition.

Puberty (and all the wonderful hormonal changes that come along with it) can contribute to the development of gum disease in teens. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, heightened progesterone and possibly estrogen during puberty raise blood circulation to the gums. This in turn increases the gum’s sensitivity to any irritation, including food and plaque, causing sore, swollen and red gums. These symptoms will go away as puberty progresses, but teens need to be extra diligent about brushing and flossing their teeth during this time to avoid further gum disease in the future.

Additional risk factors for childhood periodontal disease include various diseases, such as Kindler syndrome, type 1 diabetes, Down’s syndrome and Papillon–Lefèvre syndrome. Genetics may also increase your child’s risk of gum disease.

Treating Children with Gum Disease

Gum disease, as with all health concerns, is best treated early. If possible, it’s better to prevent it before it even starts! This is absolutely possible with proper oral health care, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once per day, and maintaining regular visits with your dentist. All of the above applies to treating gum disease in children, teens and adults.

So teach your child how to brush and floss from an early age, be a good role model by demonstrating positive oral health behavior, and always stay up to date on your child’s dentist appointments. Is your child due for a visit with the doctors at Kids Mile High? Contact us today to book.

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The Denver Kids Mile High Location Has a New Name!

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It’s official: our Denver pediatric dentistry office is now Kids Mile High Central Park!

As you know, the Stapleton neighborhood was recently renamed Central Park following a unanimous vote in mid-August. The name change came as a response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement and the Kids Mile High team is proud to follow suit.

Even though our northeast Denver practice has a new name, you can still expect the same fantastic service you’ve come to love at Kids Mile High. As Central Park pediatric dentists, our number one goal is to make dentistry … well, fun! We know that might sound like a tall order, but if you’ve visited our Englewood, Thornton or Central Park pediatric dentistry locations, you know we deliver.

Our kid-friendly offices were designed with our patients’ comfort and enjoyment in mind. They’re bright, engaging, interactive and downright awesome. When you walk in the door, get a high-five from Dr. Paddy while showing off your skills on the in-office putting green. Admire Dr. Roger’s Mickey Mouse shoes or peek inside at the aquatic life in the 250-gallon fish tank. Once you experience the exceptional pediatric dental services in our relaxed, cheerful environment, you’ll never look at going to the dentist the same again!

Aside from our interactive offices and fun approach to pediatric dentistry, Kids Mile High offers only the best in kids’ dental care. We use state-of-the-art technology to prevent, diagnose and treat your child’s oral health concerns. Using preventive dentistry and orthodontic intervention when necessary, we stop serious problems before they start and can tackle even the most complex issues with ease.

Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger and Dr. Owens are experts in creating healthy smiles for patients from infancy through adolescence. As Central Park’s pediatric dentistry specialists, they’re committed to helping children develop amazing oral health habits for life. Together, the Kids Mile High team shares a mission to create a fun, positive dental experience for kids and parents alike.

Join us in celebrating the new name of our Denver location. Better yet, come check out the office for yourself! Contact us to book an appointment at Kids Mile High Central Park today.

teeth-grinding-child-care

Your Guide to Teeth Grinding in Children

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

Ever heard of bruxism? You’re not alone. Even though it’s one of the most common kids’ oral health concerns we treat at Kids Mile High, it’s not a term that most of our Thornton, Central Park and Englewood pediatric dentistry patients are familiar with. You probably know it better by it’s non-technical name: teeth grinding. While it can be cause for concern in some cases, it’s a totally normal part of childhood that typically resolves itself on its own.

Taking care of your little ones’ teeth is our number one priority at Kids Mile High, from infancy all the way through adolescence. We know that navigating your child’s oral health can be confusing at best. If you’re hearing grinding noises from your child’s bedroom at night, it can be downright scary! Unfortunately, there can be long-term effects of bruxism if left untreated and it may also be a sign of a bigger issue. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about teeth grinding in children and what to do about it.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

If your child is grinding his or her teeth, you might be wondering why it’s happening in the first place. The exact cause of teeth grinding in children is unknown, but most experts agree that it’s a response to tooth discomfort due to normal oral development, such as emerging or misaligned teeth. If the cause of tooth grinding is developmental, kids will usually stop on their own once all of their adult teeth come in.

Sometimes, though, teeth grinding has nothing to do with tooth development. When teeth grinding is ongoing, it may be caused by emotional upset, such as stress or anxiety. Believe it or not, children deal with a lot of stress in their young lives, from school pressure like getting good grades and making friends, to changes at home like moving or a death in the family. Children thrive in routines and any major changes can lead to physical reactions — including bruxism.

Additional causes of teeth grinding include reactions to medications, hyperactivity, being tongue tied, or medical conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Effects of Teeth Grinding

Many parents never even know their kids are grinding their teeth. That doesn’t make you a bad parent! Bruxism usually goes away on its own, so you may never have the chance to worry about it! If you know your child is grinding his or her teeth, you’re probably concerned about the effects of bruxism for your child’s oral health.

Some children may experience temporary symptoms, such as headaches or earaches, but these typically go away when tooth grinding stops. For children who continue to grind their teeth, you may see some more serious side effects, such as damage to tooth enamel, chipped teeth, increased temperature sensitivity, facial pain, or jaw issues.

Teeth Grinding: What to Look Out For

The most important thing to remember about teeth grinding in children is that it is generally not something you need to worry about. It’s a normal part of childhood oral development that should resolve itself eventually. That said, there are always exceptions. Teeth grinding isn’t good for your child’s teeth and can cause wear and tear in the long run. Asking yourself, “Is my child grinding her teeth?” Here’s how to tell if your child has bruxism.

  • Grinding noises while your child is sleeping
  • Complaints of a sore jaw
  • Changes in eating habits or discomfort with chewing
  • Chipped teeth
  • Behavioral changes

Any combination of these symptoms can be a sign that your child is grinding his or her teeth. As we’ve mentioned, kids usually outgrow this habit on their own but if you notice that it’s not going away, err on the side of caution and contact your Central Park, Englewood or Thornton pediatric dentist.

How to Treat Children’s Teeth Grinding

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: children usually stop grinding their teeth on their own. But simply waiting for teeth grinding to go away can be somewhat stressful for parents. How long does it take for kids to stop grinding their teeth? When is it time to see a pediatric dentist for bruxism? While intervention for bruxism is not usually required, a pediatric dentist like the doctors at Kids Mile High can give you the guidance and reassurance you and your child need.

Even for mild cases of bruxism, having a pediatric dentist keep an eye on your child’s development can ensure teeth grinding isn’t interfering with their oral health. If your child is experiencing facial or jaw pain from teeth grinding, we recommend getting a special mouthguard for your child to wear while sleeping. A custom-made night guard can help prevent teeth grinding quickly, effectively and for the long-term.

But what about treating teeth grinding that’s caused by stress or anxiety? This can be a little more difficult and treatment starts at home. Talk to your child about what’s upsetting them and encourage them to open up about what’s triggering their anxieties. Once you know why your child is upset, you can help them develop healthy strategies for coping with stress. In the interim, it may be helpful to schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric dentists to determine if they would recommend an occlusal guard to help protect the teeth from damage.

Does your child grind his or her teeth? Worried that your child’s bruxism isn’t going away? Kids Mile High is here to answer any questions you have about teeth grinding in children. Call us to book a free consultation and help your child overcome their bruxism today.

summer-activities-for-kids

Our Annual Guide to the Best Fun & Free Summer Activities for Kids in Denver

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The Kids Mile High team is beyond excited to say that it’s officially summer! With social distancing still in effect, this year is surely going to look a little different than summers’ past, but we can’t wait to enjoy all our favorite summer family activities in Denver. We may need to adapt how we do things, but farmers’ markets, family hikes and camping trips are all safe with the proper precautions in place. Need some ideas for (almost) free things to do with kids in Denver and beyond this summer? Read on for the annual list from your Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentists.

  1. Explore Dinosaur Ridge Facebook

Is there a kid out there who doesn’t love dinosaurs? We don’t think so! Fortunately, Dinosaur Ridge is open — with a few new socially distant protocols, of course. Let your kiddos discover their inner archeologist by exploring the exhibits at this National Natural Landmark. There’s a small fee to enter the park and participate in a walking tour. Choose from a full or half guided tour for $6-10 per person, or fly solo and download the audio tour to your phone for just $6. However you choose to experience Dinosaur Ridge, we’re sure the whole family will love it.

  1. Catch an Outdoor Movie in the Park

Everyone’s favorite summer family night out is back as movie goers flock to parks across the city to catch a free, outdoor flick. Grab the kids, pack a blanket and some snacks, and settle in for a fun family activity in Denver your little ones will always remember. Check out the full listing of outdoor movies in Denver, Central Park and beyond to make sure you don’t miss your favorites. Many outdoor movies are currently operating as drive-ins to keep everyone safe, so be sure to check the appropriate websites for updates.

  1. Browse One of the Many Farmers’ Markets – Facebook

Our idea of a perfect summer morning is strolling through the farmers’ market, picking up fresh produce and seeing all the artisan goods on display. And we’re lucky to have many farmers’ markets in Denver and the surrounding area. One of the best (and biggest) is Cherry Creek Fresh Market, taking place every Saturday, Wednesday and occasionally on Sundays at Cherry Creek Shopping Center. It’s the perfect place to teach your kids about the value of supporting local growers and businesses. You could even let them pick out the goodies for tonight’s dinner! After all, we’re all cooking at home more than usual these days. Why not give your kiddos the opportunity to be involved? Admission and parking for the market is free. Check out the market’s current COVID-19 protocols before you go.

  1. Stroll Through the First Friday Art Walk – Facebook

Get your art fix — virtual style —  with the Art District on Santa Fe’s First Friday Art Walk. Usually located in Denver’s local art hub in the heart of downtown, the art walk has gone virtual for the season. It takes place on (you guessed it) the first Friday of each month and is one of the best free, kid-friendly activities in Denver! Featuring art from over 30 galleries, artist studios and restaurants, the First Friday Art Walk is an art lover’s dream. Shows start at 5pm on Facebook.

  1. Have a Backyard Camp-Out

You don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy everything that summer in Denver has to offer. You can simply pitch a tent in your own backyard and have a family camp-out! If you have a fire pit, roast up some hot dogs and be sure to save room for s’mores. No campfire? No problem. Throw some burgers on the BBQ and try this baked s’mores recipe. When the sun goes down, gather around the fire or a flashlight and share ghost stories. You’ll feel like you’re camping in the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of home. Of course, if you want to do some real camping, there are plenty of family friendly campsites near Denver. Just be prepared to drive for an hour or more.

  1. Take a Family Hike

Did you know there are plenty of family friendly hiking trails less than an hour’s drive from Denver? Now you do and we recommend you hit the trails, stat! Hiking is one of the best things to do with kids in Denver this summer. Not only does it get you and your kids active — it’s an opportunity to teach them all about the beauty of nature. Not to mention that it’s easy to maintain a safe social distance when you’re in the forest! In just 30 minutes from downtown, you can get to Bear Creek Trail at Lair o’ the Bear Park, or the Lookout Mountain Hiking Trail, for easy kid-friendly hikes. A little further out, you can explore the castle ruins at Mount Falcon (even if you have a stroller!). Whether you’re beginners or seasoned hikers, there’s a trail near Denver with your name on it.

What are your favorite summer family activities in Denver? We’d love to hear all about your summer adventures at your next visit! Book your next appointment with Kids Mile High today.

kid-uses-mouthwash

Is it Safe for Kids to Use Mouthwash?

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As your little ones get older and begin to sprout new pearly whites, you probably have a million questions about how best to care for your child’s developing teeth. From what kind of toothpaste to use to teaching your kids to brush and floss, there are a few key things you should know about children’s oral health.

At Kids Mile High, one of the most common questions we hear is, “Is mouthwash safe for kids?” First, it’s important to remember that what’s safe for adults may not be ideal for kids. But fortunately, there are kid-friendly versions of oral health products that can be extremely effective. Read on to find out when it’s safe for your child to start using mouthwash and which products are the safest choice.

When is Mouthwash Safe for Kids?

The answer to this question really comes down to your child’s age and behavior, as well as your personal preference as a parent. To decide whether you want your child to use mouthwash, you’ll want to consider whether your child is ready for mouthwash, from both a developmental and maturity perspective.

Since mouthwash usually contains fluoride, it typically is not recommended for children under the age of 6. Fluoride has many benefits, including the prevention of tooth decay, but too much too soon can cause a condition called fluorosis. This condition can only occur when your child’s teeth are still developing and causes changes to the color and texture of the teeth, such as brown spots or bumps. But don’t worry; fluorosis is a cosmetic issue and can be prevented by not giving fluoride mouthwash to a child too young to understand the concept of spitting after rinsing.

Even if your child is old enough for mouthwash, he or she may not be ready to use it. Just like toothpaste, mouthwash should not be swallowed and needs to be spit out. It can take practice for some children to get used to swishing and spitting, instead of gulping it down. Before giving your child mouthwash, practice with water. Encourage them to swish the water around their mouth to wash all their teeth, and then spit it out into the sink. If your child does this with ease, he or she is probably ready to graduate to mouthwash.

Benefits of Mouthwash for Children

Now that you’re able to assess whether your child is ready for mouthwash or not, you might be wondering why you should give your kids mouthwash in the first place. Fortunately, there are many benefits of mouthwash for children, including the following.

  • It gives brushing and flossing an extra boost. Brushing twice and flossing once every day is the gold standard for at-home dental care, but mouthwash can boost the effects by whisking away any leftover food particles and plaque.
  • Mouthwash prevents tooth decay. Like we mentioned earlier, fluoride has incredible cavity-fighting power. Just remember that it’s only recommended for children over 6 years old.
  • It freshens your child’s breath. If your child experiences bad breath, mouthwash can provide extra freshness between brushing and flossing sessions.
  • Mouthwash helps those with braces clean their teeth more effectively. If your child has braces, you know how tricky it can be for them to brush and floss properly. Mouthwash can help loosen trapped bits of food and get into hard-to-reach areas, ensuring a more effective clean.
  • It’s a stepping stone towards proper brushing and flossing. It can take time for children to learn how to brush and floss their teeth properly. If your child hasn’t quite mastered the techniques, mouthwash can provide an effective (temporary) solution for cleaning their teeth.

Safe Mouthwash Brands for Kids

Just like there are kid-friendly toothpaste flavors and colors, the same exists in the world of children’s mouthwash. When choosing a mouthwash for your kids, you’ll want to look for alcohol-free mouthwash. Here are a few child-safe mouthwash options you can use.

  • Listerine Smart Rinse Anticavity Mouthwash: Everyone’s go-to mouthwash brand is also available in a kid-friendly mouthwash option, with zero alcohol, fun flavors and themed bottles with your kids’ favorite characters. When your kids can clean their teeth with Elsa or the Avengers, rinsing with mouthwash will become their favorite part of their oral health routine.
  • Kid’s Crest Anticavity Alcohol Free Fluoride Rinse: Crest kids mouthwash is an alcohol-free, fluoride rinse that’s safe for younger mouths (over the age of 6, of course). Available in bubble gum or strawberry, this mouthwash for kids provides effective cavity protection and deep cleaning for hard-to-reach teeth, all in a tasty flavor your kids will love.
  • Tom’s of Maine Children’s Anticavity Mouth Rinse: If you’re looking for a more natural mouthwash for kids, Tom’s is a fantastic choice. In addition to being alcohol free, it contains no artificial flavors, dyes, sweeteners or preservatives. This natural kid’s mouthwash comes in a tasty strawberry flavor we’re sure your kiddos will be excited to use.

So there you have it. If you’ve been concerned about giving your kids mouthwash, rest assured that it can be perfectly safe, as long as your child is old enough and responsible enough to use it properly. The doctors at Kids Mile High always recommend supervising your children when they use mouthwash to avoid any swallowing. Still have questions about mouthwash for kids? Call your Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentist today!

kid-baking

Simple Baking Recipes for Kids Using Pantry Staples

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We’re so excited that our doors are finally open again and we can welcome our Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric patients back into our office. We’ve missed you over the past few weeks, but we’ve managed to find ways to keep ourselves busy. One of our favorite things to do during self-isolation? Family baking!

The team at Kids Mile High has been making the most of our time at home, trying fun new recipes that are simple enough for kids to make (with adult supervision, of course). Even though banana bread is basically the official baked good of quarantine, there are so many other kid-friendly baking recipes you can make together. The best part is you probably already have everything you need in the pantry, so there’s no need to make unnecessary trips to the grocery store.

Whether you’re still isolating at home or just want to introduce your kids to the art of baking, here are five super simple baking recipes for kids.

  1. Everyone’s Favorite: Chocolate Brownies

There’s nothing better than a gooey chocolate brownie, am I right? They’re a crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike, and it turns out that they’re incredibly easy to make. With just eight ingredients you likely have on hand already, you can make delicious, chocolatey brownies the whole family will love.

Here’s what you need: bittersweet chocolate chips, unsalted butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, salt and all purpose flour. All you have to do is melt the chocolate and butter together, then add the rest of the ingredients to make a thick batter. Then bake at 350°F for 25 minutes and you’re good to go! Get the full easy brownie recipe here.

  1. The Classic Baking Treat: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ready to make the chewiest, gooiest chocolate chip cookies of all time? All you need are nine simple pantry staples. It might sound like a lot but once you read the list, you’ll realize you already have everything you need. These chocolate chip cookies are also egg-free, so they’re truly a pantry-only treat!

Here’s the list of ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, chocolate chips, brown sugar, white sugar, coconut or olive oil, and water. You could easily sub in whatever kind of flour, sugar and oil you have at home. Let the kids mix up the ingredients and then all you have to do is pop them in the oven. In about 15 minutes, you’ll have the best chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had. Read the full kid-friendly chocolate chip cookie recipe and get baking!

  1. The Easiest, Healthiest, Tastiest One-Bowl Banana Bread

No list of quarantine baking ideas would be complete without a delicious banana bread! This one requires just a handful of ingredients and only one bowl to make. Just throw everything into one bowl and mix it up to create a batter. Then pour into a parchment-lined, 9×5-inch baking dish and bake for at least an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when the crust becomes a golden brown and begins to crack.

Using pantry items like bananas, oats, maple syrup, sugar and more, you can make kid-friendly (and naturally gluten free) banana bread in no time. Get the full healthy banana bread recipe from Minimalist Baker (and if you’re missing an ingredient or two, read the comments below the post for suggestions on substitutions!).

  1. Kid-Approved Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Every kid’s favorite sandwich just got an even tastier makeover. If you’ve got flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking soda, peanut butter, butter and jam on hand, you’ve got yourself the fixings for one of the best baking recipes for kids. These chewy peanut butter and jelly bars have a crumbly crust on the top and bottom that sandwiches a thick layer of strawberry jam. These bars look so delicious we’re willing to bet your kiddos will be asking for them again and again. Check out the full kid-friendly baking recipe and get ready to see your kiddos smile.

  1. Nutritious (and Delicious) Trail Mix Cookies 

Well, you knew we had to include at least one healthy baking recipe for kids. We are pediatric dentists, after all. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice taste for nutrition with these yummy trail mix cookies. Peanut butter, maple syrup, salt, vanilla extract, baking soda and trail mix come together for a super healthy-yet-tasty treat that even kids will love. Does your child have a peanut allergy? Simple swap out the peanut butter for any other nut or seed butter (like almond butter or tahini). This healthy cookie recipe for kids is perfect for breakfasts, picnics or as an on-the-go snack for family walks. Trust us, they’ll be a hit.

Baking is not only a super fun family activity, it can also be educational for your youngsters. They’ll learn all about fractions and measurements, and discover the magic of watching a bowl of ingredients transform into delicious baked goods. Baking is truly one of the most fun family activities for children and parents to enjoy together. What have you been baking over the last few months? Be sure to let us know at your next appointment with Kids Mile High.