Feeling 100% confident about your healthcare providers is nice. Especially when it comes to the doctors and healthcare professionals that treat your kids. Well, you can walk into Kids Mile High with a skip in your step: as your pediatric dentist in the Denver area, we offer you the assurance you need that your kiddos’ smiles are in good hands.
How? Let’s start with the fact that all our doctors are board certified. Yes, that’s right! Each of our pediatric dentists — Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith — is a board-certified pediatric dentist. And if your child needs early orthodontics, braces, or Invisalign®, you can rest easy knowing Dr. Scheer is a board certified orthodontist.
So what does being board certified mean for a pediatric dentist?
Simply put, being American board certified is the benchmark standard for excellence in dental care. Being a board-certified pediatric dentist means keeping up-to-date on the latest knowledge, proven, modern techniques, and being able to apply this expertise to treating patients.
How do you become a board certified pediatric dentist?
Board certification is a voluntary extra step in a dentist’s professional development. In other words, when a person looks into how to become a pediatric dentist, board certification isn’t a requirement. It’s possible to practice pediatric dentistry without being board certified.
But consider this: if you think about how long it takes to become a pediatric dentist, adding board certification is a definite sign you’re really going the extra mile for your patients. And who doesn’t want to take their kids to a pediatric dentist like that?
To become board certified, your Kids Mile High pediatric dentists successfully passed rigorous exams with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. And it doesn’t end there: Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith must each maintain their status as a board-certified pediatric dentist by ensuring at least 15 hours of continuing education every year. Every 10 years, your Kids Mile High board certified pediatric dentist must also take a recertification exam.
How about being a board-certified orthodontist?
As mentioned earlier, not only do your Denver pediatric dentists at Kids Mile High hold board certifications, but so does Dr. Scheer, our orthodontist. As a dental specialist in orthodontics, Dr. Scheer is board certified not through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, but through the American Board of Orthodontists (AMO).
Fun fact: Only 1 in 3 orthodontists in America are board certified through the AMO.
Becoming a board certified orthodontist is voluntary and orthodontists like Dr. Scheer must successfully pass AMO’s stringent exams to achieve board certification. Considering it takes 5-10 years to become an American board-certified orthodontist, getting the designation is a big feat. And like his pediatric dentist colleagues, Dr. Scheer has to take a recertification exam every 10 years to maintain his status.
What does it mean to have a board certified orthodontist looking after your child’s teeth? You can know that your kid receives the highest level of orthodontics, informed by knowledge of the latest orthodontic techniques, technology, and patient care.
Your board certified team in Denver
Four board certified doctors under one roof! Amazing. That’s what you get when your kids come to Kids Mile High for their oral health needs. So if you’re a Denver family and you’ve been thinking, “I need to find the best pediatric dentist near me,” or you’re looking for a star orthodontist, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re concerned about your kids’ teeth health or wondering about braces, you can trust our board certified doctors to take excellent care of your kiddo’s smile.
Get in touch with us to find out more about our top-notch, award-winning service. Or visit us in-person to say hello at our offices in Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO. You’ll find a friendly atmosphere that makes expert dental and orthodontic care fun, too.
You’re at the dentist with your little one and the dentist shows you their x-rays. Typically, pediatric dentists like your Kids Mile High doctors will use x-rays to show you where decay may be present, if your child is congenitally missing teeth, or where impacted teeth may be hiding. It’s helpful to see those things on an x-ray since you can’t always see them with the naked eye.
But have you ever wondered what exactly you’re looking at in terms of tooth anatomy? It’s fairly obvious on a dental x-ray that teeth have different layers and are differently shaped. But if you’ve ever wanted to know more, here’s a primer on everything you should know.
Let’s start our tooth anatomy lesson with identifying the parts of a tooth. Every one of your child’s teeth — both their baby and permanent teeth — is composed of the same materials. And baby tooth anatomy and adult tooth anatomy are the same, too.
These are the parts of a tooth from the visible part moving into the gums. Every tooth has a:
Crown: the part you can see above the gumline
Neck: the part at the gumline between the crown and the root
Root: the part you can’t see that sits inside your gums.
And from the outside layer in, here are the parts of a tooth and the function of each:
This is the outermost layer of your child’s tooth, the part you can see. Enamel is made up of hard, calcified tissue and protects the dentin of the teeth. It takes the burnt of biting and chewing forces, the wear and tear of eating.
Now, you might be surprised to learn that enamel only covers the visible part of every tooth — the crown. The outermost layer of each tooth that’s below the gumline and secured into the gums is called cementum (we’ll talk about that shortly).
Enamel is essentially white in color so if your kiddo’s teeth look a little yellow, this could be because you’re seeing through to their dentin. Fun fact: enamel on baby teeth is thinner than on adult teeth! So in certain lights, your child’s enamel can become a little transparent and you can actually see through it to the yellow dentin underneath.
And did you know? Enamel, just like hair, doesn’t contain any living cells. So it can’t repair on its own if damaged from tooth decay or wear. But a dentist like Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith can treat your little one’s enamel to strengthen and protect it from further damage. Like with dental sealants.
This is the outermost layer in the anatomy of a tooth that you can’t see. It’s a hard, calcified connective tissue covering the tooth root below the gumline. As names of teeth go, this one’s easy to remember since “cementum” sounds a little like what it does — it attaches the tooth to the periodontal ligament of the gums. In other words, the cementum layer is the part of your child’s teeth that helps “cement” them to the gums.
If you were to look at a tooth anatomy diagram, the next layer in from enamel and cementum is dentin. It’s a bit softer than enamel and is made up of tiny, microscopic hollow tubules with fluid inside. This fluid has the all-important job of helping transmit senses to the nerves inside the pulp. So when your child eats a popsicle too fast and their teeth hurt, it’s dentin who delivers the news to the nerves… who then send the message to the brain saying, “Woah, that’s cold!”
The innermost part of a tooth is called the pulp. It’s the soft tissue at the center of a tooth and is made up of tissue, nerve endings, and blood vessels. Think of the pulp as a command center for each tooth: this part of the tooth is responsible for telling your brain when something you eat is too hot, too cold, or too sweet for your teeth. And very important, the pulp provides nourishment to keep your tooth healthy and alive.
And that’s it, the parts of a tooth and what they do: the enamel, cementum, dentin, and pulp. But wait a minute, what about where the teeth live? Let’s talk about that next.
Tooth anatomy: what’s around your tooth
It’s fairly common knowledge that your teeth sit in what’s called your gums. But that whole support system is much more complex than you might think!
Gums are the soft tissue that cover and protect your child’s teeth roots. Cool fact about gums? They hold all your child’s baby teeth right from the beginning. Yes, all 20 of your little one’s primary teeth are hanging out inside the gums right from birth — fully formed and waiting to erupt at the right times. In fact, primary teeth start to form at five weeks’ gestation so they’re ready to go when your baby’s born!
The technical word for gums is “gingiva,” which might sound familiar if you’ve heard of “gingivitis.” The latter is a mild gum disease you definitely don’t want your child to get because it can be painful or cause bleeding. And you want to treat it right away so it doesn’t get worse. Since the gums sit between teeth and your child’s jawbone, severe gum disease can affect both teeth and bone, leading to bone loss, teeth getting loose, or even falling out.
Located inside the gums, periodontal ligaments are collagenous connective tissue fibers that connect your child’s tooth roots to their socket in the jawbone. If your child has orthodontic treatment in the future, periodontal ligaments are part of the teeth system that stretch, helping teeth shift while still keeping them securely in your gums as they move.
This is the fancy name for the part of your jaw that surrounds all your teeth roots. It’s the part of your child’s jawbone that’s touching their teeth’s roots.
The different types and names of teeth
Now that you know all about tooth anatomy, how about the different types of teeth? For starters, our teeth come in different shapes and sizes, each corresponding to their function.
How many teeth does a child have? Your child’s primary teeth come as a set of 20 teeth, with the same set of 10 teeth in the upper and lower arches. Each of your little one’s jaws has:
Adult teeth are a bit different. In contrast to how many baby teeth you have, permanent teeth number at 32, with 16 teeth in each of the arches:
4 canines (cuspids)
8 premolars (bicuspids)
12 molars (including 4 wisdom teeth)
Located at the front of the mouth, incisors are shaped like small chisels, with sharp edges to help you bite into food and separate it. You typically use your incisors when you want to bite off a small, manageable piece from something large like an apple, sandwich, or piece of pizza.
For kids, incisors are the first teeth to erupt. They’re your child’s cute first teeth that you ooh and aahh over, appearing when your baby is about 6 months old. And no doubt, they’re your introduction to the world of teething! Later on when your kiddo is about 6 to 8 years old, you can expect their primary incisors to fall out and their adult ones to appear.
As far as names of teeth go, this one’s pretty descriptive of their look and position in the mouth. Reminiscent of Fido’s fang-like teeth, our canine teeth sit next to our incisors on either side — two canines on each of the top and bottom arches. They’re sharp and pointy, meant for tearing food.
Baby canines come in when your little one is around 16-20 months, starting with the upper ones. Adult canines erupt in the opposite order: the lower ones come in first around age nine, then the upper ones by the time your child is 11 or 12.
Now this is where we start to have different numbers of teeth between primary teeth and permanent teeth.Baby teeth don’t technically include premolars, only molars. Adult teeth include two pairs of premolars that sit beside the canine teeth on the upper and lower arches, for a total of eight premolars. They erupt when your child is about 10 years old. Premolars are bigger and squarer than canines and incisors with a flat, ridged surface for crushing and grinding your food so you can swallow it.
The back of your mouth holds your molars. And when it comes to types of teeth, we can safely say molars are the biggest and strongest of all your teeth. Molars, like premolars, are shaped for crushing and grinding food into pieces that are easier to swallow.
Baby teeth consist of 8 molars, while adult teeth have 12. What’s unique about adult molars is that the last four that should sit at the very back of the mouth take a long time to fully erupt. Called “wisdom teeth,” they show up between 17-25 years old, when you’re “older and wiser.”
But sometimes they don’t come in at all. If your dental arches don’t have room for them, your wisdom teeth are likely impacted, meaning your erupted teeth are blocking their path. Oftentimes, your dentist will remove your wisdom teeth if they’re stuck in your gums.
Baby teeth versus permanent teeth
We’ve covered the main differences between baby teeth and permanent teeth pretty well. But let’s recap three biggies:
Baby teeth eventually fall out, adult teeth are permanent.
How many baby teeth? There’s 20. Permanent teeth: 32.
We only have premolars with our adult teeth, not with our baby teeth.
We say teeth are pretty amazing and a super important part of our bodies. And knowing more about them can inspire you to take better care of them — whether your little one’s baby teeth, or the adult teeth that will soon take their place.
If you’re looking for even more information about your kids’ teeth or have specific questions about their teeth, your Denver-area pediatric dentists are here to help.
Contact us today for an appointment at our Englewood, Thornton, or Central Park, CO office.
The holiday season is here. And whether you’re eating Thanksgiving leftovers right now or about to indulge in Christmas or Hanukkah meals, it’s nice to know if what’s on the menu is healthy for your kids. As your Denver-area pediatric dentist, Dr. Paddy and the Kids Mile High team want to help you figure out the best holiday food for happy teeth and gums.
For many holiday tables, turkey is the main event. If this is your family, you’ll be pleased to know that turkey is one of the season’s foods that are good for teeth— it’s a lean meat full of vitamins and minerals. Turkey contains phosphorus, which along with calcium, is key for maintaining healthy gums, teeth, and bones. Turkey is also low in fat and high in protein, which helps maintain strong bones and tooth enamel.
And bonus? Turkey leftovers like turkey sandwiches, soup, or pasta mean your kiddos get quite a few chances at benefiting from turkey’s nutrition for their teeth.
Minus the marshmallow topping, mashed sweet potatoes is another one of the healthy holiday foods you can feel good about serving the kids. Sweet potatoes are chock-full of vitamins A and C for teeth health, building strong teeth and bones.
Vitamin A also helps keratin, a protein that promotes the formation of tooth enamel. And it contributes to saliva production, which brings down the acidity in your child’s mouth after eating. Less oral acidity means less tooth enamel erosion and better cavity prevention.
The vitamin C you find in sweet potatoes is super important for strengthening your kiddo’s gums and soft oral tissue. Strong gums and connective tissue keep your little one’s pearly whites firmly in place. And vitamin C helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease.
Greens Like Peas, Broccoli, and Brussel Sprouts
You can’t go wrong when offering a variety of greens! Greens are one of those all-star foods that are plain good for your kiddo’s teeth and their overall health. Holiday table favorites like peas, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are packed with teeth-healthy calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
It makes sense that calcium intake is vital for strong teeth since tooth enamel is mostly made up of calcium. As for Vitamin C, not only does it help with strong gums and oral tissue but it aids in healing and helps prevent bleeding gums. And Vitamin K? Vitamin K and calcium are buddies. Like Robin supports Batman, Vitamin K helps calcium absorption as a calcium binder.
Another reason greens are considered healthy holiday foods: it’s in the chewing.Chewing produces saliva. When it comes to broccoli and brussel sprouts, lettuce and kale, you need to chew these greens well to aid swallowing and digestion.
A bowl of nuts to snack on before dinner? Or maybe as part of a cheese plate? You can count on nuts as a healthy holiday food for kids, as long as your kiddo’s not allergic of course! A handful of nuts provides plenty of teeth-friendly vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and protein that support both teeth and gum health. Nuts are also a great source of antioxidants, which helps prevent cell damage and fight bacterial infections.
Peanuts are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, almonds boost calcium, and walnuts offer minerals and vitamins for teeth like magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B, and potassium. Cashews and brazil nuts help fight oral bacteria, doing their part to prevent tooth decay in children.
That said, your Kids Mile high pediatric dentists suggest the non-roasted and unsalted kind. And candied nuts should be enjoyed in moderation since they’ll coat your child’s teeth with sticky sugars.
Keep in mind, if your kiddo is in braces with Dr. Scheer, nuts should be avoided as they can loosen brackets!
Cheese, please! From charcuterie boards to potatoes, cheeseballs to cheesecake, cheese blintzes to kugel… and more. The good news for cheese lovers is that cheese is super teeth-friendly. Cheese has lots of calcium, phosphorus, and protein — three things we’ve already established as superheroes when it comes to good nutrition for kids’ teeth.
Eating cheese also lowers the acidity in your mouth and increases saliva production, doing a great job of cavity prevention. Try offering cheese to your kids after they’ve eaten a sweet treat like cookies or candy to counteract the sugar and acidity.
Fish is a welcome add-on to holiday menus — and we all know salmon as a superstar food for kids’ overall nutrition and teeth health. Lox, baked filet, or salmon cake… any way you serve it, this fish has vitamin D, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids to bolster teeth and gum health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium better. The “sunshine vitamin” also aids in maintaining saliva levels and preventing dry mouth.
What’s Thanksgiving or Christmas without pumpkin pie? We’re all for holiday fun and having a few treats now and then so we’re happy to say that you can feel okay about your kiddo saying “yes” to a slice! Pumpkin is great for overall nutrition for teeth because it has lots of vitamin A, which we’ve said earlier helps build strong teeth and bones, and encourages saliva.
Just remember to eat pumpkin pie in moderation since it has a lot of sugar. And we suggest having your child drink some water afterwards to rinse the sugars out, or better yet, brush their teeth well as part of a good oral health routine.
Cavity Prevention With Kids Mile High
It goes without saying that visiting your pediatric dentist for cleanings and checkups goes a long way in cavity prevention and teeth health. Pair that with healthy holiday foods this season and your kids (and you!) will be smiling big in the New Year!
We all want a healthy, balanced diet for our kids. It’s no secret that a diet rich in veggies, fruit, whole grains, and clean protein goes a long way in growing healthy bodies and minds, including their teeth and gums! At Kids Mile High, we’re often asked what foods are good for children’s teeth so we’ve compiled this list of 7 important minerals and vitamins for teeth. Help your kids eat their way to a healthy smile for life!
You’re probably not surprised that calcium starts off our list of essential minerals and vitamins for teeth. After all, tooth enamel is mostly calcium, and getting enough calcium in your diet helps keep your child’s tooth enamel layer strong. The stronger the enamel, the more defense against tooth decay and cavities. You could say that Captain Calcium is a major player in maintaining your little ones’ healthy teeth!
Calcium is also good for bones as you might already know. But did you know that calcium is only stored in your bones and teeth? So with your bones gradually renewing every 10 years, it goes without saying that a steady intake of calcium is crucial for maintaining strong, dense bones throughout childhood — like your child’s jawbone. To get the most out of calcium-rich foods, health experts suggest pairing calcium intake with vitamin D. Now you know why the milk you buy at the supermarket is typically fortified with this tooth-friendly vitamin!
Foods With Calcium
Regardless of your child’s dietary restrictions or preferences, rest assured there’s plenty of foods with calcium to make sure your kids get the amount they need. Milk is a go-to for many kids, as are other dairy products like yogurt and cheese. That’s a pretty big win for teeth, since the calcium in milk products is also the most easily absorbed. Just double check the sugar content on your kids’ favorite dairy foods — milk products with too much sugar, like some flavored yogurts, can contribute to plaque build up. If cow’s milk isn’t part of your child’s diet, then fortified nut, soy or oat milks do the job, too.
In the veggies and fruits department, calcium-rich foods include broccoli, leafy greens like kale, bok choy and collard greens, soybeans, figs and oranges. You’ll get the most vitamins and minerals out of veggies if you cook them slightly; steaming or sauteing them is better than boiling.
Your little ones can also get calcium from beans, almonds, tinned salmon and fortified breads, breakfast cereals and oatmeal. It’s easy to include sources of calcium at every meal!
Here we’ve got calcium’s best friend! As we mentioned, vitamin D is an important partner in absorbing calcium from your food, moving it from your child’s gut and depositing it in your bones. In this way, vitamin D helps build bone density. You can think of calcium and vitamin D like Batman and Robin: they can do amazing things on their own but they’re more effective together! Vitamin D is key to a diet for healthy teeth; it contributes to fully developed teeth and protects against tooth decay and gum disease.
How to Get Vitamin D
Getting your kids outside isn’t just about taking a break from screen time. With just 15 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin, your body naturally makes vitamin D. That’s why it’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin.” Keep in mind that if you live in a seasonal place like we do in Colorado, you most likely have to stay outside in direct sunlight for longer than 15 minutes in the colder months. So when those gray skies or freezing temperatures aren’t so inviting, we, your Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentists suggest you get your vitamin D from food. As one of the crucial vitamins for healthy teeth, your kids can get their vitamin D from eggs, fish, red meat, fortified milks, cereals and breads.
A diet for healthy teeth should include potassium. Just like vitamin D, it improves bone mineral density. Potassium also plays a defensive role: working with magnesium, it prevents your blood from becoming too acidic, which can cause calcium to leach from your bones and teeth. Potassium is also essential in blood clotting and helping gum tissue heal more quickly. If your child’s gums bleed a little from a baby tooth falling out, they’re new to flossing or they experience a tooth injury, potassium will help them heal faster.
More than likely, the first potassium-rich food that comes to mind is… bananas! And you’d be right. Bananas are an easy source of potassium.They’re a great, soft first food for babies and an easy grab-and-go snack for toddlers and older kids. We all benefit from having bananas in our diet!
Some other potassium options to include in a diet for healthy teeth are: dark leafy greens, potatoes, avocados and prunes. Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese also contain the potassium that kids need for healthy teeth and gums.
While it might not come up as often in conversation as other minerals and vitamins for teeth, phosphorus is pretty important. Just like vitamin D, phosphorus helps you get the most out of your calcium intake so that your teeth are as strong as possible. This mineral helps your child rebuild and strengthen their tooth enamel against plaque and cavities.
Foods with Phosphorus
You’ll find phosphorus in many of the foods that also have calcium and vitamin D. Fortified milk and milk products, seafood like tuna and salmon, red meat, beans and lentils, nuts and whole grains are all high in phosphorus.
If vitamin D, calcium, potassium and phosphorus act like teeth builders, Vitamin K acts like a teeth protector in the family of minerals and vitamins for teeth. Vitamin K helps block substances that weaken bones and teeth and assists in your child producing osteocalcin, a protein that supports bone strength. Vitamin K also contributes to the healing process, kind of like potassium.
What to Eat for Vitamin K
That kale salad or spinach frittata has your child’s name on it! Again, leafy greens are a vitamin win. Your child can also find vitamin K in broccoli, eggs, hard cheeses, pork and chicken.
When we’re talking about vitamins for teeth, we can’t forget about the gums! Vitamin C is super important in helping strengthen your child’s gums and all the soft tissue in their mouth. Strong connective tissue in your kids’ gums keeps their teeth firmly in place, and helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease.
Foods with Vitamin C
Chances are, you know that citrus fruits are a rich (and kid-approved!) source of vitamin C. But did you know that you can also find vitamin C in potatoes, leafy greens, berries and peppers? When parents ask Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger or Dr. Meredith about vitamins for strong teeth, we follow nutritionists’ rule of thumb: eat the rainbow! Colorful fruits and veggies pack a punch when it comes to being great for teeth and vitamin C.
If you’re wondering about the best drinks for teeth, we know that orange juice has vitamin C, as well as potassium and vitamin A. But as your Denver pediatric dentists, we agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics about fruit juice: it’s better to limit your child’s intake. Fruit juices have a lot of sugar without the fibre to balance it, so we recommend getting your vitamin C from whole fruits and veggies instead.
No post about vitamins for teeth should forget to mention vitamin A. Most people associate this vitamin with maintaining healthy eyes and good eyesight but vitamin A also contributes to healthy teeth, too. Vitamin A is known for helping you keep a healthy amount of saliva in your mouth, which helps bring down the higher acidity in your mouth to a more neutral or alkaline pH after you’ve eaten. This can help prevent erosion of your child’s tooth enamel, and therefore, they’re less susceptible to tooth decay.
Foods with Vitamin A
Your child’s daily dose of vitamin A can come from fish, egg yolks, or — we see a trend here! — leafy green veggies like spinach and kale. When it comes to vitamin A, an easy way to remember what foods are good for your teeth is thinking “orange”: orange foods have lots of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in your body. So if your child likes oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots or sweet potatoes, you’ve got vitamin A in the bag!
Working on Kids’ Healthy Teeth Together
It goes without saying that kids can get their vitamins for healthy teeth through a variety of foods and the teeth-friendly foods we’ve covered here can make up any meal. But, some parents worry a balanced diet isn’t enough and ask the team at Kids Mile High if their kids should also take vitamin supplements. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger and Dr. Meredith are always happy to talk with parents about this. We know that sometimes kids just aren’t into some of the foods that are good for their teeth. We’re here to talk about how we can all work together to provide vitamins for healthy, strong teeth on the daily. Contact us at our Englewood, Central Park or Thornton offices to get the conversation started.
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.
The Best Mouthwash for Braces
For kids with braces, in addition to regular brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a super helpful addition to their oral hygiene routine. Using mouthwash will offer an extra layer of protection against the decalcification of teeth, which is the culprit behind white spots after braces, and cavities.
So, what’s the best mouthwash for braces? While any of the safe mouthwashes listed above will do the trick, here are two recommendations that are particularly effective for braces wearers:
Colgate Phos-Flur OrthoDefense Anticavity Mouth Rinse: Colgate Phos-Flur OrthoDefense is an ADA-approved mouthwash formulated especially for people in orthodontic treatment. It’s alcohol-free, making it a good choice for kids, and it’s clinically proven to reduce the appearance of white spots after braces.The formula fights cavities and contains phosphate to build strong teeth.
ACT Anticavity Mouthwash: When kids first start wearing braces, the brackets and wires can temporarily irritate the tongue and the inside of the cheeks and lips. An alcohol-free, gentle mouthwash will ward off cavities and keep kids’ mouths clean without exacerbating discomfort. ACT Anticavity Mouthwash fits the bill. It earns its spot on our list of the best mouthwash for braces because it has a mild flavor, doesn’t burn and prevents tooth decay.
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!
As 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 or brush first? And, when should they floss? In the morning? Before bed? For older kids, where does mouthwash come in?
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 flossingbefore 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:
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.
Does Toothbrush Matter?
Now that you know the basics of brushing and flossing kids’ teeth, including the order in which to do it, does the toothbrush matter? Yes, the type of toothbrush does matter. For kids, we usually recommend a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles will irritate their gums, which is a surefire way to make them dislike brushing. However, whether you choose a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush that’s made for kids, is a personal preference.
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!
As 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 your child tooth pain. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.