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Dr. Paddy

Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist: Which One is the Best Dentist for Kids?

By Kids Dentistry

Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist

We all want the best for our kids. The best education. The healthiest food. Activities that excite and help them thrive. And, of course, the best health care for their growing minds and bodies. That last one? It definitely includes choosing the best dentist. 

You might know this already, but in dentistry, there are options for your kids. You can choose between a pediatric dentist or a family dentist. “But what’s the difference between a pediatric dentist vs. a family dentist?” you ask. “Can’t they both treat my kids?” Simply put, yes. But a pediatric dentist does have extra child development training that can make oral health that much easier for little ones.

To help you decide the best dentist for your kids, let’s dive into what family dentists and pediatric dentists are all about: their similarities, differences, and services they offer. We’ll talk about:

  • Training and credentials for a family dentist and a pediatric dentist
  • What a family dentist offers
  • What a pediatric dentist offers for kids
  • What we offer at Kids Mile High
  • How To Decide Between a Pediatric Dentist vs a Family Dentist

Training and Credentials for A Family Dentist and Pediatric Dentist

Both a family dentist and pediatric dentist go through the same type of doctoral training to become a dentist with a DDS or DMD designation. Different credentials? Nope, these designations are the same; they just have different histories behind the names. Fun fact: about two-thirds of universities grant a DDS degree so you’ll likely see that designation more often.

Dental school is most often four years of post-grad schooling after an undergraduate degree. What does it take to get into dental school? Before dental school in the US, a person must first have a bachelor’s degree, though you don’t have to be a specific major to be eligible for dental school. But most dental schools require science courses for admission, as well as passing the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), recommendation letters, a dental school personal statement and relevant extracurricular activities. 

So how about pediatric dentistry? How long does it take to become a pediatric dentist? Pediatric dentist training takes an extra 2-3 years in child psychology and development to better prepare for interacting and treating kids. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty — one of 12 recognized by the American Dental Association like orthodontics or dental anesthesiology.

You’ll be happy to know that all our Kids Mile High dentists completed specialty training to become qualified pediatric dentists. So whether your kids have Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith as their dentist, you can be confident that your kids are in expert hands.

What a Family Dentist Offers

Now that you’re all clear on the schooling that a family dentist and a specialist like a pediatric dentist go through, you might wonder what they each offer their patients.

A family dentist serves a broad range of patients, from babies showing their first teeth to seniors needing restorative treatment. And they typically have a network of specialists nearby that they can refer patients to for specialized treatment such as orthodontics or oral surgery. 

Some families opt for a family dentist because of convenience. However, having a pediatric dentist just for your kids can mean your littles get attention and treatment that’s specifically kid-focused. Plus, you might end up seeing a pediatric dentist anyway — family dentists sometimes refer young patients to a pediatric specialist when dental decay is diagnosed and treatment is needed.

What A Pediatric Dentist Offers for Kids

As mentioned, a pediatric dentist has 2-3 years of additional training in child psychology and development to better interact and treat little ones. Pediatric dentist training is invaluable in helping kids feel safe, relaxed, and understood at the dentist. Your Denver-area kids’ dentist can safely say that kids dentistry is not only about helping kids have the best oral care possible, but also about creating an environment that is welcoming and fun. 

We all know — maybe even from our own childhood experiences — that going to the dentist might not be a favorite pastime for kids. A pediatric dentist knows where your kids are coming from and why, and can respond to their worries and anxieties about the dentist with sensitivity and encouragement. And if your kids have special needs, we at Kids Mile High are better equipped to care for your child with the right tools and strategies… all wrapped up in compassion and patience.

What We Offer at Kids Mile High

The team at Kids Mile High takes our pediatric dentistry know-how and ramps it up a notch. Your kiddos are superheroes, so we treat them as the strong and brave people they are, providing a dental care experience that matches their amazing-ness. 

Yes, we have pediatric dentistry training to start with, but we know that dentistry for kids isn’t just about a certificate on the wall. On top of our kid-specific credentials, we provide a fun dental care experience that makes your kids feel relaxed and happy they came. Consider the advantages we offer as your Denver-area pediatric dentist:

  • We explain treatment in kid-friendly terms so they understand what’s happening and feel like an active part of their visit
  • We have a “tell-show-do” approach: explaining every step, showing the equipment, and introducing what we’ll do before treatment begins
  • Our Englewood, Thornton and Central Park Offices are fun, colorful and kid-friendly, providing a distraction when needed
  • We use smaller, kid-friendly dental equipment
  • We use the latest technology to help us treat our young patients as efficiently and comfortably as possible
  • We use safe, BPA-free dental sealants pro-actively on your child’s teeth to prevent cavities before they start
  • We’re all about positive reinforcement — there’s no such thing as too much praise or encouragement for your kids at Kids Mile High!

Dentistry for Kids from A-Z at Kids Mile High:

Pediatric dentists treat children from infants to older teens. We’re here for your kids’ oral health from the time of their first gummy smile to when they head off for college. Dentistry for babies with no teeth? You might wonder. Yep, dental health starts with gum health and establishing good oral habits that will continue on when teeth appear. 

Need advice on the best foods for your child’s oral health? Your Denver-area pediatric dentist has the info. Wondering if your child’s prolonged pacifier or thumbsucking habits negatively affect their oral development? We’ll take a thorough look and work with you and your kiddo to develop a plan for stopping bad habits and starting positive ones. 

If your child needs braces, our dentists work closely with our in-house orthodontist, Dr. Brandon. That’s multiple specialties conveniently under one roof!

Technology With Your Kids in Mind

We know that quick, comfortable, safe, and fun are key words when it comes to kids’ dentistry. So, in addition to our kid-friendly approach, we use the following technology to make your kiddo’s time in the dentist chair as enjoyable as possible: 

Isolite® – This piece of equipment replaces the dental dams used for adult patients to isolate treatment areas. Isolite is soft and more comfortable for kids’ smaller mouths. Your kid also doesn’t have to worry about keeping their tongue away or suffer jaw pain from keeping their mouth open. Plus their airway is kept comfortably open.

Myobrace® – The Myobrace system is a series of appliances that gradually address issues like mouth breathing, thumbsucking, and tongue thrust — habits that can affect jaw alignment as your child grows. Myobrace also helps gently align teeth instead of braces. Kids will like that you don’t have to wear them at school; You only wear Myobrace for a couple of hours a day and overnight — so you can wear them when you’re at home and when you’re snoozing!

Waterlase™ – Super cool technology right here. For certain procedures on the teeth, gums, or bones, we use Waterlase instead of the traditional drill for a painless experience. WaterLase uses a combo of water, air and a laser to address everything from cavities to frenectomies.

How To Decide Between a Pediatric Dentist vs a Family Dentist

Knowing the differences and similarities between pediatric dentistry and family dentistry is helpful when choosing a kids’ dentist. But if you’re still not sure which way to go, we suggest making an appointment with us to find out what the pediatric dentistry experience at Kids Mile High is like. After all, you want a kids dentist that’s fun, where your kids feel at home and comfortable interacting with the dentist and staff.

A First Visit At Kids Mile High

A first visit with Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith is all about starting your child’s dental health journey on the right foot. We want your kids to associate positivity and fun with their visits. You can choose whether to have your child on your lap or sit independently in the dentist chair while you observe — whatever makes them feel most comfortable. We get to know them and explain in kid-friendly language what going to the dentist is all about. 

Then we do a gentle exam, looking for cavities, gum infections, and any abnormalities in their mouth or throat. We check for jaw alignment and bite, and see if there’s space for their adult teeth. We’ll talk about habits like thumb-sucking and tongue thrust that can contribute to crooked teeth or a bad bite, and suggest ways to overcome those habits. We’ll also go through what you need for a good daily oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing.

For kids three and up, we’ll do a complete cleaning and apply fluoride to strengthen your kiddo’s teeth. And of course, a visit to Kids Mile High isn’t complete without prizes… and maybe a visit to the giant fish tank or mini putting green!

At Kids Mile High, we pride ourselves on pediatric dentistry that’s a little less dental and a whole lot of fun. Coupled with the latest in technology and exceptional care, you can trust that your kids will receive care that’s just right for them every time.

Contact us today to make a first appointment at our Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO office . We’re here to help your little superhero ace their oral health mission!

Can Kids Have Sleep Apnea?

By Kids Dentistry

We all need sleep. And for kids, sleep is extra essential. It’s prime time for developing healthy brains and bodies, especially during those growing years. But sometimes, kids don’t get the rest they need: the occasional sleepover or too much sugar before bed can cut into sleep time once in a while. But if a child is not getting enough sleep night after night, medical issues might be to blame. One such problem is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): when a child stops breathing for a few seconds, then starts breathing again during sleep and it’s a recurring problem.

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At What Age Do Kids Get Braces?

At What Age Do Kids Get Braces?

By Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

If your school-aged child has crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw, you might be wondering if braces are in their future. Well, Kids Mile High to the rescue! We at Kids Mile High are all about top-notch care wrapped in education and fun, so we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about braces for your kids. Questions like, “When do kids get braces?” Or, “What age can kids get braces?” 

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What is Tongue Thrust

What is Tongue Thrust and Why is it a Concern?

By Kids Dentistry

As most parents know, a child’s early life — from birth to early childhood — is filled with milestones that track their developmental progress. The first time your little one holds up their own head, the first rollover… crawling and walking. And don’t forget the transition to eating solid food. When it comes to that last milestone, our little ones practice how to break down and swallow food safely… and it’s when the tongue thrust reflex comes in handy. 

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Diabetes and Oral Health

All About Diabetes and Oral Health

By Kids Dentistry
diabetes and oral health

These days, it’s safe to say that most of us have heard of diabetes. And we know that it has a definite effect on day-to-day, overall health. But did you know that there’s also a specific connection between diabetes and teeth? It’s true, diabetes and oral health are closely linked. But before we dive into that, let’s first cover some diabetes basics.

WHAT IS DIABETES?

With diabetes, the body has trouble regulating blood sugar, also called “glucose.” You either can’t produce insulin or you can’t properly use the insulin you make. (Quick reminder, insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that regulates your blood sugar.)

TYPES OF DIABETES

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, 2, and gestational diabetes. The first two are long-term, while gestational diabetes happens only during pregnancy. 

Type 1 Diabetes – Type 1 is an auto-immune disease and is generally developed and diagnosed in the childhood or teen years. Type 1 diabetes means the body isn’t able to produce its own insulin because the body is attacking the pancreas. Since we’re pediatric dentists, Type 1 diabetes is what we most often see at Kids Mile High.

Type 2 Diabetes – This kind is typically diagnosed in adulthood. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, with Type 2 the body is able to produce its own insulin, but is unable to regulate it properly or it doesn’t make enough of it. The majority of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes – Between 3%-30% of pregnant women develop this. Risk factors include family history, obesity, or having it during a previous pregnancy. Gestational diabetes may increase the likelihood of both mom and child getting diabetes later in life.

HOW DOES DIABETES AFFECT YOUR ORAL HEALTH?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, what does the connection between diabetes and teeth look like? You could say that diabetes and oral health have a reciprocal relationship — too much glucose in the bloodstream can cause teeth issues, and, conversely, severe gum or teeth issues can affect your diabetes.

TYPE 1 DIABETES AND TEETH

At Kids Mile High, we see firsthand how Type 1 diabetes affects kids and their teeth. Diligent oral health is hard enough at the best of times for kids, but put together Type 1 diabetes and teeth? Your kids become even more susceptible to issues like cavities and gum disease.

For everyone, sugar-loving oral bacteria feeds off the sugars from food. Acid is created from this feeding frenzy which can then damage teeth. So it’s saliva’s job to wash away the sugars, neutralize the acid, and help bring down the mouth’s pH level. But if your kiddo has diabetes, their saliva might have too much glucose, which can promote more bacteria instead of fighting against it. 

High blood sugar is also not kind to the immune system. It’s harder for your child to fight back against pathogens — like oral bacteria.

All in all, this leaves diabetic kids more vulnerable to oral issues like: 

  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis)
  • Gum disease (periodontitis)

Diabetes and tooth decay –  Because kids with diabetes are more likely to have higher sugar levels in their mouth, they have to work extra hard to brush and floss effectively against tooth decay. Plaque that’s stuck to teeth can demineralize enamel and dentin, leading to kids’ tooth decay and cavities. 

Diabetes and gum inflammation – With Type 1 diabetes and teeth, a tell-tale sign of poor oral health is inflamed gums. Does your kiddo have red, swollen, or bleeding gums? If so, we suggest making an appointment right away at Kids Mile High. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith can examine your kid’s teeth to see how severe their gum inflammation is and suggest a plan to prevent it from turning into gum disease. 

Diabetes and gum disease – Gum disease is not only an infection in the gums, but can also affect the teeth and underlying bone. For kids, gum disease is an especially serious issue since their teeth, gums, and bones are still developing. Having diabetes and gum disease can mean a longer healing time too but, rest assured, gum disease treatment is possible.

Gum disease has also been shown to affect overall health, including making diabetes worse. A study shared by the American Dental Association explained that some of the germs in infected gums can leak into the bloodstream through activities like chewing or brushing your teeth. This kick starts a reaction in the body’s defense system resulting in changes like raising blood sugar.

TEETH-FRIENDLY TIPS WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS DIABETES 

Your Denver-area pediatric dentists are confident that our young patients can conquer anything. So if our little superheroes happen to have Type 1 diabetes, we know they can still have healthy teeth

Here are a few suggestions from your Denver pediatric dentists for diabetes and teeth:

Tip #1: Make sure your child has regular dental exams

Schedule at least two check ups for your kids every year and be sure to update us on how your child’s diabetes is doing. The more info, the better! And even if you or your child don’t see any signs of a dental problem, our team can spot any early symptoms and suggest prevention or treatment.

Tip #2: Create a solid oral hygiene plan

Even though diabetes and oral health can be a challenging combination, a great oral hygiene routine goes a long way. Make sure your child flosses once a day and brushes well at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste to make oral care more fun and personal.

If they’re old enough, a kids-safe mouthwash helps. And if flossing is daunting for your kids, try easy-to-use floss picks.

Tip #3: Be careful with sugar

We don’t have to say this one twice! Understandably, it’s hard for kids to stay away from sugar 100% of the time… they’re kids! But working with your child to plan out their sugar do’s and don’ts helps keep them on-track and you in-the-know.

COME FOR FUN DENTAL CARE AT KIDS MILE HIGH!

If you’re concerned about your child’s Type 1 diabetes and their teeth, we’re here to give your child the top-notch dental care they need. And they’ll have fun too! 

Schedule an appointment today at our Englewood, Thornton, or Central Park office.

common dental problems

Common Dental Problems & Solutions in Kids

By Kids Dentistry
common dental problems

Common Dental Problems In Kids

Kids put a lot of energy into trying to get away with not brushing their teeth and often have a complete and utter lack of fear when it comes to things like running on hardwood floors with socks or playing catch with unwieldy items. So it’s no surprise that cavities can rear their ugly heads in children, tooth decay becomes an issue in kids, and baby teeth can get knocked loose before their time. 

While many dental issues might not seem like a big deal when it comes to kids because they’re going to lose those baby teeth anyway, these first teeth serve important functions — including saving space for the permanent teeth and helping with speaking and chewing. Staying on top of your little one’s oral care is important. We see some common dental problems in kids time and time again at our Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentistry offices but, thankfully, each issue has a fairly simple solution.

CAUSES OF YELLOW TEETH ON KIDS

Do your kids’ permanent teeth look yellow, right from the get-go? While it might be alarming to see “yellow” permanent teeth on kids erupt beside a whiter baby tooth, no need to worry. It’s normal! Enamel on baby teeth is thinner than on permanent teeth so baby teeth look a lot whiter next to adult teeth and the difference will look less noticeable once more adult teeth start coming in. There’s also more dentin on adult teeth which makes teeth look more yellow under the translucent enamel.

FOODS AND DRINKS THAT STAIN TEETH

On the other hand, yellow teeth on kids could be a sign of dental problems if you notice the color getting worse over time. Inadequate brushing and flossing leads to discolored teeth, as does eating a lot of staining foods — foods with lots of dyes, or dark colored fruits, veggies, sauces, and drinks. 

TOOTH INJURY

Yellow teeth on kids can also happen from tooth injuries. Blood vessels may break when there’s trauma to teeth, making them appear yellow, brown, gray, or black. And after tooth trauma, burst capillaries can cause blood to collect in the canals within the teeth, making the teeth look discolored. Injury may even affect the health and appearance of your child’s tooth enamel. 

GENETICS

It’s not always external factors that cause yellow teeth in kids. Sometimes you just can’t help it since genetics can play a role in the color of teeth. Thin tooth enamel can be genetic, which we mentioned previously can make teeth appear yellow. And thin tooth enamel can also put your child at more risk of tooth decay.

Supplements

In general, giving our kids supplements is for the good of their health, but too much of certain supplements can cause yellow teeth. For very young kids, fluorosis can happen, which is when baby teeth are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride in the water, toothpaste or fluoride-fortified foods. Fluorosis can lead to white or brown spots on teeth, which makes enamel look yellow.

Medical Conditions

Some medical issues can contribute to yellow teeth in kids. Hepatitis, jaundice, and other medical conditions can discolor teeth. Using certain medications during pregnancy or early childhood such as tetracycline can cause a bright yellow appearance in young children’s teeth and a brown tinge to teeth in older kids.

If your kids’ yellow permanent teeth are a concern to you or your child, we suggest coming in to see as at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry. Tooth decay and cavities or gum disease might be lurking just around the corner. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith are more than happy to take a look and let you know if the yellow teeth on your kids are fine or if there are dental problems to address.

TOOTH DECAY IN KIDS

At Kids Mile High, the problem we see the most is definitely tooth decay in children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay and cavities in children is one of the most common chronic conditions children in the United States experience. About 20% of kids aged five to 11 and 13% of teens aged 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. If not dealt with, cavities can cause infection, discomfort or tooth pain and put a damper on speaking, chewing, and even learning. 

CAUSES OF TOOTH DECAY IN KIDS

Tooth decay in kids, just like in adults, is caused by bacteria. Foods that have sugars and starches can leave a sugary film on teeth which activates the bad bacteria in your mouth. While this bacteria is happily eating up the sugars, acid is produced. The bacteria, acid, and your kids’ saliva all together forms plaque that sticks to teeth, and, if not brushed away, can lead to cavities. And the acids themselves can eat away at protective tooth enamel, making your kids’ teeth more susceptible to tooth decay.

There can be a higher risk of tooth decay in kids if they have:

  • High levels of the bad bacteria that causes cavities
  • A diet high in sugars and starches
  • A water supply that has limited or no fluoride in it
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Less saliva flow than normal

HOW WE TREAT TOOTH DECAY IN CHILDREN

So what do the dentists at Kids Mile High do about children’s tooth decay? Well, we’re big on preventative dentistry and the first thing we do is encourage regular check-ups and educate parents and kids on proper brushing and on ways to keep little mouths healthy. In addition to cleaning children’s teeth and scraping off that yucky plaque and tartar, we give fluoride treatments and offer sealants, which are extremely effective in strengthening the enamel to ward off tooth decay. If a cavity is found, no worries, it’s not the end of the world! We fill cavities with Herculite composite resin, which is super strong and matches the color of the other teeth so no one will even know your kid has a filling. In cases of severe tooth decay, a kids dental treatment like NuSmile Pediatric Crowns might be suggested, which are tooth-like white crowns especially for kids. These can be placed to restore the tooth and keep it in place until it’s ready to fall out.

DAMAGED OR LOOSE TEETH

The Tooth Fairy is a frequent visitor of any house with kids and the majority of the time, a loose tooth is caused by an erupting grown-up tooth. When a cute, little baby tooth starts to wiggle, it’s getting ready to be replaced with its permanent counterpart and your dentist rarely has to help because the tooth falls out on its own. However, if it doesn’t seem to be vacating your child’s mouth in a timely manner, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith can step in and speed up the process.

KIDS DENTAL TREATMENTS

When there’s injury or trauma to a baby tooth, we do everything we can to save it if it’s too early to extract. Our main list of options includes kids crowns for a missing tooth, a root canal on a baby tooth, and dental space maintainers.  

CAN KIDS GET A CROWN FOR A MISSING TOOTH?

You might be familiar with crowns for adults so it makes sense to wonder, “Can kids get a crown for a missing tooth?” Yes, one solution to rescue injured or damaged teeth includes a kids crown for a missing tooth like NuSmile Pediatric Crowns.

ROOT CANAL ON A BABY TOOTH

A root canal on a baby tooth might sound excessive but a dentist might recommend it to save a damaged or decaying tooth. Cavities in a baby tooth that are close to a nerve can be painful because the nerve is more exposed, and even though a filling or crown is often the solution for a cavity, these might cause more pain or lead to an abscess. In addition, fillings or crowns won’t heal the nerve. However, a dental treatment called a pulpotomy — or baby root canal is a treatment that can save the tooth and resolve any pain.

DENTAL SPACE MAINTAINERS

Now if a tooth is actually removed, the space that’s left typically needs to be kept open with a kids dental treatment like a dental space maintainer. Without one, the teeth around the empty space might start shifting to fill the space and either crowd or prevent the adult tooth from coming in later. There are four types of dental space maintainers and they’re either fixed or removable. The kind we suggest depends on where the space is in your child’s mouth and how many teeth are missing.

If your child or teen experiences a damaged or loose permanent tooth, be sure to call the friendly team at Kids Mile High right away so they can provide a kids dental treatment for the issue.

GUM DISEASE IN KIDS

Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar build up at the base of the teeth near the gums causing them to get swollen and red. If not treated, gum disease in children (and adults, too!) can lead to tooth loss and damage to the bones. Prevention is key here, which is why regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene, and eating foods for healthy teeth are important (see our guide to brushing your child’s teeth for the basics). 

At Kids Mile High, we can treat mild gum disease, known as gingivitis, with professional cleanings, and by helping your child establish a good brushing and flossing routine. If the condition gets worse, it might require a kids’ dental treatment like deep cleaning, special rinses, antibiotics, or other medications.

SENSITIVE TEETH

Sensitive teeth might seem like an issue only the older crowd deals with but like we mentioned earlier, kids actually have thinner enamel than adults with their baby teeth. When enamel gets worn down, the gums can recede or cracks can form on the tooth exposing nerve endings. This leads to pain when eating or drinking anything hot or cold. To combat this the dentists at Kids Mile High can apply sealants to strengthen the enamel and if a cavity is present, a filling may be in order. When brushing at home, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush for your kids.

KIDS COMMON DENTAL DENTAL PROBLEMS & TREATMENTS

You may have noticed the main theme running through all of these kids’ common dental problems is the importance of prevention. Remember that yellow teeth on kids isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm, but regular check-ups, diligent brushing and flossing (with optional extras like kid-safe mouthwash) will go a long way in helping reduce dental problems in kids such as tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, your kid will nab a spot in the Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry’s super prestigious Cavity-Free Club!

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith at the always-entertaining and fun Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO pediatric dentist locations and ensure your child’s smile is healthy. Whether you’re wondering, “Can kids get a crown for a missing tooth?” or you’re concerned about damaged or yellow teeth, we’re here to help your child have the best teeth possible!

NEED A KIDS DENTIST IN DENVER? BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION TODAY!

sugar bugs on teeth

Keep The Sugar Bugs On Teeth Away This Halloween!

By Kids Dentistry

From toddlers to teenagers — and, let’s be honest, adults, too — a candy haul is Halloween’s main draw. Yet it goes without saying that a bucketful of chocolate, gummies, lollipops, and hard candy isn’t the most teeth-healthy scenario. All that candy brings out the sugar bugs on teeth that can cause cavities and affect an otherwise healthy grin.

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Outdoor Activities for Kids

8 Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids in Denver

By Kids Dentistry

8 Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids in Denver

So summer days have wound down and it’s back to school! But that doesn’t mean the outdoor fun’s over! At Kids Mile High, we’re big on enjoying the outdoors year-round, and luckily, there are many outdoor fall activities in the Denver area for kids to choose from!

To help you decide which things to do with your kids in Denver, we’ve put together a round up of our favorite 8 family-friendly outdoor activities you can enjoy right now.

  1. Denver Zoo

Did you know that the Denver Zoo has welcomed kids (and adults) for 125 years? At the Denver Zoo, generations of kids have gotten “up close and personal” with a Siberian tiger, learned what a clownfish was long before Finding Nemo, and hand-fed hungry stingrays their afternoon snack.

Today, the Denver Zoo has over 10 different Exhibits that span 80 acres, plus daily demonstrations, small-group animal meet-and-greets, and special events. From elephants to orangutans, sloths to snakes, the Zoo is home to 3,000 creatures from all over the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s an experience that sparks a love of animals in many who visit.

To help visitors find their way around, The Denver Zoo offers an app with a real-time map and info about the animals you’ll see. You can also use the app to buy your  timed-entry tickets in advance or schedule your visit if you have a membership.

2. Hudson Gardens & Event Center

This 30-acre destination outside of Littleton boasts exhibits, trails, open spaces, and event venues. Pack a lunch for an afternoon of free-form exploration along nature trails, race against each other —  adults vs. kids? — in a game of Pokémon Go, or practice your navigation skills with some geocaching. 

Or get in the Halloween mood with a visit to Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns. For all of October, Hudson Gardens is hosting this family-friendly event featuring 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins and extraordinary pumpkin displays. Kids will also love the magical carnival, a glowing seascape, dinosaurs, and dragons. No doubt you’ll find inspiration for your own jack o’lanterns with this fall activity.

  1. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

It’s safe to say that Red Rocks is a world-renowned destination. After all, how many amphitheatres boast amazing natural acoustics with the help of such spectacular rock formations? 

Concert venue aside, we think exploring Red Rocks’ other-worldly landscape is one of the best outdoor activities for kids and families in Denver. The park has five main trails for hiking and biking: we suggest reading up on them beforehand to figure out which would work best for your family. Some are short, some are longer, and some have rougher terrain or steep drop offs that require extra caution with kids. But you can bet that all the trails have beautiful landscapes and views that will keep everyone “ooo-ing” and “aahh-ing.” You can also bring the family dog! (On leash, of course.)

  1. Dinosaur Ridge

The must-do activity for dinosaur lovers young and old? Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison. If your kids haven’t visited yet on a school field trip, take a family trip out to see real dino footprints, fossils, and bones… oh my! Cool fact? Dinosaur Ridge was the first place in the world where a stegosaurus was discovered! 

The main visitor’s center is open year round while the Discovery Center is closed from November 1st to May 1st. Local’s tip: Visit Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge together since they’re in the same area!

5. Washington Park

Many Denver, Thornton, and Englewood residents consider Washington Park their go-to spot for a relaxing escape right in the city. With 155 acres of paths, trails, greenspace and gardens, plus a couple of lakes, Washington Park has many options for a slow weekend outing. Pack a picnic, a frisbee, or go for a walk or bike ride!

For a unique experience, rent a colorful surrey, deuce coupe, or chopper bike from Wheel Fun Rentals for travelling along the park’s 2.75 mile paved loop. They also have rentals on paddle boats, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and paddle boats for on-the-water excursions.

6. Confluence Park

Yes, another park on our Kids Mile High list of outdoor activities in Denver, but this one’s different. Bring the kids to Confluence Park to watch kayakers brave rapids — yes rapids in downtown Denver! There’s also some great Instagram-worthy spots for chronicling your outing.

Confluence Park is close to other top activities for kids in Denver like the Downtown Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. So, if your outdoor adventure day starts to get rained out, you have somewhere fun nearby for plan B.

  1. Carousel of Happiness

This unique kid activity is a bit farther out than the others we’ve mentioned but well worth a visit. About an hour’s drive northwest from Denver, you’ll arrive at the tiny town of Nederlander, home of the Carousel of Happiness

Little kiddos will love the magic of the carousel’s hand-carved animals, finding just the right one to sit on to enjoy their ride. Adults will appreciate the story and craftsmanship of the carousel’s animals, and the history behind the 1910 Looff carousel frame and 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. You and your kids might even like to “adopt an animal” to support the Carousel.

  1. Denver Urban Scavenger Hunt 

With older kids, try this Denver outdoor activity that’ll get you moving, thinking, and working together. Plus, you might just find out more about the city you live in! Using your phones, teams make their way to different points of interest in the city, both well-known landmarks and lesser known ones. It’s like the Amazing Race but in only 2-3 hours and in one city. Sign up your family team at Urban Adventure West.

That wraps up our top 8 kid-friendly outdoor activities in Denver to try in the Fall! Your Kids Mile High dentists Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith would love to hear all about your children’s Denver adventures when we see them next. Book their upcoming appointment with the Kids Mile High team today!