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Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids that will Strengthen Their Smile

Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids that will Strengthen Their Smile

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Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids that will Strengthen Their Smile

Summer is flying by! Maybe it’s because we’ve been so busy hanging out with our patients, making little smiles sparkle and soaking up the sunshine that August really snuck up us on here at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry. That means, pretty soon, the kiddos will be heading back to school and parents’ schedules will be jam packed again. When you’re busy juggling a zillion things, dreaming up healthy snack ideas for kids that they’ll actually like can seem like an impossible task. Your favorite Englewood and Stapleton pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger, are here to take that off your to-do list. We’re sharing some great snacks for kids that include foods that are good for your teeth too. Just remember, it’s best for children to snack in moderation since frequent snacking can increase the risk of cavities. Stick with nutrient-dense choices that will carry them through to their next meal. Here are some of our favorites:

1.  Baked Sweet Potato Fries – You can come up with a ton of inspiration for after school snacks by putting a healthy twist on some of kids’ favorite foods. In this case, French fries. Instead of the greasy, fried variety, try baked sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes promote gum health because they have vitamin C, which may help kill bacteria in the mouth that can cause gingivitis and also ensures a healthy supply of collagen in gum tissue. Since sweet potatoes aren’t as acidic as citrus fruit, they give kids this necessary nutrient without weakening the tooth enamel.

Ingredients (4 Servings):

  • Four sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dash of paprika, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and then cut the halves into wedges about one-inch wide.
  3. Place the sweet potato wedges in a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika if you’re using it. Toss to coat.
  4. Put the wedges on a roasting pan or a lightly greased baking sheet
  5. Bake until the potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes, turning once.
  6. Take potatoes off the pan and, if needed, season with more salt and pepper.
  7. Let them cool just a bit and serve warm.

2.  Pita Bread Pizza Genius Kitchen is home to an endless array of healthy snack ideas for kids, including this one for pita bread pizza. It’s simple, filling and, most importantly, tasty. These baked, portable pizzas consist of pita bread topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spices and olive oil. We’d suggest sprinkling veggies, such as roasted broccoli or sautéed peppers, on top and using whole grain pita bread for more nutritional value. The mozzarella cheese has calcium, which helps replace the minerals teeth lose on a daily basis and strengthens the enamel, as well as the bones that support the teeth. If you opt for whole grain pita bread, it will benefit your child’s gums too. Whole grains are thought to lower the risk of gum disease.

3.  Crunchy Cinnamon Chickpeas – Roasted chickpeas are one of our favorite healthy snacks for kids on the go. The unassuming little legumes are actually nutritional powerhouses. Chickpeas have protein, folic acid, calcium, iron and magnesium. Folic acid stimulates cell growth from head to toe, which is essential for the whole body, the mouth included. Calcium makes the enamel and jaw bone strong. Magnesium is another mineral needed to give little teeth enamel of steel! Pack these crunchy chickpeas up for some healthy snack for kids at school or when they’re on the move.

Ingredients (4 Servings):

  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • 1 tablespoon of a neutral oil (avocado oil is a good choice)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or agave

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. After rinsing your chickpeas, roll them in a clean towel to dry them. If you have time, you can also let them air dry for 30 minutes on the towel. Some people swear by removing the skin for maximum crispiness but the choice is yours!
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the chickpeas with the oil and sea salt. DON’T add the other spices yet.
  4. Arrange the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so. When they’re done, they’ll be golden brown and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.
  5. Remove your chickpeas from the oven and toss them with the honey or agave and cinnamon.
  6. Let the chickpeas cool for about 10 minutes. They’ll get crispier as they cool.

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4.  Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats in Mason Jars – Overnight oats aren’t just for breakfast. Stock a few extra jars in your fridge for healthy after school snacks. This version contains whole grains in the form of oats, Greek yogurt, milk, chia seeds, banana and peanut butter. Your kiddo will get protein, calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and other essential vitamins and minerals. Yogurt and milk are foods that strengthen kids’ teeth. They reduce the acid levels in the mouth, lowering the risk of decay. The calcium and vitamin D also strengthen the bones that support the teeth and keep enamel strong. Whole grains, like oatmeal, are thought to lower the risk of gum disease.

If your child doesn’t eat dairy, you can leave out the yogurt in this recipe and replace the milk with an alternative like soy milk or almond milk. Add an extra splash of your non-dairy milk to make up for the moisture the yogurt would have provided.

Ingredients (1 Serving):

  • 1/4 cup of old-fashioned, rolled oats (can also use gluten-free oats)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or a nut-free alternative like SunButter
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • ½ of a banana, sliced

Directions:

  1. Put all of the ingredients, except for the banana in a mason jar.
  2. Mix really well or put the lid on and shake it.
  3. For less mushy banana slices, add the banana before serving. If you don’t mind softer bananas, gently fold the banana slices in before putting it in the fridge.
  4. Put the lid on and keep the jar in the refrigerator for at least eight hours or overnight.
  5. Mix and eat up!

5.  Cucumber Hummus Cups – We stumbled across this genius recipe from the blog My Kids Lick the Bowl. Stacey, the mom behind the blog, cuts cucumbers into thick slices and scoops out most of the middle with a melon ball scooper to make a little cup. She stuffs the cucumber cups with hummus and pops pretzel sticks in them for good measure. Voila. One of the best healthy snack ideas for kids we’ve seen and you can pull it together in minutes. See the full instructions here. Cucumbers are packed with water and water rinses away food debris and plaque in the mouth. They’re also crunchy and chewing on crunchy, fresh veggies stimulates saliva production. Saliva has minerals in it that neutralize cavity-causing plaque acids. Hummus is made with chickpeas, which, as we discussed, have folic acid, protein, magnesium and calcium, all vitamins that help keep kids’ teeth healthy.

6.  Fruit and Veggie Spring Rolls – For a fun take on spring rolls, try stuffing them with smile-friendly foods like raw apples, baby spinach, strawberries, shredded carrots and mango. Since they’re finger food, these fruity spring rolls are amazing healthy snacks for kids on the go. Apples and carrots are nature’s toothbrushes, scraping away plaque as little ones munch on them. Leafy greens like spinach have essential vitamins and minerals to strengthen the teeth and gums, while fruits, such as strawberries and mango, contain the vitamin C gums love. This recipe is adapted from one created by Gemma Stafford of Bigger Bolder Baking.

Ingredients (8 Servings):

  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 8 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Lemon juice
  • 8 rice paper wraps

Directions:

  1. Prepare fruits and veggies. Be sure to squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the chopped apples to prevent them from turning brown.
  2. Add warm water to a large pot or bowl. Soak the rice paper wraps one at a time in the water for about 20 seconds. The wrap should be pliable and a little sticky but still a bit firm. Put the rice paper down on a flat surface with the smooth side facing down. Place a little bit of the filling towards the center of the bottom third of the rice paper. Bring the bottom edge up and over the fruits and veggies. Fold in both sides. While using your fingers to keep the filling tight and towards the center of the roll, firmly roll the entire paper up like you’re rolling a burrito.
  3. Serve alone or with the dipping sauce of your choice.

These healthy snack ideas for kids are simple to make, delicious and contain foods that strengthen teeth. While a well-balanced diet is part of any plan for awesome oral health, brushing and flossing like a champ and going for regular visits to a pediatric dentist are also keys to keeping children’s smiles healthy and bright. Looking for a fun, high-tech pediatric dentist in Englewood or Stapleton? Schedule an appointment at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today!

mouthguards-protect-little-smiles

How Our Under Armour Mouthguards Keep Young Smiles Safe

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mouthguards-protect-little-smiles
Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro go to great lengths as pediatric dentists in Stapleton and Englewood, CO to keep their patients’ smiles healthy. Hey, they’ve even given away a go-kart and perfected their floss dance all in the name of oral health! While when dental treatment is necessary, we use the latest technology and techniques to make it quick and comfy, the absolute best thing you can do for a child’s smile is focus on prevention. Of course, brushing and flossing play important roles in warding off cavities and keeping little teeth looking and functioning at their best, but there is something else that’s super important and often overlooked: mouthguards! Dental injuries in sports lead to a lot of missing teeth. In fact, more than five million teeth are knocked out each year in the United States and the majority of these incidents occur during sports or physical activity. That’s why we’re such big proponents of mouthguards for kids and we’re an authorized provider of Under Armour Performance Mouthwear. Read on to learn more about our favorite piece of sports’ equipment. Read More

Denver Kids Charities

7 Englewood and Denver Charities to Get Your Kids Involved With This Summer

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Denver Kids Charities

One of our core values at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry is making our community and the world a better place. As Englewood and Stapleton pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro try their very best to bring smiles to the areas where they work and live (though Dr. Paddy has been known to take his efforts around the globe by leading outreach missions in Central America). They’re both active in helping the underserved in Denver and Dr. Paddy donates his time and teeth skills to Give Kids a Smile and KIND (Kids in Need of Dentistry) as well. You’re never too young to discover the importance of helping those in need, which is why we think teaching kids about giving back by involving them in some summer volunteering experiences is an amazing idea. Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up a few Englewood and Denver charities and volunteer opportunities for kids and teens.

1. Phamaly Theatre Company

Denver Metro Area – Phamaly Theatre Company is amazing. They produce professional level live plays and musicals featuring only performers with disabilities. To continue to do their work, they rely on hundreds of volunteers each season who do everything from working as ushers to helping backstage. This could be an excellent summer volunteer opportunity for kids in Denver and the surrounding metro area as they accept volunteers of all ages who want to promote inclusion and disability awareness. Fill out a volunteer application or check out the details of their volunteer program.

2. The Urban Farm at Stapleton

Stapleton, Denver – The Urban Farm at Stapleton (10200 Smith Road) is a Denver non-profit organization dedicated to educating people on horses, caring for farm animals and horticulture in a farm setting. It’s such a cool place to get a country vibe in the city. It’s also a source of some fun opportunities for volunteering in Stapleton for kids and teens (it’s not too far for our Englewood patients either!). Minors will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian but that just means it’s a great excuse for the whole family to get involved. Water the animals, clean up around the playhouse, muck out animal pens, weed flower beds or do some general farm chores. To complete a volunteer application, learn more about your options and check the schedule for volunteer orientations, visit the Urban Farm site.

3. Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Metro Denver – Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver is among the most well-known Denver charities and it’s an awesome place to volunteer as a family in Denver and the surrounding area. They have a whole page dedicated to youth and student volunteer opportunities. Older teens can participate in the actual construction of a house for a family in need, while kids under 14 can do all sorts of things like bring lunch to the volunteers, organize a tool or donation drive, make a welcome gift for a Habitat family or build planters to give to the family during the dedication ceremony (they can tour the finished home too!). Check out the details.

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4. The City of Englewood

Englewood – While it’s not technically on the list of charities in Englewood, Colorado, the City of Englewood offers plenty of volunteer opportunities for kids and teens, including assisting at community events and things like park cleanups. Fill out a volunteer application and email it to [email protected], fax it to (303) 762-2688 or mail it or drop it off at the Englewood Recreation Center, Attn: Debby Severa, 1115 W. Oxford Avenue, Englewood, CO 80110. The City also participates in the Neighborhood Rehab Project (also known as Be a Tool) where participants help neighbors in need with home improvement projects during a day of service, which is scheduled in early September this year. Find out more and sign-up at beatool.org.

5. Volunteers of America Colorado Branch Youth Volunteer Program

Denver – Volunteers of America is a national, non-profit organization with more than 30 human services programs around the state of Colorado, running the gamut from housing to healthcare, that help upward of 200,000 members of Colorado’s most vulnerable populations. For Denver charity work for kids and teens this summer, look no further than the Youth Volunteer Program geared towards ages 11 through 17. Kids can help at Head Start schools or work with the homeless, homebound seniors and more. Fill out a volunteer form to get started.

6. Freedom Service Dogs of America

Englewood – Freedom Service Dogs is an organization that transforms shelter dogs into trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities, including children, veterans and active duty military with autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and post traumatic stress disorder. They have opportunities for Englewood summer charity work for teens after they go through the Dog Care and Enrichment Training. Kids between 12- and 15-years-old can volunteer on-site (7193 S. Dillon Street) with an adult. The grown-up has to control the leash but the kiddo can play with the dog in the play yard. Teenagers ages 16 and up can volunteer on their own. While volunteers don’t get to train the dogs, there’s kennel work and cleaning to be done, as well as interacting with pooches. After gaining experience and taking dog walking classes, there are dog walking opportunities too. Find out more and sign-up for volunteer orientation here.

7. Mercy Housing

For more Stapleton volunteer opportunities for kids and families, consider Mercy Housing, an organization that offers safe, affordable housing to moderate-income families, people with disabilities and seniors. There are two Mercy Housing communities in Stapleton: Bluff Lake Apartments and Parkside Apartments. Property projects like landscaping, community gardening, beautification efforts and building playgrounds or helping at community events would work well for families and younger volunteers. To learn about current opportunities, contact Mercy Housing Colorado at [email protected] or (303) 830-3300.

kids mile high fathers day

What to do for Father’s Day in Englewood, Stapleton and the Surrounding Area

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kids mile high fathers day

Dads are awesome and as Englewood and Stapleton pediatric dentists, we get to meet a lot of them here at Kids Mile High. Well, Father’s Day 2018 falls on Sunday, June 17, so it’s almost time to celebrate the dads in your life. Not sure how to mark the special occasion? Don’t worry, we have plenty of ideas. Here’s the Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry guide to what to do for Father’s Day in Englewood, Stapleton and the Denver area.  

1. Father’s Day 5K, 10K or Half Marathon 

For active dads, there aren’t many better things to do for Father’s Day in Stapleton, Denver than taking part in the Feat on the Street race in Central Park. If the whole family registers for a team, you can even save a few bucks. The event takes place on Sunday, June 17 at 7am. It will begin with coffee, hot chocolate, a pre-race workout, a kids’ fun run and music. Then, you can run or walk the 5K, 10K or half marathon course, which will be complete with professionally chip-timed results. Stay for the post-race entertainment, an awards ceremony and a commemorative t-shirt and be sure to download your free race photos! Register here.

2. Watch the Denver Outlaws Take on the Florida Launch 

Make it a full Father’s Day weekend and watch an exciting, high-energy Major League Lacrosse game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Denver Outlaws will play the Florida Launch on Saturday, June 16 at 7:30pm. Surprise dad with tickets. Or, combine it with the next idea on our list and purchase Denver Outlaws BBQ passes to fill up on BBQ before cheering on the home team.  

3. The Denver BBQ Festival 

The inaugural BBQ Festival is one of the Denver Father’s Day events were most excited for! Award-winning BBQ legends will be serving up delicious masterpieces at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Enjoy food, drinks, live music and fun. There will be a preview party on Friday, June 15 from 5 to 9pm. Admission is free on Saturday, June 16 from 11am to 8pm and Sunday, June 17 from 11am to 6pm with BBQ galore available to purchase. You can also surprise dad with a BBQ Masterclass where he can learn the pit secrets from the pros. Check out the schedule.

4. Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast in bed is the classic gift for dad. Go with a breakfast in bed menu that includes all of his favorites. To really take your Stapleton or Englewood, CO Father’s Day up a notch, grab some coffee to go from a local spot like Nixon’s in Englewood or Intersections in Stapleton at the Northfield Shops.

Book a Consultation for Your Kiddos Today!

5. Denver Comic Con 2018 

Denver Comic Con will be held Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16 from 10am to 7pm and Sunday, June 17 from 10am to 6pm at the Colorado Convention Center. Presented by Pop Culture Classroom, a nonprofit on a mission to inspire a love of learning and literacy, the extravaganza will feature activities, panels, some of the biggest stars from sci-fi and fantasy movies, TV and animation, merchants, an area exclusively for kids and teens, Booktopia, cosplay and more. With so much going on, there’s something for everyone in the family.

6. Visit the Stapleton Farmer’s Market 

For a more low-key Stapleton Father’s Day activity, hit up the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, June 17 between 8:30am and 12:30pm at Founders Green. Browse the Colorado-grown produce, specialty meats, gourmet foods and baked goods. Then, use what you get at your shopping trip to cook dad a meal.

7. Juneteenth Music Festival 

There’s really tons of things to do for Father’s in Denver this year. Start your Father’s Day weekend off at the annual, free Juneteenth Music Festival to be held on Saturday, June 16 in the Five Points Neighborhood (27th and Welton Street). The celebration of community, culture and freedom will include live musical performances by blues, R&B, soul, hip-hop and jazz artists, a youth zone, hundreds of vendors, food and drinks and, of course, the Juneteenth Parade that departs from Manual High School at 11am. The festival will run until 9pm.   

8. The Denver Century Ride & Street Party 

For another Stapleton Father’s Day weekend activity for dads who like being active, the Denver Century Ride starts at the Shops at Northfield on Saturday, June 16. It takes cyclists on a 100-mile ride past Denver’s most iconic places. It’s recommended for seasoned riders, as it’s a challenging course. However, there’s also a 25-mile, 50-mile and 85-mile route. The first wave of 300 riders will depart at 6am, the second wave at 6:15am and the third wave at 6:30am. The ride will end with a street party back at the Shops of Northfield with vendors, food and beverages. If you want to join dad, kids 14 and under can sign up for a 25-mide ride. Register here.

9. Have a Picnic

If you’re looking for things to do for Father’s Day in Englewood, CO that are relaxing and close to home, have a picnic for dad in Belleview Park or Centennial Park. Spread out a blanket and eat lunch before taking a stroll on one of the nature trails or challenging dad to a pick-up basketball game. Make your own sandwiches or get something from Rudi’s Deli to bring along.

10. Take Dad Out for Lunch or Dinner

No Father’s Day in Englewood or Stapleton would be complete without a nice meal. Take the dad in your life out for lunch or dinner. Some of our favorite restaurants include Acres, The Copper Pot, Undici Ristorante and Aung’s Bangkok Café in Englewood and Cattivella Wood-Fired Italian, Hashtag (for brunch!), Concourse Restaurant Moderne and Los Chingones in Stapleton.

Happy Father’s Day!

Childrens-books-about-going-to-the-dentist

Our Favorite Children’s Books About Going to the Dentist

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Childrens-books-about-going-to-the-dentistIt’s not uncommon for children to be a little freaked out by the dentist. It’s mainly because they don’t know what to expect and often times, they pick up on adults’ hesitancies. It’s completely understandable. However, once they’ve hopped up into Dr. Paddy or Dr. Castro’s chair a few times and experience how awesome our Kids Mile High offices are, they’ll actually like visits. Getting over that initial anxiety before they’re comfortable with their favorite Englewood or Stapleton, CO pediatric dentist is the challenge though.

A while back, we wrote a post about helping children overcome a fear of the dentist and one of our ideas was reading books about the dentist. When kids see their favorite characters enjoying a cleaning and interacting with the doctor, it takes away some of the unknowns and helps put them at ease. Plus, you can’t go wrong encouraging reading. Here are some of our favorite children’s books about going to the dentist perfect for helping to prepare your child for an appointment:

Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer 

Mercer Mayer is such a talented author and illustrator and the Little Critter series is a favorite of Dr. Paddy’s. In this book, Little Critter goes to the dentist for a check-up, which includes x-rays, and even has to have a cavity filled. Of course, he handles the situation with bravery and humor and kids will see that dental visits aren’t something to be frightened of. Interested in checking it out? You can put a hold on this one at the Englewood Public Library.  

Curious George Visits the Dentist by Margret and H.A. Rey

Curious George is always getting into shenanigans and his visit to the dentist is no exception. This one is probably the funniest in our list of the best children’s books about going to the dentist. It all starts when George bites into an apple and his tooth begins to hurt and wiggle. The man in the yellow hat decides a trip to the dentist is in order but, since it’s his first time, Curious George is a bit nervous. Thankfully, he overcomes his fear, learns the ins and outs of caring for his smile and has fun in the process.

Doctor De Soto by William Steig

This isn’t just one of the best children’s books about the dentist, it’s one of the best children’s books period and it even received a Newbery Honor. Yeah, we might be a little biased because the main character is a dentist but it’s quickly becoming one of the classics. Written by William Steig, the author who wrote Shrek!, the same book the movie was based on, it puts a unique, whimsical spin on dentistry that will help kids feel more relaxed and positive about their own appointments. The best part is that it’s geared towards children of all ages and parents will enjoy it too.

In the book, Dr. De Soto is a dentist and his wife is his assistant. They also happen to be mice. They have super dental skills and treat animals who have toothaches painlessly and quickly. They make a habit of avoiding treating animals who might eat them but all that changes when a fox with a taste for mice visits with severe tooth pain and they have to find a way to give him the care he needs without becoming a snack. Check it out from the Sam Gary Branch Library in Stapleton.

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The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

This is another of the classic children’s books on the dentist and features the beloved Berenstain Bears family. Dr. Bearson fills Brother Bear’s small cavity and then Sister Bear has to have a loose and dangling baby tooth removed. The story is geared towards the preschool set and it’s upbeat, positive and informative. The book is available at several Denver Public Library branches if you want to give it a read.

My Dentist, My Friend by P.K. Hallinan

A lot of the children’s books for the dentist do mention cavities, fillings and a few talk about getting teeth pulled. They all have a positive take on it and discuss it in a way that doesn’t elicit fear. That being said, you know your child best. If you’re gearing up for their first visit and they’re more sensitive and have considerable anxiety about it, your best bet may be opting for children’s books about visiting the dentist that make no mention of procedures like My Dentist, My Friend by P.K. Hallinan. This book focuses only on the positive aspects and is a step-by-step guide to dental visits, which can be really reassuring.

The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Edward Miller

We absolutely adore this comprehensive, lively, colorful guide for kids on taking care of their teeth and gums. It’s full of helpful information and awesome imagery. It really makes oral hygiene fun. It also has details telling children what to expect when they visit the dentist. While several of the children’s books about going to the dentist are meant for preschoolers and toddlers, elementary-aged kids will really like this one. It’s excellent for children who can read on their own and it will help them feel more engaged in their oral health.

While this list could go on for a quite a while, these are our favorite children’s books about going to the dentist because they mix humor, beautiful illustrations, good stories and fun. Demystifying dental visits by reading all about them is a powerful way to help kids get over their jitters. Head to the Public Library or swing by your local Denver bookstore (we’re partial to Second Star to the Right Children’s Books, Tattered Cover Book Store and The Bookies Bookstore) to find all of the best titles.

When you’re ready to tackle seeing the tooth doctor in real life, book – see what we did there? – an appointment at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry in Stapleton or Englewood by giving us a call at (303) 779-5306 (Englewood) or (303) 399-5437 (Stapleton). We promise, we’ll make the experience exciting for your child and stress-free for you.  

 

Waterlase-Dentistry-for-Kids

What is WaterLase Laser Dentistry (and Why Kids Love it)?

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Waterlase-Dentistry-for-Kids

Laser dentistry is one of Dr. Paddy’s favorite innovations and not just because it sounds like something from a sci-fi movie (though that does give it some cool points). He also loves it because lasers help him perform all sorts of dental procedures with almost zero pain. In fact, we rarely have to give patients a shot of sleepy juice to numb them since, unlike with a drill, the technique doesn’t involve heat or vibration. At Kids Mile High, we offer pediatric WaterLase dentistry in Englewood, CO and Stapleton, CO. Today, we’ll be covering how WaterLase works and why our patients and their parents are such big fans.   

What is WaterLase Laser Dentistry?

We use both WaterLase MD and WaterLase iPlus lasers here at Kids Mile High. Though often referred to as laser dentistry, they’re actually types of water laser dentistry. So, what is water laser dentistry? Well, it relies on laser energy and water spray to help us perform different dental procedures on both the soft tissues, such as the gums, and the hard stuff like the teeth and bones.

The laser takes the place of other tools, including the drill and scalpel. Dr. Paddy uses the WaterLase hand piece to direct a concentrated beam of laser energy to the precise area of the tooth or gums that he’s treating. When the laser touches the surface, a reaction occurs with the water molecules and it can painlessly cut through the enamel or gum tissue. While the laser is doing its thing, a continuous spray of water cools the area, so no heat is felt, which is why it doesn’t hurt.

The pain associated with the drill is from the heat, vibrations and pressure. WaterLase has none of those things and when we use it for routine procedures like treating a cavity, the majority kids don’t need anesthetic. Bypassing the needles and the drill for any patient is a huge plus but it’s been particularly helpful for our littlest smiles. WaterLase lasers are safe and have been FDA-approved for treating kiddos and grown-ups.

Book a Consultation for WaterLase Dentistry Today!

What Treatments Can You Perform With WaterLase?

As a super duper water laser dentist, Dr. Paddy can use laser dentistry for a bunch of treatments. While you’ll want to schedule an appointment at KMH to see if your child is a candidate based on their needs, generally, these are some of the common WaterLase procedures we perform:

  • Removing tooth decay and cavity preparation
  • Frenectomy (releasing tongue- or lip-tie)
  • Removing growths or extra tissue (like when we eliminate excess gum tissue that’s covering an un-erupted tooth)
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Treatment of mouth ulcers or sores

Why WaterLase Laser Dentistry?

Needles and conventional dental tools tend to give young patients anxiety. Hey, even adults aren’t usually fans. WaterLase laser dentistry provides us with an amazing alternative to seriously improve patient experience by leaps and bounds. Some of the biggest perks include:

  • WaterLase is a lot more comfortable and pretty much painless.
  • Most patients don’t require shots for restorative procedures like getting a filling when using laser dentistry.
  • Minor surgery can also be done without shots or stitches.
  • Since we don’t have to use anesthesia and the laser is really accurate, we can treat multiple areas in one visit as opposed to having to space it out over numerous appointments. This saves you time but also by cutting down on the number of visits, the WaterLase dentistry cost is comparable to that of other forms of treatment.
  • We’re able to preserve more of the tooth’s natural structure and avoid injuries to the tongue, cheeks and lips because the laser is more precise than conventional tools, such as the drill.
  • The laser is much quieter than the drill, making it ideal for infants and patients who are afraid of the dentist.
  • The speed and comfort of laser dentistry ensures visits are stress-free for kids and parents.
  • Lasers can reduce bacteria, which is especially helpful when dealing with tooth decay or gum disease.
  • There’s less post-operative swelling, discomfort and bleeding and it encourages faster healing times.
  • The laser boosts the bond strength of restorations for fillings that last longer.
  • WaterLase can lessen the pain from ulcers or sores in the mouth and help facilitate healing.
  • It’s versatile. We put our WaterLase machines into action for a wide variety of procedures involving the teeth, gums and bone.

If you’re interested in WaterLase laser dentistry for you child, Dr. Paddy or Dr. Castro will examine your child and come up with an accurate diagnosis. If WaterLase is the best treatment option, they’ll walk you through everything you need to know to help you make a confident decision about your child’s smile.

To learn more about our WaterLase laser dentistry for kids, schedule an appointment at our Englewood or Stapleton, CO pediatric dental office.

Do Baby Teeth Really Matter? Yes

Do Baby Teeth Really Matter? Yes!

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Do Baby Teeth Really Matter? Yes

After a lot of drooling, plenty of teething rings and usually some sleepless nights, your baby is sporting their first tiny pearly whites. It’s a momentous occasion! By age three, they’ll probably have a complete set. While adorable, your little one’s grin will go through more dramatic changes a few years later when they start to lose those heard-earned teeth. Given their fleeting nature, why do baby teeth matter? Aren’t they just going to fall out anyway? Well, they will eventually be replaced by the big, bad permanent teeth but in the meantime, they need to stick around until they’re ready to be added to the Tooth Fairy’s collection. While the importance of primary teeth is often underestimated, they serve a number of purposes and play a crucial role in your child’s oral health and development.

The Baby Teeth Basics

Primary teeth go by a variety of names, including baby teeth, deciduous teeth, temporary teeth and milk teeth. Whatever term suits your fancy, they’re actually already in your baby’s mouth at birth just waiting under the gums for their moment to make an entrance. The first tooth usually erupts around six months of age with the last typically coming in by three-years-old. The baby teeth then fall out, or shed, beginning at six or seven all the way through age 12. However, most people don’t have all 32 permanent chompers for quite some time. In fact, it can take up until you’re 21-years-old for it to happen.

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The Functions of Primary Teeth

Now, on to the functions of baby teeth. Some of their roles include:

  • Saving Space and Encouraging Proper Development – Baby teeth act as placeholders and save room for the grown-up teeth to erupt correctly. They also facilitate proper jaw and muscle development and the development of facial features. If a baby tooth falls out early, the other teeth often shift to fill in the space, which can lead to misaligned permanent teeth and jaws and potentially the need for extensive orthodontic treatment or, in extreme cases, surgery and extractions. While a lot of kids may end up wearing braces or Invisalign Teen in their teenage years, the degree of misalignment and the complexity of their case will influence how complicated treatment is, as well as its duration and cost. Obviously, reducing the odds of serious orthodontic issues by keeping baby teeth healthy is preferable.
  • Allowing for Proper Chewing – Over time, kids learn to chew correctly, which encourages good nutrition and overall health. When a child has tooth decay, malformed teeth or pain, they’ll stick with the foods that are the easiest to eat, which limits their diet and increases the chances they’ll be underweight, malnourished or deficient in vitamins and minerals.
  • Aiding in Speech Development – Learning to talk is so crucial for your child’s cognitive and social development. The teeth play a part in our ability to speak clearly and produce certain sounds, particularly consonants. When the teeth are in the right place, we’re able to form sounds that rely on our tongue touching the top teeth, our teeth directing the flow of air or the tongue having enough room to do its thing. When kids lose their front teeth, they might temporarily have a lisp or make hissing sounds when talking but this goes away and they’ve already learned to speak correctly. If they’ve never had the chance to learn proper pronunciation, fixing the issue can be more difficult.
  • Boosting Self-Esteem – Having a healthy, beautiful smile gives children confidence and they’ll be less likely to be distracted by tooth discomfort or insecurities about their appearance, allowing them to focus on school, socialization and just being a kid.
  • Ensuring Long-Term Oral Health – Tooth decay can result in childhood gum disease, technically called periodontal disease. In early stages, gum disease can be treated and reversed. However, once it reaches the level of periodontitis, it can only be managed and not cured. Eventually, if not dealt with, gum disease causes the deterioration of the bone and tissues that hold the teeth in place, which can make them fall out.

Caring for Primary Teeth

Caring for baby teeth starts a few days after birth. Even though your infant isn’t eating solid food, the natural sugars in formula and breast milk can actually cause cavities. Simply wrap a wet washcloth or piece of gauze around your finger and use it to wipe down your child’s gums. If your water isn’t fluoridated or your little one won’t be drinking tap water, you should ask your pediatrician about fluoride supplements, which can usually be taken after six-months-old.

When your tot gets their first tooth, use a small, soft-bristled, infant-sized toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth twice a day. As for flossing, once any two teeth are touching, help them floss once daily. For those ages two to five, brush their teeth in the morning and before bed for two minutes each time with a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste. You’ll need to help with brushing until they can do it effectively on their own. Once they have the skills to brush and floss, just be sure to monitor their oral hygiene routine until age seven or eight. Sealants and fluoride treatments can also be extremely beneficial for preventing cavities and a great way to bolster your efforts.

Aside from a stellar brushing and flossing routine, the most important thing you can do for your kiddo’s smile is see a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. The American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend children have their first dental visit six months after the first tooth erupts or no later than their first birthday. It’s always a good idea to find a pediatric dentist. They’ve had additional specialty training in the unique oral health needs of children and have expertise in behavioral techniques to make the process a lot easier on both kids and parents. Beyond keeping cavities and gum disease at bay, pediatric dentists can help you eliminate harmful oral habits like thumb sucking and point you in the right direction for a mouthguard to protect your child’s teeth during sports and activities.

When it comes to what foods can impact the health of baby teeth, sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks and fruit juice, as well as cookies, candy and other sweet treats are big tooth decay offenders. Limit things with added sugar and simple carbohydrates and, instead, opt for fresh vegetables and fruits, calcium-rich foods, whole milk for babies or low-fat milk for toddlers and school-aged kids, whole grains and lean protein. Water is the ideal beverage and never put your child to bed with a bottle even if it’s just milk. For even more pointers, check out our nutrition guide.

Now that you’re well-versed in baby teeth importance and how to care for them, set your child up for smile success by finding the right dental home. Do you live in the Denver area? Schedule an appointment at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry and leave those primary teeth in the hands of a board-certified pediatric dentist in Englewood or Stapleton. Our offices are super kid-friendly, fun and lively. In addition to making going to the dentist a positive experience, we’ll ensure their baby teeth are healthy and doing their job, so their permanent smile is a dazzling one.

Start Your Kid’s School Year Off With a Smile and Healthy Teeth

Start Your Kid’s School Year Off With a Smile and Healthy Teeth

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Start Your Kid’s School Year Off With a Smile and Healthy Teeth

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Get to Know Your Denver Kids Dentist Better – 20 Questions for Dr. Paddy

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Why Dental Hygiene is Extremely Important for Children With Special NeedsWhen Dr. Paddy was earning his degree to become a pediatric dentist, he also underwent advanced training to learn the ins and outs of dentistry for special needs patients. The additional education is necessary because there are challenges and considerations for children with certain developmental, emotional, physical, cognitive or medical conditions. While the truth is, all kids are unique, which is why we offer personalized care that takes into account their personalities and preferences, some young patients have dental anxiety, sensory likes and dislikes, medical issues and other factors that make visiting the dentist and even brushing and flossing difficult. We know that every case is different, however, based on our experience at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, there are some steps parents can take to help boost the dental health of kids with special needs.

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