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Do Baby Teeth Really Matter? Yes!

By Kids Dentistry No Comments

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 Central Park. 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

By Kids Dentistry No Comments

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

It’s hard to believe Kids Mile High patients are back in school kicking off another year of classes, activities, sports, and, of course, homework. What happened to those relaxing, warm summer days? With the hustle and bustle – okay, sometimes chaos –of getting to the bus stop on time, finding the groove in a jam-packed schedule and taming a flurry of papers, permission slips and books, it’s not surprising oral health routines can take a backseat. Well, we want to make sure kiddos maintain their membership in our Cavity-Free Club, which is why we’re sharing our tips for dental hygiene for kids when going back to school.

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young-girl-Get-to-Know-pediatric-dentist-denver-Kids-Dentist Better – 20 Questions for Dr. Paddy

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

By Community, Kids Dentistry No Comments

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

At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, of course, we consider Dr. Paddy to be the coolest, best Englewood kids dentist and the kiddos that come into the office happen to think he’s pretty awesome too. One of the keys to getting children to love sitting in the dentist’s chair is finding a doc who makes things fun, engaging and educational, which describes Dr. Paddy perfectly. But, don’t just take our word for it. Check out his answers to our little game of 20 Questions and get to know your favorite Denver pediatric dentist a little better!

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Why Dental Hygiene is Extremely Important for Children With Special Needs

Why Dental Hygiene is Extremely Important for Children With Special Needs

By Kids Dentistry No Comments

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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10 Tips for Helping Kids Overcome a Fear of the Dentist

10 Tips for Helping Kids Overcome a Fear of the Dentist

By Kids Dentistry 4 Comments

10 Tips for Helping Kids Overcome a Fear of the DentistWe’ve had a lot of parents visit Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry concerned that their two-year-old or three-year-old is scared of the dentist (though dental anxiety in children can happen with any age group). It’s definitely a normal reaction considering a stranger is attempting to look around in their mouth with various instruments. Even adults can be a little freaked out by the prospect! Yet, knowing this doesn’t mean that if a child won’t open their mouth at the dentist or they refuse to even sit in the chair, parents won’t be a bit stressed out. The good news is that taking certain steps can go a long way in alleviating dental phobia in kids. When little ones are comfortable with regular visits and have warm and fuzzy feelings towards their dentist, it sets the stage for a lifetime of good oral health because as grown-ups, they’ll be more likely to schedule checkups and address any issues right away. Here are 10 ideas for turning your child into a brave little patient to make your life easier and ensure they develop a positive outlook on dental care.

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Our Favorite Denver and Englewood Kids’ Stores

Our Favorite Denver and Englewood Kids’ Stores

By Community One Comment

Our Favorite Denver and Englewood Kids’ Stores

Dr. Paddy is an Englewood, Colorado pediatric dentist with many talents. He keeps young smiles healthy, he’s a pretty serious extreme skier and he also happens to know a bit about fashion (have you seen his crazy socks?) and toys (he’s still a kid at heart). In addition to his own shopping knowledge, he’s around little ones and their parents most of the day, so he’s picked up quite a few leads on the cool Englewood and Denver stores for kids. At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, we’re all about sharing the knowledge, which is why we’ve compiled our list of the best kids’ stores in Englewood, Denver, and the surrounding area.

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Food and Nutrition Guide for Kids Healthy Teeth

A Food & Nutrition Guide for Kids Healthy Teeth

By Kids Dentistry No Comments

Food and Nutrition Guide for Kids Healthy Teeth

 

At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, we spend a lot of time advising parents on how to keep their kiddos’ mouths happy and healthy. Much of that advice revolves around how often to brush and floss, how to put the kibosh on things like thumb sucking and pacifier use and which treats to enjoy in moderation to keep the sugar bugs at bay. While these are all important topics and nothing tops brushing and flossing as far as healthy habits to promote strong teeth in kids, nutrition shouldn’t be overlooked either. There are certain foods that are good for children’s teeth, particularly those rich in vitamins and minerals. Combining a balanced diet and excellent oral hygiene could help your child earn their place in the cavity-free club.

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Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy While Traveling

By Kids Dentistry No Comments

When Dr. Paddy isn’t hitting the slopes, making smiles sparkle as an Englewood pediatric dentist or teaching Bubbs, the office mascot, new tricks, he loves to travel. He’s all about encouraging his patients to see the country and the world too. Traveling is an awesome experience for kids. It gets them out of their comfort zone and really expands their horizons. However, with that, comes a break in routine, which often means daily habits like brushing and flossing fall to the wayside. If there’s anything you shouldn’t take a vacation from, it’s keeping your chompers clean. To help, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry has compiled some excellent tips for maintaining good dental care for kids while traveling.

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