Halloween is lurking just around the corner, and while the kiddos are pumped about trick-or-treating, you might be thinking about your kids’ oral hygiene. Well, the Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics team is too and we’ve got you covered! Your Denver-area pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith, offer 13 fang-tastic ideas to add a bit of Halloween magic to this season’s brushing and flossing.
If your kiddo uses a mint-flavored toothpaste, switch it up with a flavor that’s more candy-inspired. Brushing kids’ teeth with a flavor like this “dragon dazzle” blue raspberry and sparkle fluoride toothpaste is a sweet experience (from xylitol and stevia) and keeps their teeth boo-tifully clean and can help prevent cavities.
Match Their Toothbrush To Their Costume
Is your kid dressing up as their favorite superhero? Or maybe as their beloved kids’ show character? If so, there might be a matching kids’ toothbrush.
Flossing isn’t always an easy habit for kids to get into. But this Halloween, your kids just might sink their teeth into it with black, creepy-looking flossers — like these ones. Need to gamify flossing? Here are a few ways to help kids enjoy flossing.
Sweet Treat Mouthwash
Did you know that mouthwash doesn’t only come in mint? Yep, surprise your kids with a mouthwash that tastes like a treat: this bubble fruit fluoride mouthwash has a kid-pleasing bubble gum flavor that will help clean away lingering bacteria after brushing and flossing.
Bewitched Brush Holder
How about a toothbrush holder that looks like a witch’s cauldron to stir up some brushing and flossing excitement? Or a jack-o-lantern-looking cup or container.
Halloween Brushing Playlist
Brush and floss to “Monster Mash,” “Thriller,” or other kid-friendly Halloween classics. Whether your kids are old enough to handle their oral hygiene by themselves or you brush your kids’ teeth for them, two minutes will fly by with a spooky soundtrack.
Another way to get kids to brush their teeth for two minutes? Set a timer that plays spooky sounds when two minutes is up. Ghostly whispers or witch cackles anyone?
You can’t go wrong with spooky sticker rewards. Every time your child completes their oral hygiene routine, let them add a Halloween sticker to a Halloween-themed chart. Or get window clings they can stick to the mirror. Once your child reaches their goal, reward them with a non-sugary treat like a small toy or activity.
Turn brushing and flossing into Halloween charades. Need ideas? Print out these Halloween charades cards and leave them on the bathroom counter for you and your kids to choose from.
Scary Story Time
Tell a two-minute scary story while your kiddos go through their oral hygiene routine. Or tell a Halloween joke every time a section of teeth is brushed.
Turn off the lights, give your kids a flashlight, and brush in the dark! Brush with the classic flashlight-under-chin for a ghost-stories vibe.
Get Brushing With Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are a surefire answer for how to make brushing teeth fun. Attach a thin one to your kiddo’s toothbrush handle, decorate the room with them, or give them to your tooth-brusher to wear while they’re brushing and flossing.
Decorate your bathroom with fake spider webbing, hang plastic creepy crawlies, and add Halloween window clings to the mirror for haunted house oral hygiene.
Your Fun, Halloween-Loving Dentists in Denver, CO
As your Halloween-loving pediatric dentists, we want your kids to enjoy it without having to worry about sugar bugs and cavities. We hope the ideas we’ve shared will help. If you want a few more pointers, check out these Halloween brushing and flossing tips.
And don’t forget, make good oral hygiene standard year-round with regular check ups and cleanings.Book your next appointment with our fun and friendly team at our Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO office.
Packing your kids’ lunches is a fine art, am I right? After all, you’ve got to find a balance of nutrition, quantity, and covering all the food groups. Oh, and it has to be yummy so your kids will actually eat it. With all this to think about and all the food options out there, we at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics understand when a few not-so-healthy foods that are high in sugar find their way into the lunch kit.
So How Does Sugar Affect Kids’ Teeth?
By now, it’s common knowledge that too much sugar is not good for our kids’ overall health. But your Denver-area, board-certified pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith, are also here to remind you that excess sugar is not ideal for the health of your kids’ teeth. Does sugar cause cavities? Simply put, yup; we can confidently say that it’s the main culprit behind tooth decay and cavities.
You’d be surprised at some snacks that are typically promoted as “healthy snacks,” options that any dentist would advise you to steer clear of. Keep reading to find four such examples from your Kids Mile High team of healthy low- or no-added-sugar alternatives for kids that’ll still get the thumbs up — and go a long way in helping with cavity prevention for your kids.
Granola and Cereal Bars
Featuring star ingredients like oats, grains, and sometimes nuts, store-bought granola and cereal bars are a trickster of the kid snack world. You might think they’re one of the good guys — one of the healthy school lunch ideas you can rely on — but some have loads of sugar.
Always check the nutrition info on premade granola and cereal bars and consider how much sugar will contribute to your kids’ daily intake. The American Academy of Pediatrics says kids should have no more than 25 grams or six teaspoons of sugar per day.
What to Pack Instead: No need to cut out granola and cereal bars completely. Alongside the ones high in sugar you’ll find low sugar granola bar snacks for kids that still taste like a treat. Take a look at MadeGood bars and bites or KIND bars.
Not long ago, parents didn’t think twice about packing a juice box into their kid’s lunch. But today, we now realize that those standard-issue drink boxes actually contain a lot of sugar for the amount and type of fruit servings they provide. Even a slim, 177ml apple juice has an average 19 grams of natural sugar. That’s only 6 grams shy of the recommended total limit for kids — and it doesn’t come with the fiber or protein that helps minimize spikes in blood sugar.
What to Pack Instead:
Many schools suggest that students bring a refillable water bottle to school everyday. Tap water doesn’t have any sugar and typically has a bit of fluoride to help strengthen kids’ teeth.
If you want to occasionally pack juice, opt for low sugar drinks in your snacks for kids arsenal. These Honest Kids or Juicey Juice fruit punches each have only eight grams of sugar per container.
Like granola bars, yogurt is one of those sneaky snack foods that can be high in sugar. The sugar listed on a flavored yogurt doesn’t distinguish between sugars naturally occurring from the milk, yogurt base, fruit, or added sugars. An average amount of sugar in a six ounce cup of sweetened yogurt typically varies between 23-29 grams of sugar. But comparing the sugar content in the same amount of plain yogurt can give you a good idea of how much extra sugar comes from the additional ingredients.
What to Pack Instead:
It’s fair to say that plain yogurt isn’t a taste for everybody, especially kids. But non-flavored yogurt that you add your own fresh fruit into can be a kid-approved go-to on your list of healthy snacks for kids. Sweetness hack? A bit of vanilla extract makes the yogurt taste sweeter but doesn’t add sugar.
Gummy Fruit Snacks
Don’t let the name trick you; though some brands have real fruit in the form of juice or puree, there’s also corn syrup and straight sugar. Like candy!
What to Pack Instead:
At Kids Mile High, we see those fruit snack pouches and raise you no-added-sugar fruit snacks like… drum roll, please… actual real fruit! Yes, real fresh (or frozen!) fruit is sweet, has vitamins for teeth, and comes with healthy extras like fiber and antioxidants.
Team Up with Kids Mile High for Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Strong
Now that you’re more informed about lunch box foods high in sugar and what you can swap them out with, we’ve got one final suggestion for building awesome habits for healthy teeth: make sure you visit us for regular dental health cleaning and exams! The Kids Mile High team is your award-winning, kid-friendly kids’ pediatric dentist in Denver, CO, with colorful, high tech offices that make visits comfortable and fun.
Contact us at one of our three Denver-area offices today! We’re here to help Central Park, Englewood, and Thornton families kickstart a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles for their kids.
Picture this: your kiddo is munching away at their favorite meal when suddenly, a sharp twinge of pain shoots through a tooth and they yell, “Oww!” It’s an awful feeling that signals something’s not quite right with their teeth. “Does my child have a cavity?” you wonder.
Your Denver pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith, say yes, pain in your child’s teeth might be a sign there’s a cavity and you should come in to see us at Kids Mile High for a professional diagnosis and treatment. But that’s not all! Your child might have other signs of tooth decay so we’ll cover them here, too.
What are Tooth Decay and Cavities?
But before we cover the actual signs of cavities in kids, let’s make sure we’re on the same page as to what exactly tooth decay and cavities are all about. What is tooth decay in children? Like in adults, tooth decay is the gradual destruction of your kiddo’s tooth structure caused by acid-producing bacteria. You see, your oral bacteria feed on the sugars left behind in your mouth after you eat. This process releases acids that erode the protective enamel on your teeth. Weakened tooth enamel leaves your dentin — the softer layer underneath your enamel — exposed and susceptible to tooth decay.
And how about cavities? What causes cavities in kids? Over time, tooth decay can turn into permanent holes in your little one’s teeth called cavities. Deep cavities can expose the nerves in teeth causing painful toothaches, or worse, infection or tooth loss.
So What Causes Tooth Decay in Children?
Understanding what causes cavities in kids can help you and your child prevent them. Here are three of the most common causes for tooth decay:
Poor oral hygiene:
We know that kids aren’t always hyped about cleaning their teeth. But inadequate brushing and flossing allows sticky plaque to cover teeth and produce enamel-damaging acid on your child’s tooth surfaces.
Frequent snacking on sugary and starchy foods:
Kids and snacking go hand-in-hand but keep in mind that teeth need a break sometimes, a break from food that is. Your kids’ teeth need a pause between meals to give their saliva time to do its job: saliva plays a starring role in washing away plaque and neutralizing the acidic pH in your child’s mouth that weakens their tooth enamel.
Excessive consumption of acidic beverages:
It’s not only acids from bacteria that weaken teeth; acidic drinks like juice, soda, or sports drinks can also damage tooth enamel and provide a feast for cavity-causing bacteria. Keeping acidic beverages for rare occasions can help reduce the likelihood of cavities in your kids.
Signs of A Cavity in Kids
So back to that sharp pain your little one experienced when chewing. Let’s talk about that and six other most common signs of a cavity in children.
Pain When Chewing or When Drinking Certain Beverages
Sensitivity or pain from a cavity or tooth decay can be especially noticeable when your child chews or bites down, even without food. And certain foods or beverages can trigger tooth pain, too: super sweet foods and beverages like candy, soda, or baked treats can trigger tooth sensitivity. Hard foods like nuts or crunching on ice can crack your child’s enamel. And those sweet drinks? They introduce the acids that weaken enamel over time, exposing the softer dentin underneath closer to the nerves and causing discomfort.
One of the most obvious signs your child needs to see your Denver-area pediatric dentist for kids’ cavity treatment? A persistent toothache. Their tooth pain may range from mild discomfort to a throbbing ache depending on the severity of the decay. Ask your kiddo how the pain feels on a scale of 1-10, or if the pain worsens when they bite down on food or consume hot, cold, or sugary items.
One thing we want to mention is that toothaches in kids aren’t always because of cavities. Persistent toothaches in kids can also be because of:
Adult teeth erupting
Loose baby teeth
Cracks or damage to their tooth
A damaged filling
This is why a professional evaluation by a Kids Mile High dentist is absolutely essential for pinpointing the cause and getting your child the right treatment.
Increased Sensitivity To Hot and Cold
Does your child cry out in pain when they sip a hot chocolate or bite into an ice cream cone? Heightened sensitivity to temperature extremes is one of the typical signs of tooth decay in both kids and adults. When your protective enamel is compromised, the underlying dentin is exposed and the nerves inside the teeth are in closer contact with the temperatures of what’s consumed.
Dark Spots On Your Child’s Tooth Surfaces
Visible holes, pits, or dark spots on your kid’s teeth could be telltale signs of a cavity. Cavities often appear as white, brown, or black spots on the tooth surface. We suggest making an appointment at our Englewood, Thornton, or Central Park office as soon as you can if you see these discolorations on your child’s teeth.
Visible Holes or Pits in Your Child’s Teeth
This is a similar story to dark spots and discoloration. Sometimes cavities in kids look like small holes in their teeth and indicate exactly where your child’s tooth decay has happened.
Bad Breath or An Unpleasant Taste
The bacteria responsible for cavities produces unpleasant-smelling gasses that contribute to bad breath. If you can smell that your child has consistently bad breath even after brushing and flossing, this might be a sign of tooth decay. You can also ask them if they have an unpleasant taste in their mouth: chewing food near a decayed tooth can cause a weird taste and point to a cavity.
Changes in Tooth Texture
As a cavity progresses, your child may notice changes in the texture of their teeth. The affected area might feel rough or uneven when they run their tongue over it. When cavities are left untreated, tooth decay can advance and weaken your child’s tooth structure.
Why Kids’ Cavity Treatment is Super Important
At Kids Mile High, we want your kids to have the healthiest, happiest, superhero smiles possible. Like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, we recommend scheduling your child’s checkups and cleanings every six months so we can catch little problems before they become big ones. When it comes to tooth decay and cavities, regular checkups allow us to spot any early signs of tooth decay in your children and provide prompt treatment.
On the other hand, tooth decay that goes unnoticed could worsen and become bigger, more painful dental problems for your child. Bacteria and acids can move deeper into their tooth, reaching the sensitive pulp that contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. The pulp can then become swollen and irritated, and since there’s no place for the swelling to expand inside the tooth, it presses against the nerves causing pain.
This pain can also travel beyond your child’s tooth root into their jawbone. In severe cases, untreated cavities can lead to tooth loss, infection, and even an abscess — a painful pocket of pus caused by the infection. Ewww.
Making It All Better – Kids Cavity Treatment
Bottom line? If your child’s been experiencing one or several of the cavity signs we’ve discussed above, schedule an appointment immediately with your expert pediatric dentist at Kids Mile High. Your board-certified pediatric dentist will conduct a comfortable exam to confirm if your child has a cavity. We might even use our cool, high-tech DIAGNOdent™, a special laser that detects even the earliest and smallest cavities. Sometimes we’ll also opt to take quick and painless, low-dose digital x-rays to ensure we’ve got the most up-to-date images of your child’s teeth.
Once Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith has diagnosed your child’s tooth decay, they’ll suggest an appropriate kids’ cavity treatment. Kids Mile High cavity treatment includes options like:
We offer tooth-colored fillings color-matched to your child’s tooth. It won’t even look like they had a cavity in the first place! At Kids Mile High, we use Herculite composite resin, one of the strongest composite materials on the market so you know your child’s filling will last.
If your child’s cavity is large or most of their tooth structure is now missing because of it, a special pediatric dental crown may be what we suggest for your kid’s cavity treatment. What’s a crown? A crown is a cap over the tooth that covers the entire visible part right to the gum line.
We use NuSmile pediatric crowns on baby teeth to keep them in place until they’re ready to fall out and make way for the adult teeth. NuSmile pediatric crowns are white, metal-free and made from durable zirconia. We color-match crowns to look natural and mimic the shape, contours, and slight translucency of real teeth.
Root Canal Treatment:
When dental decay has reached the pulp of a tooth, a baby root canal may be recommended. Yes, we totally get that a root canal for your wee one can sound a bit scary, but rest assured, your child is in gentle, expert hands. The goal of a root canal for a primary tooth is to save what’s left of your child’s tooth to avoid extracting a baby tooth too early. We’ll restore your child’s tooth with a NuSmile crown so they can chew, talk, and smile with confidence… and without pain!
Although we do whatever we can to save a baby tooth that’s not ready to fall out, sometimes tooth decay is so bad that it’s healthier to remove it. Tooth extraction is a super last resort, and we make sure your kiddo is comfortable and doesn’t feel a thing. To help our young patients feel at ease, we offer sedation dentistry with nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, or in-office general anesthesia administered by the anesthesiologists from CarePoint Anesthesia.
Say Goodbye to Kids’ Tooth Decay With Your Denver Pediatric Dentists
Tooth decay can really put a damper on your child’s everyday life so if they’re going through any signs of a cavity, we’re here to help. Our engaging, kid-friendly office, friendly staff, and high-tech approach make us your go-to pediatric dentist in Denver.
Turn those summer photos into a $50 Amazon Gift Card: Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics has launched our summer Backpack Photo Contest. During the month of June, you can pick up a Kids Mile High backpack from any of our three Denver-area locations — Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO and get snapping. Only 50 backpacks are available per office so stop by soon.
Wherever the summer leads you — on vacation, at camp, or just hanging out nearby — take a smiley snap with your backpack and post the image on social media with the tag @kidsmilehigh. All posts are entered into a draw for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. You can post and tag as many photos as you like.
Dental Care Fun Is Fun With Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry
This summer backpack contest is just one of many ways we make dental care fun. If there’s something to smile extra big about — a birthday, a holiday, getting braces off — we’re the Denver dentist that definitely celebrates. And every visit to our office is fun, too. Our state-of-the-art offices in Thornton, Central Park, and Englewood, CO are cheerful, colorful, and designed for our young patients to enjoy.
From prevention to orthodontics, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics offers everything your family needs to stay on top of your children’s oral care. Pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy Smithwick, Dr. Roger Castro, Dr. Meredith Ghivizzani, along with orthodontist, Dr. Brandon Scheer are all board-certified and provide award-winning, high-quality oral care wrapped up in a friendly, kid-focused approach.
Your wee one’s first set of teeth are precious. So understandably, you might be a little concerned about white spots on those cute little baby teeth. What’s causing these white spots?
In this post, Dr. Paddy and your Denver-area pediatric dental team at Kids Mile High want to equip you with the info you need about white spots on your little one’s teeth. Let’s talk about the top 5 common causes for white spots on baby teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Ok, to be clear, your little one won’t get tooth decay or white spots on their teeth from the actual bottle or sippy cup. Phew! One less thing to worry about as a parent. Instead, “baby bottle tooth decay” refers to getting tooth decay or white spots from bottle or sippy cup habits that prolong the presence of sugar on their teeth.
How does baby bottle tooth decay happen? If your child falls asleep with their bottle or sippy cup, the sugar in what they’re drinking tends to coat their teeth, causing tooth decay more quickly. For the same reason, tooth decay is more likely to happen from continually drinking milk or a sugary drink without long enough breaks in between. (This goes for everyone actually: babies, kids, and you!)
You see, when baby teeth come into frequent contact with the sugar in milk or sweet drinks, oral bacteria gets to work feeding on those sugars and produces acids that attack and weaken your child’s tooth enamel. This makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Breaks from the sippy cup or bottle will allow your baby’s saliva to neutralize the acids and return your child’s enamel from a weakened, softened state to a hardened, durable state.
Speaking of enamel, white spots on a baby’s teeth can also happen because of an issue called enamel hypoplasia. This is when tooth enamel is hard enough but too thin to properly protect your child’s soft dentin underneath. Hyperplasia can happen to individual teeth, in certain spots on individual teeth, or less common, on all teeth. The unprotected tooth is then more susceptible to tooth decay and can result in white or brown spots. Kids get enamel hypoplasia because of disruptions in their tooth enamel development — either in utero, early infancy, or early childhood.
Certain antibiotics can cause white spots to show up on baby teeth. How? By interfering with tooth enamel development when taken during pregnancy or when given to young children. In other words, some medications cause enamel hypoplasia (talked about above) and make your child more susceptible to a baby tooth cavity or tooth decay.
Make sure you let us know about medications your wee one is taking, has taken in the past, or if mom took antibiotics during pregnancy. This info can help us really pinpoint reasons for the white spots on your child’s teeth.
You’ve likely heard that fluoride is good for strengthening teeth. But when baby teeth are exposed to too much fluoride through drinking water or toothpaste, this can cause white or brown spots. The good news? Fluorosis isn’t harmful to baby teeth or a child’s overall health; quite the opposite! Teeth with fluorosis are actually more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Fluorosis is only an aesthetic concern.
Poor Dental Hygiene
If a baby or toddler’s teeth are not cleaned well every day, plaque and bacteria can build up and cause white spots — or even cavities — on teeth. As your Denver pediatric dentists, we can’t say it enough: diligent brushing and flossing is Step One in preventing tooth decay in your little one. And bonus, starting a good oral hygiene routine early and making it fun builds a solid foundation for valuing life-long oral health.
Your Denver Area Pediatric Dentists For Happy Smiles
If you notice white spots on your child’s baby’s teeth, come in to see your award-winning pediatric dentists at Kids Mile High. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith are happy to assess your child’s white spots and recommend a plan for your child’s best oral health.
Contact us to make an appointment at one of our fun and friendly offices in Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO.
Feeling 100% confident about your healthcare providers is nice. Especially when it comes to the doctors and healthcare professionals that treat your kids. Well, you can walk into Kids Mile High with a skip in your step: as your pediatric dentist in the Denver area, we offer you the assurance you need that your kiddos’ smiles are in good hands.
How? Let’s start with the fact that all our doctors are board certified. Yes, that’s right! Each of our pediatric dentists — Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith — is a board-certified pediatric dentist. And if your child needs early orthodontics, braces, or Invisalign®, you can rest easy knowing Dr. Scheer is a board certified orthodontist.
So what does being board certified mean for a pediatric dentist?
Simply put, being American board certified is the benchmark standard for excellence in dental care. Being a board-certified pediatric dentist means keeping up-to-date on the latest knowledge, proven, modern techniques, and being able to apply this expertise to treating patients.
How do you become a board certified pediatric dentist?
Board certification is a voluntary extra step in a dentist’s professional development. In other words, when a person looks into how to become a pediatric dentist, board certification isn’t a requirement. It’s possible to practice pediatric dentistry without being board certified.
But consider this: if you think about how long it takes to become a pediatric dentist, adding board certification is a definite sign you’re really going the extra mile for your patients. And who doesn’t want to take their kids to a pediatric dentist like that?
To become board certified, your Kids Mile High pediatric dentists successfully passed rigorous exams with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. And it doesn’t end there: Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith must each maintain their status as a board-certified pediatric dentist by ensuring at least 15 hours of continuing education every year. Every 10 years, your Kids Mile High board certified pediatric dentist must also take a recertification exam.
How about being a board-certified orthodontist?
As mentioned earlier, not only do your Denver pediatric dentists at Kids Mile High hold board certifications, but so does Dr. Scheer, our orthodontist. As a dental specialist in orthodontics, Dr. Scheer is board certified not through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, but through the American Board of Orthodontists (AMO).
Fun fact: Only 1 in 3 orthodontists in America are board certified through the AMO.
Becoming a board certified orthodontist is voluntary and orthodontists like Dr. Scheer must successfully pass AMO’s stringent exams to achieve board certification. Considering it takes 5-10 years to become an American board-certified orthodontist, getting the designation is a big feat. And like his pediatric dentist colleagues, Dr. Scheer has to take a recertification exam every 10 years to maintain his status.
What does it mean to have a board certified orthodontist looking after your child’s teeth? You can know that your kid receives the highest level of orthodontics, informed by knowledge of the latest orthodontic techniques, technology, and patient care.
Your board certified team in Denver
Four board certified doctors under one roof! Amazing. That’s what you get when your kids come to Kids Mile High for their oral health needs. So if you’re a Denver family and you’ve been thinking, “I need to find the best pediatric dentist near me,” or you’re looking for a star orthodontist, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re concerned about your kids’ teeth health or wondering about braces, you can trust our board certified doctors to take excellent care of your kiddo’s smile.
Get in touch with us to find out more about our top-notch, award-winning service. Or visit us in-person to say hello at our offices in Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO. You’ll find a friendly atmosphere that makes expert dental and orthodontic care fun, too.
There’s always something to celebrate at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry. But February is especially fun since it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month by the American Dental Association (ADA). To mark the occasion, the Denver-area pediatric dentists want to share four ideas for celebrating this month’s focus on kids’ dental health.
Pick Out Fresh New Dental Supplies
The Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry team suggests kids change their toothbrush every 3-4 months. And if the bristles are fraying, that’s a definite sign for a new one. Join in on National Children’s Dental Health Month by getting a new kids’ toothbrush to get young ones extra excited about brushing their teeth. And let them choose their own kid-sized toothbrush — just make sure it’s a soft-bristled one.
Pair a new toothbrush with a new kid-friendly fluoride toothpaste… and don’t forget the dental floss! Kid-friendly floss picks make for easier flossing and water flossers are fun and gentle yet effective.
Use Apps and Music To Level Up The Brushing Fun
A bit of entertainment makes at-home oral care for kids more enticing. Play favorite music through Brush DJ to make two minutes of brushing flash by, or use a tooth-brushing app like Chomper Chums or the Disney Magic Timer to turn oral care into an interactive activity.
Make The Next (Or First!) Checkup Appointment
Kids should see the dentist every six months. If that half-year mark is coming up, now’s a good time to make the next appointment. And how about a baby’s first dental visit? The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first visit happen by their first birthday — or within six months of the first tooth erupting. A first visit sets kids up for good oral habits from the get-go and allows dentists to spot any potential dental or orthodontic issues.
Check Out Activities From National Children’s Dental Health Month
The ADA has downloadable activity sheets for home or school. Older kids might like the word games, while younger kids can track their brushing or color the coloring sheet. Dentists, healthcare providers, and teachers can dive into the Program Planning Guide for further oral-care promoting activities.
About Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry
Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry is an award-winning kids dentist that’s all about offering top-notch pediatric dentistry that’s also fun. Their state-of-the-art offices in Thornton, Central Park, and Englewood, CO are cheerful, colorful, and designed with young patients in mind. From prevention to orthodontics, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry offers everything a family needs to stay on top of their children’s oral care.
You’re at the dentist with your little one and the dentist shows you their x-rays. Typically, pediatric dentists like your Kids Mile High doctors will use x-rays to show you where decay may be present, if your child is congenitally missing teeth, or where impacted teeth may be hiding. It’s helpful to see those things on an x-ray since you can’t always see them with the naked eye.
But have you ever wondered what exactly you’re looking at in terms of tooth anatomy? It’s fairly obvious on a dental x-ray that teeth have different layers and are differently shaped. But if you’ve ever wanted to know more, here’s a primer on everything you should know.
Let’s start our tooth anatomy lesson with identifying the parts of a tooth. Every one of your child’s teeth — both their baby and permanent teeth — is composed of the same materials. And baby tooth anatomy and adult tooth anatomy are the same, too.
These are the parts of a tooth from the visible part moving into the gums. Every tooth has a:
Crown: the part you can see above the gumline
Neck: the part at the gumline between the crown and the root
Root: the part you can’t see that sits inside your gums.
And from the outside layer in, here are the parts of a tooth and the function of each:
This is the outermost layer of your child’s tooth, the part you can see. Enamel is made up of hard, calcified tissue and protects the dentin of the teeth. It takes the burnt of biting and chewing forces, the wear and tear of eating.
Now, you might be surprised to learn that enamel only covers the visible part of every tooth — the crown. The outermost layer of each tooth that’s below the gumline and secured into the gums is called cementum (we’ll talk about that shortly).
Enamel is essentially white in color so if your kiddo’s teeth look a little yellow, this could be because you’re seeing through to their dentin. Fun fact: enamel on baby teeth is thinner than on adult teeth! So in certain lights, your child’s enamel can become a little transparent and you can actually see through it to the yellow dentin underneath.
And did you know? Enamel, just like hair, doesn’t contain any living cells. So it can’t repair on its own if damaged from tooth decay or wear. But a dentist like Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith can treat your little one’s enamel to strengthen and protect it from further damage. Like with dental sealants.
This is the outermost layer in the anatomy of a tooth that you can’t see. It’s a hard, calcified connective tissue covering the tooth root below the gumline. As names of teeth go, this one’s easy to remember since “cementum” sounds a little like what it does — it attaches the tooth to the periodontal ligament of the gums. In other words, the cementum layer is the part of your child’s teeth that helps “cement” them to the gums.
If you were to look at a tooth anatomy diagram, the next layer in from enamel and cementum is dentin. It’s a bit softer than enamel and is made up of tiny, microscopic hollow tubules with fluid inside. This fluid has the all-important job of helping transmit senses to the nerves inside the pulp. So when your child eats a popsicle too fast and their teeth hurt, it’s dentin who delivers the news to the nerves… who then send the message to the brain saying, “Woah, that’s cold!”
The innermost part of a tooth is called the pulp. It’s the soft tissue at the center of a tooth and is made up of tissue, nerve endings, and blood vessels. Think of the pulp as a command center for each tooth: this part of the tooth is responsible for telling your brain when something you eat is too hot, too cold, or too sweet for your teeth. And very important, the pulp provides nourishment to keep your tooth healthy and alive.
And that’s it, the parts of a tooth and what they do: the enamel, cementum, dentin, and pulp. But wait a minute, what about where the teeth live? Let’s talk about that next.
Tooth anatomy: what’s around your tooth
It’s fairly common knowledge that your teeth sit in what’s called your gums. But that whole support system is much more complex than you might think!
Gums are the soft tissue that cover and protect your child’s teeth roots. Cool fact about gums? They hold all your child’s baby teeth right from the beginning. Yes, all 20 of your little one’s primary teeth are hanging out inside the gums right from birth — fully formed and waiting to erupt at the right times. In fact, primary teeth start to form at five weeks’ gestation so they’re ready to go when your baby’s born!
The technical word for gums is “gingiva,” which might sound familiar if you’ve heard of “gingivitis.” The latter is a mild gum disease you definitely don’t want your child to get because it can be painful or cause bleeding. And you want to treat it right away so it doesn’t get worse. Since the gums sit between teeth and your child’s jawbone, severe gum disease can affect both teeth and bone, leading to bone loss, teeth getting loose, or even falling out.
Located inside the gums, periodontal ligaments are collagenous connective tissue fibers that connect your child’s tooth roots to their socket in the jawbone. If your child has orthodontic treatment in the future, periodontal ligaments are part of the teeth system that stretch, helping teeth shift while still keeping them securely in your gums as they move.
This is the fancy name for the part of your jaw that surrounds all your teeth roots. It’s the part of your child’s jawbone that’s touching their teeth’s roots.
The different types and names of teeth
Now that you know all about tooth anatomy, how about the different types of teeth? For starters, our teeth come in different shapes and sizes, each corresponding to their function.
How many teeth does a child have? Your child’s primary teeth come as a set of 20 teeth, with the same set of 10 teeth in the upper and lower arches. Each of your little one’s jaws has:
Adult teeth are a bit different. In contrast to how many baby teeth you have, permanent teeth number at 32, with 16 teeth in each of the arches:
4 canines (cuspids)
8 premolars (bicuspids)
12 molars (including 4 wisdom teeth)
Located at the front of the mouth, incisors are shaped like small chisels, with sharp edges to help you bite into food and separate it. You typically use your incisors when you want to bite off a small, manageable piece from something large like an apple, sandwich, or piece of pizza.
For kids, incisors are the first teeth to erupt. They’re your child’s cute first teeth that you ooh and aahh over, appearing when your baby is about 6 months old. And no doubt, they’re your introduction to the world of teething! Later on when your kiddo is about 6 to 8 years old, you can expect their primary incisors to fall out and their adult ones to appear.
As far as names of teeth go, this one’s pretty descriptive of their look and position in the mouth. Reminiscent of Fido’s fang-like teeth, our canine teeth sit next to our incisors on either side — two canines on each of the top and bottom arches. They’re sharp and pointy, meant for tearing food.
Baby canines come in when your little one is around 16-20 months, starting with the upper ones. Adult canines erupt in the opposite order: the lower ones come in first around age nine, then the upper ones by the time your child is 11 or 12.
Now this is where we start to have different numbers of teeth between primary teeth and permanent teeth.Baby teeth don’t technically include premolars, only molars. Adult teeth include two pairs of premolars that sit beside the canine teeth on the upper and lower arches, for a total of eight premolars. They erupt when your child is about 10 years old. Premolars are bigger and squarer than canines and incisors with a flat, ridged surface for crushing and grinding your food so you can swallow it.
The back of your mouth holds your molars. And when it comes to types of teeth, we can safely say molars are the biggest and strongest of all your teeth. Molars, like premolars, are shaped for crushing and grinding food into pieces that are easier to swallow.
Baby teeth consist of 8 molars, while adult teeth have 12. What’s unique about adult molars is that the last four that should sit at the very back of the mouth take a long time to fully erupt. Called “wisdom teeth,” they show up between 17-25 years old, when you’re “older and wiser.”
But sometimes they don’t come in at all. If your dental arches don’t have room for them, your wisdom teeth are likely impacted, meaning your erupted teeth are blocking their path. Oftentimes, your dentist will remove your wisdom teeth if they’re stuck in your gums.
Baby teeth versus permanent teeth
We’ve covered the main differences between baby teeth and permanent teeth pretty well. But let’s recap three biggies:
Baby teeth eventually fall out, adult teeth are permanent.
How many baby teeth? There’s 20. Permanent teeth: 32.
We only have premolars with our adult teeth, not with our baby teeth.
We say teeth are pretty amazing and a super important part of our bodies. And knowing more about them can inspire you to take better care of them — whether your little one’s baby teeth, or the adult teeth that will soon take their place.
If you’re looking for even more information about your kids’ teeth or have specific questions about their teeth, your Denver-area pediatric dentists are here to help.
Contact us today for an appointment at our Englewood, Thornton, or Central Park, CO office.
At Kids Mile High, we practice pediatric dentistry that goes all out when it comes to caring for our patients’ teeth. And we’re humbled to announce that our Denver-area dental industry peers have recognized our efforts: we were voted as a 2022 Top Dentist in 5280 magazine’s annual “Best of 5280.” High fives as one of the best pediatric dentists in Denver!
Are you thinking about getting braces for your child, or is your kiddo already on her way to a new smile? One of the first things the parents of our Denver area orthodontic patients ask is, “How will braces change my child’s life?” For starters, braces will improve your child’s bite, oral health and self-confidence. But there are also a few changes she’ll need to make along the way, such as avoiding certain foods that could damage the hardware.
Fortunately, there are tons of braces-friendly food, so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. Even eating out is totally possible with braces! If you’re looking for a place to eat in Denver with braces, look no further. Read on for Kids Mile High’s ultimate braces-friendly food guide to the best restaurants in Denver, Thornton, and Englewood.
Foods to Avoid with Braces
First things first, let’s start with a little refresher on what foods to eat with braces and what foods to avoid. While it can be a bit of a bummer to be told what to eat, we’re here to assure you (and your kids) that eating with braces can be just as enjoyable as without. You’ll just need to follow a few hard-and-fast rules to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy.
Basically, you’ll want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky or any foods you have to bite into. Here’s a list of foods to avoid with braces and why:
Hard/crunchy foods: Popcorn, ice, chips or hard candies could potentially break your child’s brackets, which has the potential of delaying progress.
Chewy foods: Dense bread, like bagels or pizza crust, can get stuck in braces, making it more difficult to brush and floss effectively.
Sticky foods: Sticky items like caramels, candy and bubblegum are off-limits if your child has braces for obvious reasons. Not only do they get stuck in the brackets and wires, but these treats can also pull the brackets off your child’s teeth. And of course, the sugar itself isn’t good for developing mouths!
Foods you bite into: Biting into things like apples, corn-on-the-cob, or carrots are dangerous for your child’s hardware, so it’s best to avoid them until the braces come off.
The most important thing to remember about eating with braces is that you need to be extra diligent about oral health care. The brackets and wires create lots of extra little spaces for plaque and bacteria to hide, so your child will need to brush and floss after every snack and meal to avoid harmful build-up.
Where to Eat with Braces in Englewood, Thornton and Denver
Okay, now to the fun part! Let’s talk about all the delicious foods you can eat with braces in the Denver area. While eating out with braces can take a little extra forethought, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are our favorite restaurants in Denver, Englewood and Thornton for anyone — with or without braces
Undici Ristorante Italiano – 1200 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO – Italian food is one of the best things to eat with braces for many reasons: it’s delicious, it’s usually soft enough for even sensitive teeth, and everyone loves pasta! Undici has some of the best food in Englewood, serving up classic Italian dishes like calamari, spaghetti and meatballs, and tiramisu. The best part? All of the above are perfectly safe for diners with braces, so there’s no need to compromise. Undici is currently open for dine-in and takeout.
Garibaldi Mexican Bistro – 3298 S Broadway B, Englewood, CO – For a casual dining experience that even kiddos with braces will love, Garibaldi is the spot. It truly doesn’t get more authentic than this for real-deal Mexican eats in the heart of Englewood. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the chicken mole enchiladas or the daily quesadilla special. Mexican food is an ideal braces-friendly cuisine, as long as you stick to soft tortillas, not the crunchy kind. And be sure to cut everything into bite-sized pieces to guarantee your child’s braces stay safe! Garibaldi is currently open for takeout and delivery.
Doug’s Diner – 4243 E 136th Ave #6918, Thornton, CO – Everyone’s favorite diner in Thornton doubles as the perfect place to eat with braces. This neighborhood gem dishes up American classics like omelettes, hamburgers and sandwiches. Kids with braces can still eat at Doug’s, as long as they cut their food into bite-sized pieces or stick to soft menu items like the many delicious omelettes available. Doug’s Diner is currently open for dine-in and takeout.
Four Friends Kitchen – 2893 Roslyn St, Denver, CO – This Southern-inspired eatery is a fantastic place to eat out in Denver with braces. Located in Central Park, Four Friends was created by, you guessed it, four friends! So you know it’ll be a friendly restaurant for the whole family. For your braces-clad kiddos, stick to menu items like grits, waffles and mac-n-cheese. Four Friends is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery.
Ace Eat Serve – 501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO – This has got to be one of the coolest restaurants in Denver, whether you have braces or not. With a menu full of unique Asian-inspired dishes and a dozen ping pong tables (yes, really), you and your kids are guaranteed to have a great time. Most things on the menu are safe for braces, including rice bowls, noodle bowls, bao buns, and especially the peanut butter Thai rolled ice cream (just watch out for those crunchy peanuts!). As long as you avoid any tough meats like the crispy beef, you should be in the clear. Ace Eat Serve is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery — and ping pong!
Did we miss one of your favorite local restaurants? We’d love to hear all about it at your next appointment with Kids Mile High. Contact us today to book.