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Your Guide to Teeth Grinding in Children

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Ever heard of bruxism? You’re not alone. Even though it’s one of the most common kids’ oral health concerns we treat at Kids Mile High, it’s not a term that most of our Thornton, Central Park and Englewood pediatric dentistry patients are familiar with. You probably know it better by it’s non-technical name: teeth grinding. While it can be cause for concern in some cases, it’s a totally normal part of childhood that typically resolves itself on its own.

Taking care of your little ones’ teeth is our number one priority at Kids Mile High, from infancy all the way through adolescence. We know that navigating your child’s oral health can be confusing at best. If you’re hearing grinding noises from your child’s bedroom at night, it can be downright scary! Unfortunately, there can be long-term effects of bruxism if left untreated and it may also be a sign of a bigger issue. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about teeth grinding in children and what to do about it.

Why Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

If your child is grinding his or her teeth, you might be wondering why it’s happening in the first place. The exact cause of teeth grinding in children is unknown, but most experts agree that it’s a response to tooth discomfort due to normal oral development, such as emerging or misaligned teeth. If the cause of tooth grinding is developmental, kids will usually stop on their own once all of their adult teeth come in.

Sometimes, though, teeth grinding has nothing to do with tooth development. When teeth grinding is ongoing, it may be caused by emotional upset, such as stress or anxiety. Believe it or not, children deal with a lot of stress in their young lives, from school pressure like getting good grades and making friends, to changes at home like moving or a death in the family. Children thrive in routines and any major changes can lead to physical reactions — including bruxism.

Additional causes of teeth grinding include reactions to medications, hyperactivity, being tongue tied, or medical conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Effects of Teeth Grinding

Many parents never even know their kids are grinding their teeth. That doesn’t make you a bad parent! Bruxism usually goes away on its own, so you may never have the chance to worry about it! If you know your child is grinding his or her teeth, you’re probably concerned about the effects of bruxism for your child’s oral health.

Some children may experience temporary symptoms, such as headaches or earaches, but these typically go away when tooth grinding stops. For children who continue to grind their teeth, you may see some more serious side effects, such as damage to tooth enamel, chipped teeth, increased temperature sensitivity, facial pain, or jaw issues.

Teeth Grinding: What to Look Out For

The most important thing to remember about teeth grinding in children is that it is generally not something you need to worry about. It’s a normal part of childhood oral development that should resolve itself eventually. That said, there are always exceptions. Teeth grinding isn’t good for your child’s teeth and can cause wear and tear in the long run. Asking yourself, “Is my child grinding her teeth?” Here’s how to tell if your child has bruxism.

  • Grinding noises while your child is sleeping
  • Complaints of a sore jaw
  • Changes in eating habits or discomfort with chewing
  • Chipped teeth
  • Behavioral changes

Any combination of these symptoms can be a sign that your child is grinding his or her teeth. As we’ve mentioned, kids usually outgrow this habit on their own but if you notice that it’s not going away, err on the side of caution and contact your Central Park, Englewood or Thornton pediatric dentist.

How to Treat Children’s Teeth Grinding

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: children usually stop grinding their teeth on their own. But simply waiting for teeth grinding to go away can be somewhat stressful for parents. How long does it take for kids to stop grinding their teeth? When is it time to see a pediatric dentist for bruxism? While intervention for bruxism is not usually required, a pediatric dentist like the doctors at Kids Mile High can give you the guidance and reassurance you and your child need.

Even for mild cases of bruxism, having a pediatric dentist keep an eye on your child’s development can ensure teeth grinding isn’t interfering with their oral health. If your child is experiencing facial or jaw pain from teeth grinding, we recommend getting a special mouthguard for your child to wear while sleeping. A custom-made night guard can help prevent teeth grinding quickly, effectively and for the long-term.

But what about treating teeth grinding that’s caused by stress or anxiety? This can be a little more difficult and treatment starts at home. Talk to your child about what’s upsetting them and encourage them to open up about what’s triggering their anxieties. Once you know why your child is upset, you can help them develop healthy strategies for coping with stress. In the interim, it may be helpful to schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric dentists to determine if they would recommend an occlusal guard to help protect the teeth from damage.

Does your child grind his or her teeth? Worried that your child’s bruxism isn’t going away? Kids Mile High is here to answer any questions you have about teeth grinding in children. Call us to book a free consultation and help your child overcome their bruxism today.

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Is it Safe for Kids to Use Mouthwash?

By | Kids Dentistry | No Comments

As your little ones get older and begin to sprout new pearly whites, you probably have a million questions about how best to care for your child’s developing teeth. From what kind of toothpaste to use to teaching your kids to brush and floss, there are a few key things you should know about children’s oral health.

At Kids Mile High, one of the most common questions we hear is, “Is mouthwash safe for kids?” First, it’s important to remember that what’s safe for adults may not be ideal for kids. But fortunately, there are kid-friendly versions of oral health products that can be extremely effective. Read on to find out when it’s safe for your child to start using mouthwash and which products are the safest choice.

When is Mouthwash Safe for Kids?

The answer to this question really comes down to your child’s age and behavior, as well as your personal preference as a parent. To decide whether you want your child to use mouthwash, you’ll want to consider whether your child is ready for mouthwash, from both a developmental and maturity perspective.

Since mouthwash usually contains fluoride, it typically is not recommended for children under the age of 6. Fluoride has many benefits, including the prevention of tooth decay, but too much too soon can cause a condition called fluorosis. This condition can only occur when your child’s teeth are still developing and causes changes to the color and texture of the teeth, such as brown spots or bumps. But don’t worry; fluorosis is a cosmetic issue and can be prevented by not giving fluoride mouthwash to a child too young to understand the concept of spitting after rinsing.

Even if your child is old enough for mouthwash, he or she may not be ready to use it. Just like toothpaste, mouthwash should not be swallowed and needs to be spit out. It can take practice for some children to get used to swishing and spitting, instead of gulping it down. Before giving your child mouthwash, practice with water. Encourage them to swish the water around their mouth to wash all their teeth, and then spit it out into the sink. If your child does this with ease, he or she is probably ready to graduate to mouthwash.

Benefits of Mouthwash for Children

Now that you’re able to assess whether your child is ready for mouthwash or not, you might be wondering why you should give your kids mouthwash in the first place. Fortunately, there are many benefits of mouthwash for children, including the following.

  • It gives brushing and flossing an extra boost. Brushing twice and flossing once every day is the gold standard for at-home dental care, but mouthwash can boost the effects by whisking away any leftover food particles and plaque.
  • Mouthwash prevents tooth decay. Like we mentioned earlier, fluoride has incredible cavity-fighting power. Just remember that it’s only recommended for children over 6 years old.
  • It freshens your child’s breath. If your child experiences bad breath, mouthwash can provide extra freshness between brushing and flossing sessions.
  • Mouthwash helps those with braces clean their teeth more effectively. If your child has braces, you know how tricky it can be for them to brush and floss properly. Mouthwash can help loosen trapped bits of food and get into hard-to-reach areas, ensuring a more effective clean.
  • It’s a stepping stone towards proper brushing and flossing. It can take time for children to learn how to brush and floss their teeth properly. If your child hasn’t quite mastered the techniques, mouthwash can provide an effective (temporary) solution for cleaning their teeth.

Safe Mouthwash Brands for Kids

Just like there are kid-friendly toothpaste flavors and colors, the same exists in the world of children’s mouthwash. When choosing a mouthwash for your kids, you’ll want to look for alcohol-free mouthwash. Here are a few child-safe mouthwash options you can use.

  • Listerine Smart Rinse Anticavity Mouthwash: Everyone’s go-to mouthwash brand is also available in a kid-friendly mouthwash option, with zero alcohol, fun flavors and themed bottles with your kids’ favorite characters. When your kids can clean their teeth with Elsa or the Avengers, rinsing with mouthwash will become their favorite part of their oral health routine.
  • Kid’s Crest Anticavity Alcohol Free Fluoride Rinse: Crest kids mouthwash is an alcohol-free, fluoride rinse that’s safe for younger mouths (over the age of 6, of course). Available in bubble gum or strawberry, this mouthwash for kids provides effective cavity protection and deep cleaning for hard-to-reach teeth, all in a tasty flavor your kids will love.
  • Tom’s of Maine Children’s Anticavity Mouth Rinse: If you’re looking for a more natural mouthwash for kids, Tom’s is a fantastic choice. In addition to being alcohol free, it contains no artificial flavors, dyes, sweeteners or preservatives. This natural kid’s mouthwash comes in a tasty strawberry flavor we’re sure your kiddos will be excited to use.

So there you have it. If you’ve been concerned about giving your kids mouthwash, rest assured that it can be perfectly safe, as long as your child is old enough and responsible enough to use it properly. The doctors at Kids Mile High always recommend supervising your children when they use mouthwash to avoid any swallowing. Still have questions about mouthwash for kids? Call your Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentist today!

We’re reopening!

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Hey KMH patients,

We’re super excited to welcome you back to the office starting Monday, May 4th, however, to continue to ensure a safe and healthy environment for both our patients and team, we’ve made the following changes to our policies and protocols while we adjust to this “new normal.”

As always, we appreciate your understanding and support, and we look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces again in the weeks to come!

Changes we’ve made:

  • When visiting the office for an appointment, both patient and parent must wear masks. (If you have them)
  • We will be asking parents to limit siblings coming to appointments when possible.
  • We will ask a series of screening questions upon arrival, such as travel, symptoms, etc.
  • We will also be taking temperatures of all staff as they enter the practice for work each morning and patients and parents at check-in.
  • We will be opening at a 50% capacity to abide by the social distancing requirements and will be adding sneeze guards to our front office stations.
  • Staff will now be wearing surgical hair bonnets and N95 masks with additional eye shields.
  • We have purchased medical-grade air fresheners to circulate the air in the treatment rooms.
  • We have removed toys, books and magazines from the reception area, and the video game systems will be turned off.
  • The coffee/tea stations have been removed, but we are happy to get patients a beverage if desired.
  • We will be delegating “family areas” so patients do not co-mingle in the reception area.
  • The toy stations for patient prizes will now be restricted to staff disbursement.
  • We are diligently working on developing electronic forms to minimize staff/patient exposure with paper forms.
  • If patients have dental needs, but the parent/patient has flu-like symptoms, we will do a screening by phone and ask them to upload photos of the problem via our website portal set up for patients.
  • The medical building we are located in has also done their part by bringing in a professional sanitizing crew to sanitize the common areas.

In regards to scheduling, every effort has been made to contact patients that require schedule changes, and we will be reaching out again to get them back on schedule. However, if you have not been contacted, please give the office a call to get those appointments scheduled.

We will continue to update our patients through our websitesocial media, and email announcements. When calling, please update your email address with our practice to ensure you get all of our updates and go to our Facebook page to see the latest news. We will also be extending office hours as necessary to accommodate patient needs and assist them in maximizing their insurance.

Thank you, and see you SOON! 😁

The Kids Mile High Team

The Benefits of Dental Sealants for Your Child’s Smile

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A pediatric dentist’s number one job is to care for children’s teeth from birth through to adolescence. That, of course, includes treating oral health issues when they arise — but more importantly, pediatric dentistry is about preventing problems before they start in the first place.

At Kids Mile High, dental sealants are one of our favorite ways to protect your child’s teeth from decay. Never heard of dental sealants? Don’t worry! As your Englewood, Thornton and Cenral Park pediatric dentists, we’re here to answer all of your questions. Read on to learn more about dental sealants for kids and how they can improve your child’s lifelong oral health.

What Are Dental Sealants?

First things first: before you can decide whether dental sealants are right for your child, you’re probably wondering what exactly they are and what they do. Dental sealants are basically like protective armor for your child’s teeth. Made from a thin, BPA-free plastic, dental sealants are painted onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth (usually the premolars and molars) to create a barrier over the enamel of each tooth. Dental sealants block out all the bad stuff, like bacteria, plaque, acids and food particles, to keep your child’s teeth as healthy as can be.

You might be thinking, “Isn’t that what brushing and flossing is for?” Well, you’re right. But brushing and flossing alone often isn’t enough to clean hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in your child’s back teeth. Instead of washing away harmful bacteria or plaque after the fact, dental sealants prevent the nasties from getting in there in the first place. Preventive dental care for the win!

When Should My Child Get Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are most effective on the big chompers, officially known as the molars and premolars. That’s because they have rough, uneven surfaces which are perfect places for bacteria and food debris to hide. So it makes sense that dental sealants for kids should be applied when their molars come in. This will happen twice in your child’s life: their first molars will typically erupt between the ages of six and seven, and their permanent molars will come in around age 12 or 13. It’s best to apply dental sealants for kids shortly after their molars arrive to prevent as much decay as possible.

Dental sealants may also be effective for adults, but only for those who don’t already have decay or fillings. Since dental sealants are a preventive measure against decay, their purpose is to block the bad stuff before it takes hold on your teeth, not afterwards. That’s why children are the best candidates for dental sealants.

How Are Dental Sealants Applied?

So what exactly can you and your child expect from the dental sealant process? It’s a super simple, pain-free procedure! It only takes a few minutes to apply the sealant to each tooth, so your kids will be back doing the things they love in no time. Here’s how it works:

  1. First, your pediatric dentist will thoroughly clean and dry off the teeth to be treated.
  2. Then, we’ll apply a solution to the chewing surfaces of the teeth which will help the sealant stick.
  3. Next, the teeth are once again rinsed and dried.
  4. Finally, we’ll paint the sealant onto your child’s enamel. Once it hardens, you’re free to go on your way!

How Long Do Dental Sealants for Kids Last?

When cared for properly, dental sealants have a lifespan of three to 10 years. That’s up to a whole decade of decay and cavity prevention! That said, things do happen and your child’s dental sealants may become loose. At each appointment, we’ll check on the condition of the sealants to make sure they’re still doing their job and protecting your child’s teeth.

Since the process of applying dental sealant is so quick and easy, we can fix up any missing sealants on the spot. As for what you can do at home to increase the lifespan of dental sealants, make sure your kids avoid hard candies, lollipops, or other hard treats that can chip away at their sealant.

Do Dental Sealants Actually Work?

In a word, yes! They’re one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent tooth decay in kids. The CDC reports that dental sealants protect against 80% of cavities in the first two years, and 50% of cavities for up to four years. It’s also been shown that school-age children without dental sealants have nearly three times as many cavities than children with sealants.

At Kids Mile High, we believe it’s our duty to protect your children’s mouths — and therefore, they’re overall health — from harm. Dental sealants are a quick, painless, cost-effective way to improve your child’s lifelong oral health. Call your Central Park, Englewood and Thornton pediatric dentist today to find out more.

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5 Benefits of Good Oral Health in Children

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5 Benefits of Good Oral Health in Children

It goes without saying that in order to maintain good overall health, we need to take care of our teeth and gums. Regular brushing, flossing and dental visits are all part of any healthy adult’s oral hygiene routine — but did you know that when you start practicing proper dental care can have a big impact on your lifelong health?

At Kids Mile High, we know that children’s oral health matters just as much now as it will in their adult years. Establishing healthy routines from an early age will not only pave the way for proper oral development, it will help your children grow into strong, healthy, confident adults. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, let’s discuss the benefits of good oral health in kids and how your Denver, Englewood and Central Park pediatric dentist can set your child on the path to a healthy smile.

1. Dental Care for Kids Prevents Disease

You might think that taking care of your child’s baby teeth doesn’t matter much, since they’re just going to fall out anyway. But when it comes to kids’ dental care, it’s all about stopping oral health issues before they start. Just like you brush and floss your teeth to keep plaque and disease at bay, your children will benefit from preventive measures too.

It’s important to develop at-home oral health routines for kids as soon as possible, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting your Denver pediatric dentist regularly. Taking good care of young, developing teeth will reduce plaque, prevent gum disease and tooth decay, and improve your child’s overall health. This will mean fewer sick days and time off from school, less time dealing with discomfort from cavities, and more days doing what they do best: being a kid.

2. Proper Oral Hygiene Supports Healthy Tooth Development

Children’s teeth have very different needs than adults’ do. While your mouth is fully developed, your child’s teeth, gums and jaw are still growing and changing every day. That’s why we always recommend that your child see a Denver, Central Park or Englewood pediatric dentist as early as their first birthday (and, of course, continue with routine visits throughout their lives!).

A pediatric dentist like Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger can give your child the support they need throughout their oral development, starting from their very first tooth until their 18th birthday. With their special training in kids’ oral health needs, the doctors at Kids Mile High have the knowledge and expertise to treat younger mouths, catch potential issues early on, and set your kiddos on the path to a beautiful smile.

3. Healthy Teeth Save Money

Children’s oral health care starts at home. The sooner you begin proper oral hygiene routines, the fewer dental appointments your child will need in the long run. As much as we love to see our little patients, the less often your child needs to visit the dentist chair, the better. Your pediatric dentist is always there to help when issues arise, but corrective dentistry can be expensive. It can also cause your child discomfort and anxiety, so outside of routine check-ups, our hope is that your child won’t need any intervention. Teeth-healthy habits are a win-win: your child (and your bank account!) will be healthier overall.

4. Children Thrive with Routines

Believe it or not, brushing and flossing regularly is about more than creating the foundation for a healthy smile. It also forms an important part of a child’s day-to-day routine, which is essential for their development. Kids thrive when they have a routine, as it gives them a sense of security and stability. Whether they understand it yet or not, kids take comfort in repetition and knowing you’re there to go through the motions with them every day. Routines also teach your kiddos time management, responsibility and the importance of healthy habits. So create a fun routine for your kids’ oral health care and they’ll be well on their way to a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth.

5. Healthy Smiles Lead to Happy Kids

At the end of the day, you really can’t put a price on the confidence that a strong, healthy smile brings. Studies have shown that a healthy smile helps kids eat and talk better, which in turn improves their self-esteem. Dealing with oral health issues like tooth decay or bad breath, on the other hand, can cause embarrassment or reduce your child’s confidence. It’s your job as a parent, and our job as your Central Park, Englewood and Denver pediatric dentist, to give your child the tools and support they need to build a healthy, confident smile. After all, a healthy child is a happy child and that’s a win for all.

Ready to book your child’s next dental appointment or have questions about at-home oral health routines for kids? Call Kids Mile High today.

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The Ultimate Teething Survival Guide

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The Ultimate Teething Survival Guide

A baby’s (and new parent’s) life is full of firsts: first smile, first steps, first word, and of course, first tooth! As Denver pediatric dentists, we know how exciting all of these little milestones are. We also know there’s a lot to learn about keeping your little one happy as they go through a million changes — especially the more uncomfortable experiences like teething.

While it’s exciting to see your baby’s first tiny tooth appear, teething can be a challenging time for both parents and child. Your little one is going to experience some discomfort as his or her smile begins to take shape, so you might be in for a few sleepless nights (and a whole lot of drool!). The doctors at Kids Mile High are here to support you and your baby throughout the teething process. Read on for everything you need to know about what to expect, what not to do, and how to keep your baby as comfortable as possible.

What to Expect When Your Baby is Teething

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for when your baby will get her first tooth. For some babies, the first tooth erupts as early as three months, while others remain toothless until after their first birthday. But for most infants, teething symptoms will start before the appearance of any pearly whites. That’s because your baby’s teeth are already beginning to form beneath the surface.

Most babies will experience some level of discomfort during the teething process, but some lucky kiddos (and parents!) will have little to no symptoms. If you’re not sure whether your baby has started teething, here are a few telltale signs:

  • Excess drooling
  • Irritability and fussiness
  • Gumming and biting objects
  • Refusing to eat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Ear pulling and cheek rubbing

Safe Remedies for a Teething Baby

Naturally, a teething baby is going to experience swollen, tender and painful gums. When it comes to soothing your baby during this time, there are plenty of safe, at-home teething remedies you can try. Here are some ways to alleviate teething pain for your child:

  • Chewing: As your baby has probably already been showing you, chewing can help to relieve pain from teething. Chewing, or gumming, applies counter-pressure to developing teeth as they work their way to the surface. Give your baby teething rings or plush teething toys made from safe materials, free from BPA, phthalate, latex and PVC. Cold objects are even more effective against teething pain, so put teething toys in the fridge to give your baby the cool comfort he needs.
  • Gum Massage: This is simple yet effective way to give your baby relief from teething pain. Similar to chewing, massaging your baby’s gums will provide counter-pressure to aching teeth.
  • Cold Food/Drinks: As we mentioned, cold objects are soothing to teething babies. If your baby has been introduced to solid foods, start giving her cold items like yogurt, applesauce or fruit blended with ice. You could also refrigerate breastmilk to give to your little one in a bottle. Another option is to let your baby chew on a cold washcloth that’s been soaked in water or breastmilk.
  • Distractions: You’d be surprised how effective distractions can be for a teething baby. If your kiddo is extra cranky, find ways to take his mind off his teething pain. Go for a walk, read a story and have extra playtime. Focusing on other things will help your little one feel better.
  • Wipe Up Drool: Yep, there’s going to be plenty of drool while your baby is teething. This is totally normal, but it can also cause irritation to your baby. The constant flow can cause a rash or redness to the area around your child’s mouth, so be sure to wipe droll away frequently using a clean cloth.
  • Pain Relievers: When all else fails, talk to your pediatrician about using a baby-safe pain reliever. This might be the best option for babies (and parents) who aren’t getting any sleep due to teething pain.

Avoid These Teething Remedies

While it’s invaluable to know how to relieve your child’s teething pain, it’s just as important to understand what not to do. Certain teething remedies can actually be dangerous for your child. Before you try any teething remedy, make sure you’re avoiding any of the following:

  • Liquid Teething Rings: These are a popular choice as a teething toy for babies, but the liquid inside can pose a health risk. There’s no way to know for sure what it contains and if your baby chews through the plastic, there’s a chance she will ingest the substance. Solid teething rings are a safe, effective alternative.
  • Teething Necklaces/Bracelets: There’s been a lot of hype around teething jewelry to alleviate teething pain, but experts are warning of the dangers of teething necklaces and bracelets. Amber teething jewelry poses a choking hazard, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported a case of a baby who suffered lead poisoning from a homeopathic bracelet. It’s best to avoid these teething devices altogether.
  • Products Containing Benzocaine: No parent wants to see their baby suffering, so it can be tempting to reach for over-the-counter products like teething gels to help them feel better. But the FDA has determined that these products contain benzocaine, which can cause potentially fatal harm to your baby. Benzocaine is associated with methemoglobinemia, a disorder that reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.
  • Homeopathic Remedies: We’d all love to find a safe, all-natural solution for teething babies, but the simple fact is that homeopathic remedies are not evaluated by the FDA.

As a parent, you want the best for your little one — and so do we. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s teeth as they develop, give your Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentist a call. We’re here to help.

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

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New Year’s Resolutions for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

Can you believe that we’re mere weeks away from a brand new decade? At Kids Mile High, we can’t wait to ring in 2020 with big goals for the year ahead. After all, the start of a new year is the perfect time to kickstart all your resolutions. This year, we want to help your kids set themselves up for a lifetime of healthy teeth!

As your Denver pediatric dentists, we know that getting little ones excited about oral health care can be a challenge — but with a little fun and motivation, you can set smart teeth goals for your kids to keep them happy and healthy all year long. Not sure where to start? Here are our favorite New Year’s resolutions for healthy smiles.

  1. Brush Twice a Day — For Two Minutes!

I think this is something we’ve all been guilty of at one point or another — kiddos and adults alike. Even though most people brush their teeth twice a day, most spit and rinse well before the recommended two-minute time frame is up. This year, help your kids (and yourself!) stay on track for great oral health by encouraging them to brush for two minutes, twice a day. You could even make a game of it by picking a fun, two-minute song to play while they brush. This is sure to keep them scrubbing their pearly whites until the final note.

  1. Floss Once Per Day, Every Day

Brushing your teeth twice a day is a fantastic start on your kids’ New Year’s resolutions, but brushing alone isn’t enough to keep plaque and cavities at bay. Food particles can get stuck in hard-to-reach places between your teeth, leading to harmful build-up over time. To truly improve your kids’ oral health this year, you need to make flossing a regular part of their dental routine. And what better time to start creating new, healthy habits than the start of a new year? To get your kids to floss every day, make it a family affair and floss together. Kids love to imitate their parents, so show off your flossing skills and soon enough, your little ones will follow your lead.

  1. Drink Plenty of Water (And Limit Sugary Drinks)

Everyone knows how harmful sugar can be for your teeth. Plaque, tooth decay, cavities, oh my! This year, swap sugary drinks for the health-boosting benefits of good old fashioned water. Water is the healthiest drink in the world, not only because it’s hydrating and necessary for all your bodily functions — it also washes away bad bacteria and build-up on your teeth. On top of that, water also boosts your natural saliva production, which ultimately means that water prevents tooth decay. Talk about a healthy, tooth-friendly beverage! This year, avoid packing sugary drinks like juice or pop in your kids’ lunches and encourage them to drink plenty of water instead.

  1. Eat Tooth-Friendly Foods

Just like sugary drinks can wreak havoc on your kids’ oral health, so can sugary foods. One of the best New Year’s resolutions for kids is to eat more healthy, tooth-friendly foods (like vegetables) and cut down on foods that are bad for their teeth (like candy). Set your kids up for a healthy year by packing tooth-healthy lunches with plenty of whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and, of course, plenty of water. After all, your kids’ teeth are only as healthy as the food you give them. Start making healthier choices today to give them a lifetime of good oral health.

  1. Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports

Not-so-fun fact: almost five million teeth are knocked out during sports every year in the United States. So parents with active kids, this one’s for you. If your child plays sports or participates in activities that put their teeth in harm’s way, this might be the year to invest in a mouthguard for your kiddo. Contact sports (like football, hockey, soccer and so on) put your kids at risk of chipping or breaking their teeth. A mouthguard offers necessary protection against falls, collisions or contact with hard surfaces. This keeps your child’s teeth safe and healthy, and also helps them avoid emergency visits to the dentist. You can buy ready-made mouthguards at sporting goods stores or you can have a custom mouthguard made by your Denver pediatric dentist. Not sure if your child needs a mouthguard? Talk to the experts at Kids Mile High.

  1. Visit Your Denver Pediatric Dentist Twice a Year

The foundation for good oral health starts at home, with regular brushing and flossing, and a proper diet. But to make sure your kids’ teeth are as healthy as possible, they should see their pediatric dentist twice a year for routine check-ups, professional cleanings and fluoride treatments. A dentist can catch underlying oral health issues that you or your child might not have noticed. They also have professional tools to give your children’s teeth a deep clean, removing all the bad stuff they may have missed. You can even schedule your kids’ appointments in advance, so you always have a visit with your Englewood, Central Park or Thornton pediatric dentist on the books. If you haven’t booked your child’s next dental appointment, call Kids Mile High today.

Ready to get a jumpstart on your kids’ New Year’s resolutions? The doctors at Kids Mile High are happy to answer any questions and provide helpful tips for keeping your kiddos on track. Let’s start the new decade off right with happy, healthy smiles for life.

Children trick or treating dressed as two witches and a devil.

Happy Halloween! The Best and Worst Candy for Your Teeth

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Happy Halloween! The Best and Worst Candy for Your Teeth

Children trick or treating dressed as two witches and a devil.

October is here and for the patients at our Denver pediatric dentistry office, that means one thing and one thing only: Halloween is coming! It seems like the stores have been stocked with ghouls, goblins and goodies for months now, but it’s officially time to find a costume and get your little ones ready for trick-or-treating. But before your kiddos go door-to-door with their masks and pillowcases, there are a few things to know about their favorite Halloween treats.

The doctors at Kids Mile High love Halloween (and candy!) as much as our little patients, but the sugary treats handed out at this time of year aren’t exactly good for our teeth. Excess sugars build up on the teeth, leading to an influx of harmful cavity-causing bacteria, so no sugar is always the best policy when it comes to our teeth. That said, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the Halloween festivities and enjoying a special treat (or two…or three). Just be sure to brush and floss extra carefully!

Not all candies are created equally, though, and certain Halloween treats are better for your teeth than others. As you head into the Halloween season, here’s a handy list of the best and worst candy for your teeth so you can help your kiddos make informed decisions about what to eat.

The Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth

 

  1. Sticky and Chewy Candies

Jujubes, Tootsie Rolls, Gummy Bears, oh my! As a general rule of thumb, the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. That’s because these candies cling to your teeth, even after you’ve gobbled them up. The sticky sugars hang around, waiting for a chance to create a cavity. It’s especially important for kiddos with braces to avoid these types of Halloween treats. Sticky, chewy candies — like caramels and gummies — can get stuck in the brackets, making it difficult for your kids to properly clean their teeth and at times can break your appliances or remove brackets. That’s why it’s best to avoid sticky candies altogether this Halloween.

 

  1. Hard Candies & Lollipops

This one probably won’t come as a surprise, but hard candies and lollipops can be incredibly damaging to your teeth. Since they’re meant to be enjoyed slowly, these candies spend a lot more time in your mouth than treats you can chew, giving bacteria extra time to chow down on cavity-causing sugars. Hard candies also make it harder for your saliva to do its job of rinsing all the bad stuff away, so as far as your teeth are concerned, the worst candies are ones that take hours to consume. This Halloween, pick treats that can be eaten quickly and then be sure to brush your teeth right away to limit exposure to sugar.

 

  1. Sour Candies

Sour candies are always a favorite at Halloween, but they’re a lot more harmful to your teeth than you might realize. On top of a whack load of sugar, they also contain acid — that’s what creates that super satisfying, pucker-inducing sour taste — which contributes to the breakdown of tooth enamel. Like most things, sour candies won’t cause too much damage when consumed in moderation, but over time, they can have lasting effects on your teeth. If your kids love sour candies, try to limit their intake to only a few to reduce the potential for long-term damage and always rinse your mouth with water after enjoying the sour treats.

The Best Halloween Candy for Teeth

 

  1. Dark Chocolate

We’ve all been hearing about the health benefits of dark chocolate for years, and this applies as much to your teeth as it does to your overall health. Dark chocolate contains minimal sugar, is full of antioxidants and even has antibacterial properties that help fight plaque. The same can’t be said for milk or white chocolate, though, which are full of sugar and often contain unhealthy additives. Make sure to check your kids’ candy labels to make sure they’re getting the healthiest Halloween candies possible this year.

 

  1. Sugar-free Gummies and Candies

While regular gummies and hard candies are bad for your teeth, sugar-free versions can be a safer alternative. After all, sugar is the leading cause of cavities, so reducing sugar wherever possible is always a good thing. But that doesn’t mean sugar-free candies are healthy — they often contain harmful ingredients, like aspartame, to make up for the lack of sugar. They’re simply a better option for kiddos who love to munch on sticky candies at Halloween. Those with xylitol are the best since it has now been discovered that xylitol can help fight tooth decay.

 

  1. Candy with Nuts

While most candy bars are full of sugar and can’t be classified as good for you, many favorites contain nuts which can give otherwise unhealthy treats a helpful, healthy boost. Nuts add fiber and protein to candy bars, and they also help to break up the stickiness of the treat, making it harder for sugar to cling to your teeth. The only exception to this is those kiddos that are in braces, we discourage anything with nuts as they can also cause the brackets to come off or bend the wires causing an unexpected visit to the orthodontist.  O’Henry, Snickers and many Dairy Milk flavors (like Fruit & Nut) are all classics, but there are plenty of healthier alternatives out there. KIND bars are the perfect store-bought solution or try this homemade chocolate bar recipe. That way, you’ll be sure to have a healthy Halloween candy for your kids to enjoy after a night of trick-or-treating.

Child eating lunch consisting of cheese, eggs, and healthy greens.

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

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Child eating lunch consisting of cheese, eggs, and healthy greens.

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and school is back in session. For the patients at our Denver pediatric dentistry practice, that means it’s time to settle back into routine. The start of the school year is a busy time for youngsters, and it can be just as hectic for parents to adjust. Between getting your kids ready, making healthy lunches and getting your kids to school on time, there’s a million little things you have to do before you even step out the door in the morning.

The doctors at Kids Mile High want your school year to run as smoothly as possible. We also want your kiddos to be as healthy as can be — and to us, a healthy child starts with healthy teeth. With a little bit of planning, you can support your child’s oral health this school year by packing nutritious, delicious back-to-school lunches. Not sure where to start? Here are a few healthy lunch ideas for kids that they’re sure to love.

1. Leafy Green Veggies for Essential Vitamins and Minerals

We know that getting your kids excited about broccoli can be easier said than done. But there’s a reason leafy greens are king when it comes to health-boosting foods. Green vegetables are especially beneficial for the development of strong teeth for a few reasons: they’re chock full of essential vitamins and minerals that work to strengthen enamel. Kiddos not into steamed broccoli or kale salads? That’s okay! There are tons of creative ways to sneak leafy greens into your child’s lunch. Try one of these kid-approved broccoli recipes to get you started.

2. Yogurt, Cheese and Tofu for Enamel-Strengthening Calcium

Dairy products (like cheese and yogurt) and calcium-fortified products (like tofu) are rich in calcium, which also helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Pack yogurt cups in your child’s lunch for a healthy snack (just be sure to look out for harmful ingredients like added sugars). String cheese is also a fun, interactive treat. Want to stick to a more plant-based lunch? Cut tofu into bite-sized cubes or make a tofu scramble for a quick and easy calcium-infused lunch.

3. Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables to Scrub Away Plaque

Ideally, we’d all brush our teeth after every meal, not just in the morning and at night. But youngsters have enough to think about while in the classroom, especially at the beginning of the school year; telling them to brush and floss after lunch might be expecting a little too much. However, that doesn’t mean your kids’ teeth have to suffer during the school year. When you pack the right foods, your child’s back-to-school lunch can do double duty as both fuel and a plaque-fighting powerhouse. Crunchy veggies like carrots and celery work to scrub plaque from your kids’ teeth as they chew. Same goes for crunchy fruits like apples and pears. Bonus: these foods are also full of fiber, which is beneficial for your child’s overall health. To make sure your kiddos eat their veggies, include yummy homemade dips like hummus or ranch.

4. Hard-boiled Eggs for a Protein Boost

All kids like to eat with their hands, right? When their school lunch packs a healthy punch, that’s fine with us! Eggs are one of our favorite school snacks for kids because they’re protein-dense and contain vitamin D, both of which are essential to healthy teeth. Vitamin D also helps you absorb calcium, so eating eggs together with dairy or calcium-rich foods is a winning combo. Hard-boiled eggs are an easy finger food for school lunches, but if you have a picky eater, you could go for a kid-friendly egg salad sandwich instead. Then have them wash it down with a glass of milk or a side of yogurt to make sure they’re getting the most of their lunch.

5. Nuts and Seeds for Healthy Fats and Protein

Nuts are one of the best superfoods out there, thanks to their powerful nutrient make-up. Calcium, phosphorous, protein, heart-healthy fats and more — nuts and seeds have everything your kiddos need for a healthy smile and body. Our favorite nuts for oral health are almonds, cashews and walnuts, all of which are a nutritious snack for kids on their own. If you want to make your child’s lunch a little more interesting, pack apple slices with a side of almond butter to double down on tooth-healthy snacks.

6. Fruit for a Nutrient-Dense Sweet Treat

Most kids have a bit of a sweet tooth, but candy and ice cream aren’t exactly good for their teeth. You can still give them a little dessert in their school lunches by packing fruits like berries. Strawberries (and all berries, really) are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps repair the collagen in the dentin of the teeth. For a sweet treat at their end of their healthy school lunch, include a small portion of your child’s favorite berries, or add berries to plain greek yogurt for a healthy snack free from artificial sweeteners.

7. Water for Healthy, Happy Teeth

Last but not least: to make sure your child is absorbing all of these essential vitamins and minerals, make sure they’re drinking plenty of water. This will help to wash all of the good stuff through your child’s system, as well as whisk away plaque and harmful bacteria on the teeth. Fluoridated water is especially good for teeth. Known as “nature’s cavity fighter,” it’s the simplest way to avoid cavities and maintain a healthy smile. So always include water in your kids’ school lunches to set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

dr roger with child paitent

Why Preventive Dentistry is the Best Dentistry for Kids!

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dr roger with child paitentThe best way to set your kids up for good oral health is to teach them positive habits from a young age. As pediatric dentists in Central Park, the doctors at Kids Mile High are dedicated to educating youngsters on how to take care of their teeth now so they don’t run into problems in the future. After all, it’s way easier to stop a problem from occurring than it is to fix it after it happens. That’s why, when it comes to dentistry for kids, preventive dentistry is the best option.

At our orthodontic offices in Englewood, Central Park and Thornton, preventive dentistry is one of our core focuses. Dr. Paddy and the team believe that good oral hygiene and regular visits with a pediatric dentist will lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth. If you’re not sure what exactly preventive dentistry is, read on and then book your child’s next appointment. We’re sure you’ll be convinced that preventive dentistry will protect your kids’ teeth from intervention down the line.

What is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry refers to the steps you take to care of your teeth to keep them strong and healthy. Taking preventive measures helps you avoid oral health problems like cavities, gum disease, enamel decay and more. Preventive dentistry isn’t just important for adults. In fact, the earlier you start being proactive about your dental health, the better, so it’s important to get your kids started as soon as possible. The problem is it can be hard to motivate kids to brush, floss and get excited about visiting the dentist regularly. That’s where your pediatric dentist comes in: he or she will help your child understand how practicing healthy habits today will mean less dentist visits in the long run.

So what exactly does preventive dentistry entail? Lots of things! There are so many ways to protect your kids’ teeth from problems before they even begin, starting with regular check-ups. In a routine check-up, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Owens or Dr. Castro will examine your child’s teeth, gums and jaw, and a dental hygienist will clean their teeth to get rid of any plaque build-up. Another aspect of preventive dentistry is fluoride treatments. Fluoride will keep your kids’ teeth super strong and help prevent the deterioration of their enamel. You can also ask your pediatric dentist about getting a BPA-free dental sealant to protect teeth from harmful bacteria and oral acid.

While check-ups are incredibly useful and important for keeping your teeth healthy, preventive dentistry really happens at home. Kids Mile High will teach your kids how to maintain their strong smile every day, but it’s up to parents to keep track of their kids’ dental hygiene when they’re not in the dentist chair. This is what your kids (and you!) should do to take care of their teeth:

  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss once daily
  • Avoid sugary, unhealthy foods
  • Visit their pediatric dentist twice a year for a check-up
  • Ask Dr. Paddy, Dr. Castro and Dr. Owens about dental sealants

How Your Kids Will Benefit from Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry is beneficial for literally everyone (or at least, anyone with teeth!), but it’s most effective for kids. That’s because their teeth are still developing and haven’t been exposed to as many harmful things. By taking preventive measures before they get their adult teeth, you’ll ensure their permanent teeth come in strong, healthy and beautiful.

Being proactive about dental hygiene will also reduce the need for intervention in the future. If your kids are brushing and flossing regularly, they’re less likely to develop gum disease. If they’re avoiding sugary treats, they won’t need as many fillings. If they keep up with regular check-ups and receive fluoride or sealant treatments, they won’t suffer from as much enamel wear. Don’t get us wrong, we love to see your children’s smiling faces at Kids Mile High. But the less they need to see us outside of routine visits, the better!

As much as your kids will benefit from preventive dentistry, parents will too. When your kids practice proper oral care, it means less dollars you have to spend on treatment down the line. So take the time to educate your kids and encourage them to take good care of their teeth. And if problems do arise, don’t stress. Just call your favorite pediatric dentists in Denver and we’ll get your child’s teeth back on track for lifelong health.