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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 Stapleton, 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, Stapleton 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.

child in dentist chair smiling

The Ins and Outs of Sedation Dentistry for Kids

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child in dentist chair smilingIt’s normal for kiddos to feel scared or anxious about going to the dentist (even adults feel that way sometimes!). It’s often just because they don’t really know what to expect or they’re afraid it will hurt. When you come in to Kids Mile High to see a Stapleton or Englewood pediatric dentist Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger, you can be rest assured they’ve received extensive training and have experience in helping even the most apprehensive patients feel comfortable and safe. Before we consider sedation dentistry for kids or anesthesia, we attempt behavior management techniques like positive reinforcement and tell-show-do where we get patients used to the sights and sounds of our tools to alleviate anxiety. Yet, there are times when dental sedation is the safest route.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry means using medication to make a patient very calm and comfortable during a dental treatment. While we’ll get into more detail on the different types, sedation dentistry for kids can range from something mild like nitrous oxide, which dulls pain and makes kids feel relaxed and happy, to general anesthesia, which entails them being in a deep sleep for the procedure.

When is Sedation Dentistry Used for Kids?

As we said before, in most cases, we try behavior management techniques before opting for dental sedation. However, there are cases when sedation dentistry is the best approach, such as with:

  • Very young patients who need extensive dental work
  • Patients with certain special health care needs, especially if multiple procedures are being performed
  • Kids who have an extremely strong gag reflex or cannot sit still to the point where their safety would be compromised
  • Children with severe dental anxiety, such as a case of having a true dental phobia

What are the Different Types of Dental Sedation?

At Kids Mile High, we offer the following types of sedation dentistry for children:

  • Nitrous Oxide – Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas” or “happy gas,” is a colorless gas that’s mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask. It’s a mild sedative that makes kiddos feel extremely relaxed, “floaty,” euphoric and probably a little silly. Sounds like they’ll fit right in at Kids Mile, huh? It has the added benefit of reducing pain and discomfort. While patients can sometimes feel drowsy once the nitrous oxide starts working, they’ll be awake and conscious. So is nitrous oxide safe for kids? Yes. It’s been used for many years in dentistry and has minimal side effects. When we’re finished with the procedure, your child will breathe in pure oxygen for a few minutes to clear out any lingering nitrous oxide. They’ll feel back to normal quickly and can resume their regular activities almost immediately.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation – Oral conscious sedation offers moderate sedation so it’s a little stronger than nitrous oxide. Your child will take an oral medication before their procedure. It typically takes effect in about 20 minutes. The medication will make your child relaxed and drowsy, though they’ll still be conscious. It also dulls the senses to help alleviate discomfort. A lot of patients don’t remember the details of the procedure or the sensations clearly after it wears off.
  • In-Office General Anesthesia – With general anesthesia, your little one will be in a deep sleep and won’t feel or remember a thing. We have a special anesthesia suite so we can offer it in our office. An anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia and monitor your child while Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger work on their smile.

Is Dental Sedation Safe for Children?

Yes, dental sedation is safe for children as long as it’s administered by a professional. As pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are trained in sedation and can safely and effectively offer nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. We also provide in-office general anesthesia and have anesthesiologists from CarePoint Anesthesia come in and work with us to ensure it’s safe for patients. As with any procedure or medication, there are sedation dentistry risks. However, we take every step necessary to manage them and we always weigh the risks versus the benefits. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your child and get a comprehensive health history so we can determine if sedation is the safest and best choice for their individual needs.

If you’re looking for dentistry for kids in Englewood, Stapleton or, soon, Thornton, CO, look no further than Kids Mile High! If you do want to consider sedation dentistry for your child, we’ll evaluate your little one, go over the benefits and risks and answer all of your questions so you feel informed and confident in your decision. Schedule your child’s appointment today to learn more.

 

child holding onto red balloon smiling

What Parents Need to Know About Cavities in Children

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child holding onto red balloon smiling

We know we’ve said it before but we’re saying it again, baby teeth are super important! Though it might not seem like these adorable, little, temporary teeth are all that susceptible to tooth decay, they are and teeth are at risk even before kiddos are introduced to the joys of candy and sugary treats. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the leading chronic conditions in childhood in the United States. In fact, about 20% of kids between the ages of five and 11 have at least one untreated cavity. Yikes! Well, the good news is, tooth decay in children is preventable and we’re sharing what you need to know about kids and cavities.

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also known as cavities or caries, is the destruction of the structure of the tooth. When the acids from plaque break down the tooth’s enamel by depleting calcium, holes can form and these holes are, you guessed it, cavities.

What are the Causes of Tooth Decay in Children?

Cavities in children start with the bacteria in the mouth. Where does the bacteria come from? Well, this might be a shocker but we often get these specific cavity-causing germs, which come from a group called mutans streptococcus, from our parents before the age of two. But, before you blame yourself, the vast majority of people’s mouths become colonized with the bacteria at some point. Anyway, the bacteria love carbohydrates (sugar and starches) and they snack on the carbs after a child eats or drinks something and a reaction occurs that produces acids. The acids are what deplete the tooth of minerals (demineralization) and mingle with saliva to form plaque, which sticks to the teeth. Over time, the acid eats away at the tooth enamel and causes cavities like we mentioned earlier. As you can see, every child is at risk for tooth decay but these factors can make the risk even greater:

  • Eating and drinking lots of sugary treats and starches
  • Little or no fluoride in your water supply
  • Not brushing and flossing regularly
  • High levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Decreased saliva flow (can be the result of dehydration, mouth breathing, allergies or asthma, or certain medications)

What are the Signs of Cavities in Children?

Sometimes, a child will have a cavity but won’t exhibit any signs or symptoms. That’s why the best way to determine if a child has tooth decay – and to prevent it from happening at all – is to see a pediatric dentist. However, in general, here are some signs of tooth decay in children to look for:

  • White spots on the teeth, which is an indication that the enamel may be breaking down.
  • Brown or black spots on the teeth.
  • Sensitivity to sweet or cold foods and drinks.
  • Pain around a tooth (it’s often hard for a parent to detect cavities in toddlers or babies because they can’t verbalize that their tooth hurts but an older child can tell you outright they’re in pain)

What are a Child’s Tooth Decay Treatment Options?

When your child comes into our Denver or Englewood pediatric dental office, we examine their mouth, chat with you about their history and risk factors and, if necessary, take low-dose, digital x-rays so we can see inside and in between the teeth. Using this information, we’re able to diagnose cavities in kids. If we do find cavities, common child tooth decay treatment options include:

  • Taking a preventative approach in the earliest stages. Sometimes, we can catch emerging decay before an actual cavity has formed and promote remineralization instead of opting for a restorative treatment.
  • Removing decay and restoring the tooth with a composite filling. We use Herculite composite resin. It’s one of the strongest composites on the market and we match it to your child’s tooth color so it’s undetectable.
  • Performing a baby root canal, known as a pulpotomy or pulp therapy, in severe cases where decay has led to infection. A root canal can save the tooth and then we’re able to restore it with a NuSmile Zirconia crown. These crowns look completely realistic, are metal-free and very durable.

At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, we are all about making visits – even if they’re for restorative treatment – a positive experience for parents and kids alike. We’ll sit down with you and explain your child’s diagnosis and present you with your treatment options. We have some pretty high-tech tools, including the WaterLase MD and WaterLase iPlus lasers. So, in many cases, we can painlessly remove decay without a drill or even the need for shots. Additionally, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are both experts in sedation dentistry for children. We’ll work with you to find a solution that ensures your child gets the care they need in a way that’s stress-free for both of you.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

As promised, on to the good news! Preventing tooth decay in children is absolutely possible. Here are some ways you can do just that:

  • Make sure your child flosses at least once daily as soon as any two teeth are touching and brushes twice a day for two minutes each brushing session once the first tooth erupts. Start off with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste and then increase it to a pea-sized amount when they turn three. Brush for them when they’re infants and toddlers and then be sure to monitor their brushing until they’re about seven- or eight-years-old.
  • Talk with your pediatric dentist about your child’s fluoride intake. Fluoride is essential for keeping kids’ teeth strong. If you don’t have fluoride in your water or your child only drinks bottled water, ask your dentist or pediatrician about fluoride supplements. They may also recommend adding a fluoride mouthwash to your child’s oral hygiene routine. Professional fluoride treatments, like the ones we offer at Kids Mile High, are beneficial too.
  • Encourage your little one to eat a well-balanced diet and limit sugary beverages, sweets and starchy foods like white bread and potato chips. We’re not saying you have to have a sugar-free household but enjoying treats in moderation will go a long way in preventing tooth decay in children.
  • Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle that contains anything other than water. Since even breast milk and formula contain sugars, it can lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Finish feedings before they doze off and consider wiping down their gums with a moist piece of gauze before putting them down.
  • Stick with small amounts of 100% fruit juice that has no sugar added if you want to give your child juice. Don’t let them have it in a sippy cup to slowly drink throughout the day. Instead, offer it only at a meal or a snack so their teeth aren’t constantly bathed in sugar.
  • Consider sealants. We use BPA-free sealants on the chewing surfaces of kids’ teeth. They’ve been shown to be extremely effective in preventing tooth decay since they act as a barrier and keep food, acid and bacteria from settling into the pits and grooves of the teeth.
  • Come in for regular check-ups and cleanings at your pediatric dentist. Not only can we find cavities early on when treatment is easier; we can also help you develop a stellar homecare routine.

We hope our guide to cavities in children can help you give your kiddo the oral hygiene knowledge and tools they need to ward off tooth decay. Remember, prevention is the best form of dentistry and it starts with a checkup! Book your child’s visit with an Englewood or Denver pediatric dentist at Kids Mile High today!

Dr. Roger and young paitent Kids Mile High

Meet Our Denver Pediatric Dentist: 20 Questions for Dr. Roger Castro

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Dr. Roger and young paitent Kids Mile HighYou may know Dr. Roger Castro as your super awesome Stapleton pediatric dentist who’s dedicated to making dental visits relaxed, positive and fun for kids and parents alike. However, did you also know when he’s not making smiles sparkle at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, he’s an ice cream aficionado and loves rooting for the San Francisco 49ers? Well, there are more fun facts where those came from. To help you get to know Dr. Roger a little better, we played a game of 20 questions.

  1. Where did you grow up?

I was born in El Salvador and I grew up in California, Texas, Tennessee, and Maryland.

  1. Why did you become a Denver pediatric dentist?

I like joking around with kids all day!

  1.     What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

The best vacation I ever went on was to South Africa.

  1.     Who is your role model?

My dad is my role model.

  1.     What’s your favorite thing about coming to work at Kids Mile High every day?

Seeing the colorful fish!

  1.     What are your three favorite ice cream flavors?

I love vanilla, cookies and cream, and peanut butter ice cream.

  1.     What’s your favorite movie?

Die Hard

  1.     What was the most challenging part of dental education?

Definitely the one million exams!!

  1.     How would you describe your perfect weekend?

My perfect weekend is watching sports with my baby on my lap.

  1.  Did you like going to dentist as a kid?

Yes, even though I bit the dentist!

  1.  What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver?

Snooze

  1.  What is something your patients would be surprised to learn about you?

I hate getting blood taken.

  1.  Which sports team do you root for?

The San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, and the New York Knicks

  1.  What do you think makes you different from other pediatric dentists?

I am silly!

  1.  If you could have a super power what would it be?

My super power would be time travel.

  1.  What was your first concert?

The first concert I went to was Wu Tang Clan with Rage Against the Machine.

  1.  What’s your spirit animal?

A squirrel

  1.  What’s the best advice you can give parents about caring for their kids’ teeth?

Encourage lots of water, fruits and veggies!!

  1.  What is your favorite food?

Maryland blue crabs

  1.  What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

If you want to meet Dr. Roger in real life and learn more about what makes him such a fantastic Denver pediatric dentist, schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today!

girl-holding-dental-mouth-sample

Can You Straighten Teeth Without Braces? Meet Myobrace!

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girl-holding-dental-mouth-sampleThe vast majority of kids will eventually have crooked teeth to some degree and end up wearing braces or Invisalign Teen. In fact, in North America, about 80 percent of teens are currently receiving orthodontic treatment. While, sure, some of it’s determined by genetics, crooked teeth are more often than not caused by incorrect jaw and facial development, usually as the result of poor myofunctional habits, such as thumb sucking, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing. Emerging issues can be seen in kids as young as three and, many times, if not dealt with, this misalignment of the teeth and jaws can lead to the need for extensive orthodontic treatment or even surgery later in life. At Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry, both Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro are trained in something called myofunctional orthodontics and we use the Myobrace system to get kids’ oral development back on track and help align the jaws and straighten teeth without braces.

Smile Concerns

The whole aim of braces, or any type of orthodontic treatment for that matter, is to fix malocclusions, or issues with the positioning, alignment or spacing of the teeth and jaws. Crooked teeth and jaws are a cosmetic concern and they can lead to teasing, make kids feel self-conscious and throw off the balance of a child’s facial features. Yet, it goes beyond appearance because malocclusions can also affect the airway, make teeth harder to clean, leading to cavities and gum disease, and interfere with the ability to chew and speak properly.

We can see some red flags from a fairly early age, such as impending crowding or a developing underbite. In certain cases, your dentist or orthodontist will recommend interceptive orthodontic treatment, also known as two-phase orthodontic treatment. With this approach, kids wear appliances or braces while they’re still growing. This is because, at this stage, growth and development of the teeth and jaws can be easily manipulated. Then, the child will have a resting period for a few years while the remainder of the permanent teeth come in and, finally, they’ll finish up with braces or Invisalign Teen when they’re a teenager. This all sounds great but the expense and time involved can be significant. Additionally, not all young kids are thrilled about wearing braces and the responsibility that comes with it, which is why many parents want to know how to get straight teeth without braces. That’s where Myobrace comes in!

What is Myobrace?

The Myobrace system is based on the principles of myofunctional orthodontics, or preventative pre-orthodontics. Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro love the system because it’s a natural way to fix bad myofunctional habits (i.e., tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, mouth breathing and reverse swallowing) and exert light force to help align the jaws and teeth into their correct position. It also optimizes facial and jaw development, so teeth come in naturally straight, often without braces or extractions.

Myobrace consists of a series of removable, oral appliances that kids wear for one to two hours every day and overnight while they’re sleeping. They don’t have to wear them to school or out in public, which can be a concern when it comes to standard orthodontic appliances. In the first stage of treatment, the appliance is aimed at habit correction to improve the odds that the little one’s jaw will grow to its full size with enough room for all of the permanent teeth to come in. For kiddos with underdeveloped jaws, there may be a second stage that aids in arch development and there are appliances that can be used in combination with Myobrace. There is also an alignment stage that can use gentle pressure to encourage teeth to shift into their natural position. The last stage of Myobrace treatment is the retention stage and the goal is to make sure a child’s good oral habits are maintained. This can usually prevent the need for a permanent retainer.

In addition to the appliance component, kids also do myofunctional exercises, called trainer activities, to really get to the root of the problem. These exercises are kind of like a workout for their mouth and only take a few minutes a day. A lot of our young Englewood and Denver Myobrace patients find them to be pretty fun and kids can complete their exercises while watching television or doing their homework. At the end of treatment, Myobrace results include a properly developed and positioned jaw, aligned teeth and an open airway.

What are the Benefits of Myobrace?

  • Teaches children to breathe out of their nose
  • Helps kids find the correct tongue resting position
  • Encourages correct swallowing
  • Keeps the lips together
  • Exerts gentle force to develop and align the jaws and straighten teeth without braces
  • Improves facial development
  • Doesn’t need to be worn all day or at school
  • Removable, allowing for proper brushing and flossing
  • No food restrictions
  • Opens the airway, which can improve asthma, allergies and snoring
  • Corrects bad myofunctional habits, truly addressing the underlying cause of crooked teeth and underdeveloped jaws
  • Comfortable
  • Kids won’t experience a relapse like they often will with braces or Invisalign
  • Can be effective for children three- through 15-years-old
  • No complicated appliances or brackets and wires

Does Myobrace Work?

The Myobrace system does work! Studies have illustrated that it can be effective for a variety of cases. While braces might be the more well-known treatment, doctors have actually been using myofunctional orthodontics with great success for over 25 years. Because Myobrace tackles the root of a child’s malocclusion, the results are permanent. With traditional orthodontics, if you don’t wear a retainer afterwards and, sometimes, even if you do, the teeth will shift back to their old positions. This doesn’t happen with Myobrace. Though Myobrace results can vary depending on a number of factors, it allows many patients to avoid braces completely. In the small number of instances that braces are needed when a patient is a teenager, they typically only have to be worn for a short period of time.

Interested in learning more about how we can straighten teeth without braces? Or, want to find out if your child is a candidate for our Englewood or Denver Myobrace treatment? Schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today!

baby teeth

Everything You Need to Know About Your Child Losing Baby Teeth

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baby teeth

You made it through teething, got a few years of a break (well, as far as your kiddo’s pearly whites anyway) and, suddenly, your child’s first loose tooth enters the picture. The smile changes are back again in full force! Unlike sprouting those primary teeth, the process of a child losing baby teeth and getting their permanent ones isn’t typically painful. Once they get used to the sensation of a tooth being wiggly and realize it doesn’t hurt when it falls out, most kids enjoy this stage. The Tooth Fairy is involved after all. For the parents at our Englewood and Stapleton pediatric dental offices, it can be a different story. They often worry about the order of eruption or maybe their child’s loose tooth won’t come out or, perhaps, they’re concerned about the appearance of the new permanent teeth. To put your mind at ease, the team here at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry is breaking down everything you need to know about your child losing baby teeth.

When do Kids Start to Lose Baby Teeth?

The average age for a child to lose their first tooth varies pretty dramatically. That’s why it’s totally understandable for parents to be concerned when their little one’s friends are getting visits from the Tooth Fairy but their child isn’t. Almost every baby teeth chart says kids start to lose baby teeth between the ages of six- and seven-years-old. This is pretty average but some children start losing baby teeth as early as age four and others begin as late as seven or even eight. It doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong but it’s always best to check with your pediatric dentist if your child’s baby teeth seem to be hanging in there for longer than usual.

A baby tooth almost always falls out because the permanent tooth underneath it pushes it out as it starts to come in. Though sometimes, injury, cavities or other issues can result in a baby tooth falling out when there is no permanent tooth to replace it. When this happens, the other teeth have a tendency to want to fill in the space, which may lead to crowding. In these instances, we usually use a space maintainer to hold room for the grown-up tooth to come in later.

What Order do Kids Lose Baby Teeth?

One of the most common questions Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro get is what order do kids lose baby teeth? Well, in most cases, the primary teeth fall out in the same order they erupted. The American Dental Association has a super handy baby teeth and permanent teeth eruption chart that will give you a good idea as to the timeline. Typically, the lower front teeth are the first to say goodbye, followed by the top front teeth. Much like the baby teeth order, the rest tend to fall out symmetrically, meaning the tooth on one side will shed around the same time as its partner on the other side of the mouth. Bottom teeth usually fall out before the same teeth in the upper arch.

Will Baby Teeth Fall Out on Their Own? Can I Help Them Along?

The vast majority of the time, baby teeth will fall out on their own. Every once in a while, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Castro have to help a tooth along and encourage it to erupt but this is rare. If a child’s loose tooth won’t come out, have them wiggle it gently with their tongue. Each tooth goes through a whole process where the root is broken down and absorbed and it can sometimes take a few months from the time a tooth gets wiggly to when it finally hits the road. So, we don’t recommend the old dental floss on the door knob trick or yanking it out since it might not be ready. Pulling a tooth before its time can lead to damage or infection.

Why are my Child’s Permanent Teeth so Big?

Around age four, a child’s jaw and face start to grow to accommodate the permanent teeth. Not only are there more permanent teeth than primary teeth, they’re also larger and not as white. They might even have visible ridges that will eventually smooth out as a child puts them to good use chewing and biting. The difference can be a bit startling at first but when all of the baby teeth are gone and you’re comparing these larger teeth to teeth of similar size, your child’s smile will look much like yours.

When do Permanent Teeth Grow in?

When the first baby tooth falls out (most likely one of the lower front teeth) around the age of six or seven, a permanent tooth should be right behind it. If a baby tooth falls out and no permanent tooth replaces it after six months, contact your pediatric dentist for evaluation. The tooth could just be taking its sweet old time or it could be due to an issue like a congenitally missing tooth. We’ll get to the bottom of it and make sure your child’s smile development stays on track.

In addition to the replacement teeth coming in, the first permanent molars also tend to grow in between six- and seven-years-old, which is why they’re sometimes called the “six-year molars.” This can be a little confusing because these teeth are erupting into an open area where there wasn’t baby teeth before. Some kids gets these permanent teeth first while others get their lower front teeth first.

From the time kids start losing baby teeth to the time the final one falls out, they’re in a phase known as “mixed dentition,” meaning they have a mixture of primary and permanent teeth. This mixed dentition stage lasts until 12- or 13-years-old. At this age, once the permanent second molars come in, kids have all of their grown-up teeth except for the wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth erupt at all, it’s usually between 17- and 21-years-old.

Since the permanent teeth need to last a lifetime and there are no backups waiting in the wings if they fall out, oral care becomes more important than ever. Encourage your child to brush those grown-up teeth twice a day, floss once daily and limit snacking and sugary treats. Be sure to keep up with regular dental checkups and cleanings too.

Throughout the process of your child losing baby teeth and gaining new ones, try to keep in mind that every child is unique and primary teeth usually make their exit when they’re ready. If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s smile is taking shape, schedule a visit at Kids Mile High in Englewood or Stapleton. We’ll work with you to keep your little one’s teeth healthy and strong!

 

mouthguards-protect-little-smiles

How Our Under Armour Mouthguards Keep Young Smiles Safe

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

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

Our Favorite Children’s Books About Going to the Dentist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor De Soto by William Steig

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

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

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The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

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

My Dentist, My Friend by P.K. Hallinan

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

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

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

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

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