From toddlers to teenagers — and, let’s be honest, adults, too — a candy haul is Halloween’s main draw. Yet it goes without saying that a bucketful of chocolate, gummies, lollipops, and hard candy isn’t the most teeth-healthy scenario. All that candy brings out the sugar bugs on teeth that can cause cavities and affect an otherwise healthy grin.
8 Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids in Denver
So summer days have wound down and it’s back to school! But that doesn’t mean the outdoor fun’s over! At Kids Mile High, we’re big on enjoying the outdoors year-round, and luckily, there are many outdoor fall activities in the Denver area for kids to choose from!
To help you decide which things to do with your kids in Denver, we’ve put together a round up of our favorite 8 family-friendly outdoor activities you can enjoy right now.
- Denver Zoo
Did you know that the Denver Zoo has welcomed kids (and adults) for 125 years? At the Denver Zoo, generations of kids have gotten “up close and personal” with a Siberian tiger, learned what a clownfish was long before Finding Nemo, and hand-fed hungry stingrays their afternoon snack.
Today, the Denver Zoo has over 10 different Exhibits that span 80 acres, plus daily demonstrations, small-group animal meet-and-greets, and special events. From elephants to orangutans, sloths to snakes, the Zoo is home to 3,000 creatures from all over the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s an experience that sparks a love of animals in many who visit.
To help visitors find their way around, The Denver Zoo offers an app with a real-time map and info about the animals you’ll see. You can also use the app to buy your timed-entry tickets in advance or schedule your visit if you have a membership.
2. Hudson Gardens & Event Center
This 30-acre destination outside of Littleton boasts exhibits, trails, open spaces, and event venues. Pack a lunch for an afternoon of free-form exploration along nature trails, race against each other — adults vs. kids? — in a game of Pokémon Go, or practice your navigation skills with some geocaching.
Or get in the Halloween mood with a visit to Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns. For all of October, Hudson Gardens is hosting this family-friendly event featuring 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins and extraordinary pumpkin displays. Kids will also love the magical carnival, a glowing seascape, dinosaurs, and dragons. No doubt you’ll find inspiration for your own jack o’lanterns with this fall activity.
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
It’s safe to say that Red Rocks is a world-renowned destination. After all, how many amphitheatres boast amazing natural acoustics with the help of such spectacular rock formations?
Concert venue aside, we think exploring Red Rocks’ other-worldly landscape is one of the best outdoor activities for kids and families in Denver. The park has five main trails for hiking and biking: we suggest reading up on them beforehand to figure out which would work best for your family. Some are short, some are longer, and some have rougher terrain or steep drop offs that require extra caution with kids. But you can bet that all the trails have beautiful landscapes and views that will keep everyone “ooo-ing” and “aahh-ing.” You can also bring the family dog! (On leash, of course.)
- Dinosaur Ridge
The must-do activity for dinosaur lovers young and old? Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison. If your kids haven’t visited yet on a school field trip, take a family trip out to see real dino footprints, fossils, and bones… oh my! Cool fact? Dinosaur Ridge was the first place in the world where a stegosaurus was discovered!
The main visitor’s center is open year round while the Discovery Center is closed from November 1st to May 1st. Local’s tip: Visit Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge together since they’re in the same area!
5. Washington Park
Many Denver, Thornton, and Englewood residents consider Washington Park their go-to spot for a relaxing escape right in the city. With 155 acres of paths, trails, greenspace and gardens, plus a couple of lakes, Washington Park has many options for a slow weekend outing. Pack a picnic, a frisbee, or go for a walk or bike ride!
For a unique experience, rent a colorful surrey, deuce coupe, or chopper bike from Wheel Fun Rentals for travelling along the park’s 2.75 mile paved loop. They also have rentals on paddle boats, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and paddle boats for on-the-water excursions.
6. Confluence Park
Yes, another park on our Kids Mile High list of outdoor activities in Denver, but this one’s different. Bring the kids to Confluence Park to watch kayakers brave rapids — yes rapids in downtown Denver! There’s also some great Instagram-worthy spots for chronicling your outing.
Confluence Park is close to other top activities for kids in Denver like the Downtown Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. So, if your outdoor adventure day starts to get rained out, you have somewhere fun nearby for plan B.
- Carousel of Happiness
This unique kid activity is a bit farther out than the others we’ve mentioned but well worth a visit. About an hour’s drive northwest from Denver, you’ll arrive at the tiny town of Nederlander, home of the Carousel of Happiness.
Little kiddos will love the magic of the carousel’s hand-carved animals, finding just the right one to sit on to enjoy their ride. Adults will appreciate the story and craftsmanship of the carousel’s animals, and the history behind the 1910 Looff carousel frame and 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. You and your kids might even like to “adopt an animal” to support the Carousel.
- Denver Urban Scavenger Hunt
With older kids, try this Denver outdoor activity that’ll get you moving, thinking, and working together. Plus, you might just find out more about the city you live in! Using your phones, teams make their way to different points of interest in the city, both well-known landmarks and lesser known ones. It’s like the Amazing Race but in only 2-3 hours and in one city. Sign up your family team at Urban Adventure West.
That wraps up our top 8 kid-friendly outdoor activities in Denver to try in the Fall! Your Kids Mile High dentists Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith would love to hear all about your children’s Denver adventures when we see them next. Book their upcoming appointment with the Kids Mile High team today!
For kids, summer is all about having fun and eating yummy foods and treats that beat the heat. But even though summer’s more relaxed, it’s important that kids continue practicing great oral care. Healthy teeth and gums are a year-round event!
To help you and your kids keep oral health top-of-mind, we’ve got six practical ways to keep your kids’ teeth healthy and safe this summer.
1. Protect those pearly whites during sports with a custom fit mouthguard
At Kids Mile High, we’re all about kids playing their hearts out and staying active. If this sounds like your family, no doubt summer includes a few soccer games in the park or street hockey with friends. Or maybe you’ve lined them up for summer sports camps. To keep their teeth safe, we suggest getting your sports-loving kiddos their very own custom fit mouthguards.
A mouthguard for kids, like the Under Armour® one we offer at Kids Mile High, is a definite must-have for sports where there’s a chance of trauma to the face. A custom fit mouthguard definitely protects teeth, making sports a worry-free activity when it comes to your child’s precious smile. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), trauma to the teeth during sports is 60 times more likely without a mouthguard! And we’ve seen that a custom fit mouthguard provides the best fit and protection.
But did you know that a mouthguard not only contributes to keeping your kids’ teeth safe, it also helps protect their entire head and neck from serious injuries. A mouthguard protects your kids during sports by:
- Cushioning teeth against frontal blows
- Redistributing the force of an impact, whether it’s from equipment, another player, or a fall
- Minimizing neck and head injuries like concussions and fractures
- Protecting the head against blows to the jaw that could cause concussions or loss of consciousness
Think of a custom mouthguard like a shock absorber against impacts to the jaws. Instead of your child’s upper and lower teeth clashing together, a custom fit mouthguard provides separation between their teeth. This helps prevent concussive effects to the base of the brain.
How do I Get a Custom Fit Mouthguard for My Child?
Now that you know a little more about the importance of a custom mouthguard, you’re probably thinking, “How can I get my hands on one for my child, ASAP?” It’s easy! Pop on over to Kids Mile High.
Book an appointment with us at our Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton office. We’ll do a quick and painless impression of your kiddo’s mouth. The impression will then get sent to Under Armour who create a custom fit mouthguard that’s a perfect fit for your All-Star.
One last benefit of our Under Armour custom fit, high-quality mouthguard is that it not only protects kids’ teeth, head, and neck, it also eliminates teeth-clenching. That’s really helpful for some athletes since it means they can focus on their game and not on keeping their mouthguard in place.
2. Eating a balanced diet full of summer-season fruits and veggies
A healthy, balanced diet applies 365 days a year, however, we know that sometimes summer eating can end up a little looser than during the school year. At times, your family’s eating schedule may change in the summer — days are longer, you’re eating on-the-go, or grabbing fast food while on a road trip. Maybe your kids graze more or eat dinner a bit later. There’s more picnics, bbqs, snacks, and… the ice cream truck!
But with a different eating routine, you can still offer a healthy, balanced diet to support good oral health care for your kids. One place to start is including kid-friendly, summer-season fruit and veg every day.
Include Summer-Fresh Fruits in Every Meal
It’s easy to “eat the rainbow” with summer’s juicy strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries… all the berries! Keep these easy-to-eat fruits on-hand to add to snacks and meals. Dark-colored berries contain polyphenols, a chemical that helps prevent bad bacteria from sticking to teeth and gums. That’s a total win for healthy teeth against tooth decay! And the vitamin C in berries helps with avoiding soft tissue inflammation.
Now, you might be wondering about that summertime heavy-hitter: watermelon. Made of 92% water, we all know watermelon is a total thirst quencher and that’s great for healthy teeth and gums. All that water helps get saliva going so that bacteria and plaque gets washed away. Watermelon is also chock full of vitamin A, something that makes teeth super happy. Vitamin A is key for healthy gums and building strong tooth enamel. And if that wasn’t enough, did you know that watermelon also acts like a toothbrush? Its texture brushes teeth every time you bite down into a juicy slice!
With all this talk about water, let’s talk about drinks and teeth. Water is a go-to: make sure your kids always have a water bottle of fresh, cool water wherever they happen to be. Milk has calcium and vitamin D for healthy teeth and gums. And homemade lemonade lets you control how much sugar goes into it.
So what drinks aren’t good for teeth? It’s safe to say that even though kids might want a slushie, soda, or sports drink to cool them down, these really are a few of the worst drinks for teeth. High sugar content, acidity, and carbonation erodes tooth enamel over time, making kids’ teeth more susceptible to tooth decay.
We know… it’s not always possible to avoid these sugary drinks, they’re a welcome treat once in a while. Encourage you kids to swish with water afterwards to rinse out some of the sticky sugars.
Prepare Cut-Up Veggies For Grab-n-Go Snacks
If you don’t already do this during the school year, try it out during the summer! Every few days, cut up a bunch of raw veggies and make them available in the fridge for quick access. When you’re heading out to the park, a day trip, or just lounging at home, a ready supply of teeth-friendly veggies encourages your kids (and you!) to eat them since there’s no prep. All you have to do is grab a few handfuls and add them to meals or pack them up with your other snacks.
Make these teeth-friendly veggies easily available every day:
- Baby tomatoes (you can leave these whole for big kids, or halved length-wise for toddlers)
- Snap peas
- Sweet peppers
If you have a garden, a great way to encourage kids to eat veggies is letting them pick straight from the garden. There’s nothing like a baby tomato picked and eaten right off the vine! Or go on a fun adventure to your favorite Denver-area farmer’s market with your kids and let them pick out veggies they like.
Veggies have a lot of the same teeth-friendly vitamins and minerals as fruits, with the added bonus of having less sugar. Hard, crisp, or crunchy veggies are great for helping clean plaque off teeth. Veggies like carrots and celery are also healthy foods for children’s teeth because chewing them stimulates gums and generates mouth-cleansing saliva.
3. Blend Fruits and Veggies into Smoothies or Popsicles
Another way to include teeth-friendly fruits and veggies into your kiddos’ summer diet is blending their favorites into smoothies. Add yogurt, coconut milk, or nut milk for protein. Then take your smoothie blends to the next level and freeze them into popsicles!
We at Kids Mile High can get behind this seven-layer rainbow smoothie that you can easily pour into molds and turn into rainbow popsicles. Of course, feel free to switch up any of the fruits for ones your kids love. Consider making these together with your kids for a fun summer activity.
4. Double-down on your kids’ oral hygiene routine
In summer, kids get a break from the rush to get to school in the morning, or the excitement of after-school activities and homework, so there’s more time to slow down and practice diligent oral hygiene. Ensure your kids brush their teeth twice a day and floss once. Kids who don’t brush their teeth regularly are at risk of plaque build up, tooth decay or cavities, and even gum disease.
Let’s go through oral hygiene for kids step by step. Brushing teeth for kids starts by making sure their toothbrush is in good working order. If it’s looking a little worse for wear, toss it and pick out a new, soft-bristled one. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith agree with the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD): change your toothbrush every three to four months.That’s how long it typically takes for toothbrush bristles to start fraying and lose their effectiveness. As for toothpaste, make sure to use one with fluoride. You should also have dental floss or floss picks at the ready.
Floss first, then brush teeth at a 45 degree angle, brushing all surfaces as well as the tongue, palate, and inside the cheeks. Finish with a swish (and spit!) of alcohol-free mouthwash for kids and your youngster is good to go.
Mouthwash for kids
Now you may be wondering, what is the best mouthwash for kids with braces? Typically any child-safe, alcohol-free mouthwash will do. However, our Kids Mile High orthodontist, Dr. Owens, has a few tips to consider when looking for a mouthwash for braces.
First, find a kid-safe mouthwash that’s ADA-approved like this one that also helps fight white spots. For the best mouthwash for braces, use one that’s gentle and made for teeth that feel sensitive from braces.
5. Visit your pediatric dentist for a check up
Schedule a trip to see us at Kids Mile High. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith are all about preventive dentistry, and regular, twice-a-year check ups are how we can help keep your kids’ teeth healthy.
What happens at a Kids Mile High check up? Well, a lot actually! Your Kids Mile High dentist will examine your child’s teeth, gums, and will remove any tartar or plaque. The doctor’s assistant will then spend time thoroughly cleaning and polishing teeth. Last but not least, we paint on a fluoride treatment to strengthen the teeth.
We also offer dental sealants to make sure teeth are even more resistant to bacteria and harmful acids from foods and drinks. And if you and your kids need a refresher on the best way to brush and floss, we’ve got you covered.
If your Kids Mile High dentist sees your child has no cavities, you’re automatically part of our Cavity-Free Club. And, of course, every kid leaves with a prize at the end of the appointment.
6. Checking in with your orthodontic treatment
We’re pretty unique at Kids Mile High because we have our very own in-house kids orthodontist, Dr. Owens. Our patients can conveniently receive their dental health and orthodontic care all in one place. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith will do a pre-orthodontic screening and will let you know when it is time for orthodontic treatment. Dr. Owens will take it from there and will help you and your child navigate early interceptive treatment, braces, or Invisalign® in a fun and educational way.
You might also like to know that regardless of whether you think your child might need orthodontic treatment or not, we suggest an initial orthodontic assessment by age seven. At that age, a child will typically have a few adult teeth already and their jaw shape is pretty much established. So it’s prime time for Dr. Owens to assess if your child’s teeth development is on track, if early interceptive treatment would be beneficial, or if your child might need orthodontic treatment down the road.
So there you have it! Six ways to keep kids’ teeth safe and healthy this summer. If you haven’t made an appointment to come see us, we invite you to contact us for a summer appointment at any one of our Denver-area offices. The team at Kids Mile High will help you start off the school year right with healthy, strong teeth.
Getting braces is exciting and means your child or teenager is on their way to a straighter, healthier smile. It also means that brushing and flossing will be a little more challenging and plaque will have extra places to hide. Well, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry is here to help! We’re sharing our best oral hygiene tips to ensure your child’s smile is as healthy and dazzling as possible when those braces come off.
The Consequences of Poor Oral Hygiene With Braces
While having poor oral hygiene any time can lead to cavities, having bad hygiene with braces really increases the risk of tooth decay and gingivitis. As we said, braces tend to trap food, bacteria and plaque. Good hygiene is essential because teeth move most effectively in a healthy oral environment. Additionally, in extreme cases, getting cavities with braces could mean having to have the braces taken off, so the decay can be treated.
How to Have Good Oral Hygiene With Braces
Now that we’ve discussed the consequences of poor oral hygiene with braces, the good news is, kids and teens can keep their teeth healthy during their orthodontic treatment with a few easy steps. Though flossing and brushing teeth with braces will require learning some new techniques, once kids get used to the process, it will become second nature.
Here are our 8 best oral hygiene tips for kids to get your child get started:
- Learn How to Brush Teeth With Braces and Do it Often.
As for how to brush your teeth with braces, use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush and the toothpaste of your choice (the best toothpaste for braces is one that doesn’t contain whitening ingredients, as these can increase sensitivity and lead to uneven results).
Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Start by gently brushing along the gum line. Then, brush every bracket, working on the top and bottom of the bracket separately. Wiggling the bristles back and forth a bit will help get between the wires. Give each individual tooth some attention and brush all of the surfaces of the teeth, including around those back molars. Be sure your child brushes for at least two full minutes.
- Floss Once Daily.
Flossing with braces will be tricky at first because kids have to get under the wires in order to clean between their teeth. However, most patients acclimate quickly. While you can use regular dental floss on its own, the process will be much easier if your child or teen uses a floss threader.
Or, to save even more time, they can use special floss for braces, such as an orthodontic flosser or a product like SuperFloss. Regardless of what type of floss they opt for, flossing at least once daily is key.
- How to Floss With Braces Using a Floss Threader – To floss with braces using a floss threader, first, break off a piece of dental floss about 18 to 24 inches in length. (Pro tip: Use waxed dental floss because braces will shred unwaxed floss.) Pull some of the floss through the eye of the floss threader. Pinch it so that it doesn’t slide out.
Guide the pointed end of the floss threader under the braces wire and pull the floss through until it can be gripped with both hands. Position the floss between any two teeth. Floss up and down the side of one tooth, getting under the gumline, and then up and down the side of the other tooth.
Gently pull the floss out. Use the floss threader to get under the wire and in between the next set of teeth. Repeat this until the entire mouth has been flossed.
When flossing with Super Floss, the process will be the same. However, kids won’t need to thread the floss through the end since it’s already set up. They’ll simply guide the stiffened end under the braces wire and go through the same steps as above.
- How to Floss With Braces Using an Orthodontic Flosser – While an orthodontic flosser, which is a special floss pick for braces wearers, is a little more expensive, it’s a whole lot faster. To floss with an orthodontic flosser, slip the rounded end of the flosser under the braces wire so the floss is positioned in between two of the teeth. Floss up and down the side of one tooth, getting just under the gum line, and then floss up and down the side of the other tooth. Repeat until all of the teeth have been flossed.
- Consider Investing in a Waterpik for Braces.
A Waterpik, or water flosser, sprays water in between the teeth, around the gums and around the braces brackets. While using a Waterpik for braces won’t replace regular flossing and will be an extra step, it’s an excellent tool for loosening stubborn food, getting the gums super clean and eliminating any lingering plaque. Most of our Denver braces patients are big fans.
If your child or teen does opt to use a water flosser for braces, go with an orthodontic tip. Have them use the water flosser before or after flossing the teeth with dental floss.
- Use an Interproximal Brush to Clean Tight Spaces.
An interproximal brush, sometimes called a proxy brush or interdental brush, is a tiny brush meant to squeeze into tight spaces. Kids can use it to clean around their braces brackets and to remove any plaque or debris their toothbrush can’t reach. It’s also incredibly handy for dislodging food stuck in braces.
- Add Mouthwash to the Mix.
Swishing with mouthwash after flossing and brushing can help to loosen any trapped bits of food and get into those hard-to-reach places. What’s the best mouthwash for braces? Any alcohol-free, fluoride mouthwash or, if you’d prefer to skip fluoride, one that contains xylitol, will do the trick and help fight cavities. ACT Anticavity Mouthwash and Colgate Phos-Flur Ortho Defense Anticavity Mouth Rinse are both excellent options and usually top any list of the best mouthwash for braces.
- Put Together a Braces Hygiene Kit for When Kids are Out and About.
Since brushing teeth with braces is recommended after meals and snacks, kids and teens will likely have to brush when they’re at school, at friends’ houses, etc. Make a travel kit that they can bring with them wherever they go. Your hygiene kit should include:
- A travel toothbrush
- Travel toothpaste
- Interproximal brushes
- Orthodontic flossers
- Braces wax (while wax isn’t really hygiene-related, it will help with any irritation or braces emergencies)
- No Toothbrush Around? Rinse Really Well!
If kids or teens aren’t home and don’t have their toothbrush, they should rinse their mouth out really well with water after eating or drinking. This will whisk away some of the food debris and liquids so they don’t sit on the teeth for a prolonged period of time. Then, have kids brush their teeth as soon as they’re reunited with their toothbrush.
- Keep Up With Regular Pediatric Dental Visits.
Regular exams and cleanings at the dentist are more important than ever when kids are in braces treatment. During professional cleanings, special tools are used to remove hardened plaque (tartar) that can’t be eliminated at home with a regular toothbrush and floss.
Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger or Dr. Meredith will also be able to ensure your child’s mouth is healthy and cavity-free. If they spot an issue, intervening early will ensure your child’s braces treatment stays on track. During the exam, they can see how well your child is doing with their oral hygiene routine, too. Extra cleanings might be recommended throughout the year if hygiene is a problem.
By putting our oral hygiene tips into action and caring for their braces and smile, your child will get the outstanding results they deserve. Whether you’d like to learn more about braces for kids and teens, or you’re looking for a fun, friendly pediatric dentist, we’ve got you covered. Schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry in Thornton, Denver or Englewood, CO today!
We all want a healthy, balanced diet for our kids. It’s no secret that a diet rich in veggies, fruit, whole grains, and clean protein goes a long way in growing healthy bodies and minds, including their teeth and gums! At Kids Mile High, we’re often asked what foods are good for children’s teeth so we’ve compiled this list of 7 important minerals and vitamins for teeth. Help your kids eat their way to a healthy smile for life!
You’re probably not surprised that calcium starts off our list of essential minerals and vitamins for teeth. After all, tooth enamel is mostly calcium, and getting enough calcium in your diet helps keep your child’s tooth enamel layer strong. The stronger the enamel, the more defense against tooth decay and cavities. You could say that Captain Calcium is a major player in maintaining your little ones’ healthy teeth!
Calcium is also good for bones as you might already know. But did you know that calcium is only stored in your bones and teeth? So with your bones gradually renewing every 10 years, it goes without saying that a steady intake of calcium is crucial for maintaining strong, dense bones throughout childhood — like your child’s jawbone. To get the most out of calcium-rich foods, health experts suggest pairing calcium intake with vitamin D. Now you know why the milk you buy at the supermarket is typically fortified with this tooth-friendly vitamin!
Foods With Calcium
Regardless of your child’s dietary restrictions or preferences, rest assured there’s plenty of foods with calcium to make sure your kids get the amount they need. Milk is a go-to for many kids, as are other dairy products like yogurt and cheese. That’s a pretty big win for teeth, since the calcium in milk products is also the most easily absorbed. Just double check the sugar content on your kids’ favorite dairy foods — milk products with too much sugar, like some flavored yogurts, can contribute to plaque build up. If cow’s milk isn’t part of your child’s diet, then fortified nut, soy or oat milks do the job, too.
In the veggies and fruits department, calcium-rich foods include broccoli, leafy greens like kale, bok choy and collard greens, soybeans, figs and oranges. You’ll get the most vitamins and minerals out of veggies if you cook them slightly; steaming or sauteing them is better than boiling.
Your little ones can also get calcium from beans, almonds, tinned salmon and fortified breads, breakfast cereals and oatmeal. It’s easy to include sources of calcium at every meal!
Here we’ve got calcium’s best friend! As we mentioned, vitamin D is an important partner in absorbing calcium from your food, moving it from your child’s gut and depositing it in your bones. In this way, vitamin D helps build bone density. You can think of calcium and vitamin D like Batman and Robin: they can do amazing things on their own but they’re more effective together! Vitamin D is key to a diet for healthy teeth; it contributes to fully developed teeth and protects against tooth decay and gum disease.
How to Get Vitamin D
Getting your kids outside isn’t just about taking a break from screen time. With just 15 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin, your body naturally makes vitamin D. That’s why it’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin.” Keep in mind that if you live in a seasonal place like we do in Colorado, you most likely have to stay outside in direct sunlight for longer than 15 minutes in the colder months. So when those gray skies or freezing temperatures aren’t so inviting, we, your Englewood, Central Park and Thornton pediatric dentists suggest you get your vitamin D from food. As one of the crucial vitamins for healthy teeth, your kids can get their vitamin D from eggs, fish, red meat, fortified milks, cereals and breads.
A diet for healthy teeth should include potassium. Just like vitamin D, it improves bone mineral density. Potassium also plays a defensive role: working with magnesium, it prevents your blood from becoming too acidic, which can cause calcium to leach from your bones and teeth. Potassium is also essential in blood clotting and helping gum tissue heal more quickly. If your child’s gums bleed a little from a baby tooth falling out, they’re new to flossing or they experience a tooth injury, potassium will help them heal faster.
More than likely, the first potassium-rich food that comes to mind is… bananas! And you’d be right. Bananas are an easy source of potassium.They’re a great, soft first food for babies and an easy grab-and-go snack for toddlers and older kids. We all benefit from having bananas in our diet!
Some other potassium options to include in a diet for healthy teeth are: dark leafy greens, potatoes, avocados and prunes. Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese also contain the potassium that kids need for healthy teeth and gums.
While it might not come up as often in conversation as other minerals and vitamins for teeth, phosphorus is pretty important. Just like vitamin D, phosphorus helps you get the most out of your calcium intake so that your teeth are as strong as possible. This mineral helps your child rebuild and strengthen their tooth enamel against plaque and cavities.
Foods with Phosphorus
You’ll find phosphorus in many of the foods that also have calcium and vitamin D. Fortified milk and milk products, seafood like tuna and salmon, red meat, beans and lentils, nuts and whole grains are all high in phosphorus.
If vitamin D, calcium, potassium and phosphorus act like teeth builders, Vitamin K acts like a teeth protector in the family of minerals and vitamins for teeth. Vitamin K helps block substances that weaken bones and teeth and assists in your child producing osteocalcin, a protein that supports bone strength. Vitamin K also contributes to the healing process, kind of like potassium.
What to Eat for Vitamin K
That kale salad or spinach frittata has your child’s name on it! Again, leafy greens are a vitamin win. Your child can also find vitamin K in broccoli, eggs, hard cheeses, pork and chicken.
When we’re talking about vitamins for teeth, we can’t forget about the gums! Vitamin C is super important in helping strengthen your child’s gums and all the soft tissue in their mouth. Strong connective tissue in your kids’ gums keeps their teeth firmly in place, and helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease.
Foods with Vitamin C
Chances are, you know that citrus fruits are a rich (and kid-approved!) source of vitamin C. But did you know that you can also find vitamin C in potatoes, leafy greens, berries and peppers? When parents ask Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger or Dr. Meredith about vitamins for strong teeth, we follow nutritionists’ rule of thumb: eat the rainbow! Colorful fruits and veggies pack a punch when it comes to being great for teeth and vitamin C.
If you’re wondering about the best drinks for teeth, we know that orange juice has vitamin C, as well as potassium and vitamin A. But as your Denver pediatric dentists, we agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics about fruit juice: it’s better to limit your child’s intake. Fruit juices have a lot of sugar without the fibre to balance it, so we recommend getting your vitamin C from whole fruits and veggies instead.
No post about vitamins for teeth should forget to mention vitamin A. Most people associate this vitamin with maintaining healthy eyes and good eyesight but vitamin A also contributes to healthy teeth, too. Vitamin A is known for helping you keep a healthy amount of saliva in your mouth, which helps bring down the higher acidity in your mouth to a more neutral or alkaline pH after you’ve eaten. This can help prevent erosion of your child’s tooth enamel, and therefore, they’re less susceptible to tooth decay.
Foods with Vitamin A
Your child’s daily dose of vitamin A can come from fish, egg yolks, or — we see a trend here! — leafy green veggies like spinach and kale. When it comes to vitamin A, an easy way to remember what foods are good for your teeth is thinking “orange”: orange foods have lots of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in your body. So if your child likes oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots or sweet potatoes, you’ve got vitamin A in the bag!
Working on Kids’ Healthy Teeth Together
It goes without saying that kids can get their vitamins for healthy teeth through a variety of foods and the teeth-friendly foods we’ve covered here can make up any meal. But, some parents worry a balanced diet isn’t enough and ask the team at Kids Mile High if their kids should also take vitamin supplements. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger and Dr. Meredith are always happy to talk with parents about this. We know that sometimes kids just aren’t into some of the foods that are good for their teeth. We’re here to talk about how we can all work together to provide vitamins for healthy, strong teeth on the daily. Contact us at our Englewood, Central Park or Thornton offices to get the conversation started.
Safety for Using Mouthwash for Kids
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.
The Best Mouthwash for Braces
For kids with braces, in addition to regular brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a super helpful addition to their oral hygiene routine. Using mouthwash will offer an extra layer of protection against the decalcification of teeth, which is the culprit behind white spots after braces, and cavities.
So, what’s the best mouthwash for braces? While any of the safe mouthwashes listed above will do the trick, here are two recommendations that are particularly effective for braces wearers:
- Colgate Phos-Flur OrthoDefense Anticavity Mouth Rinse: Colgate Phos-Flur OrthoDefense is an ADA-approved mouthwash formulated especially for people in orthodontic treatment. It’s alcohol-free, making it a good choice for kids, and it’s clinically proven to reduce the appearance of white spots after braces.The formula fights cavities and contains phosphate to build strong teeth.
- ACT Anticavity Mouthwash: When kids first start wearing braces, the brackets and wires can temporarily irritate the tongue and the inside of the cheeks and lips. An alcohol-free, gentle mouthwash will ward off cavities and keep kids’ mouths clean without exacerbating discomfort. ACT Anticavity Mouthwash fits the bill. It earns its spot on our list of the best mouthwash for braces because it has a mild flavor, doesn’t burn and prevents tooth decay.
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!
As a parent, you probably know one of the keys to helping your little one maintain a superhero smile is developing an amazing oral hygiene routine. After all, brushing and flossing will go a long way in preventing tooth decay and gum disease in children and keeping their smiles strong and sparkling clean. You probably also know kids should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once daily. But, what about the brush floss order? Should kids floss or brush first? And, when should they floss? In the morning? Before bed? For older kids, where does mouthwash come in?
Floss Or Brush First Controversy
Well, wonder no more, because our Englewood, Thornton and Central Park pediatric dentists have you covered. In this post, we’ll talk about:
Should Kids Floss Before or After Brushing?
The order of brushing and flossing might not seem all that important. Either way, you’re getting rid of those sugar bugs on your child’s teeth, right? Well, a 2018 study in the Journal of Periodontology aimed to answer the question of whether to floss or brush first and to determine how much of a difference the brush floss order had on plaque removal.
The researchers discovered that flossing before brushing eliminated a whole lot more plaque (the sticky bacterial film that clings to the pearly whites) than flossing after brushing. The theory is that flossing loosens the bacteria, plaque and food debris stuck between the teeth and then brushing, followed by rinsing the mouth, further clears out the bad stuff. So, whenever possible, have kids floss teeth before they brush.
Is it Better to Floss in the Morning or at Night?
Flossing the teeth is super important for removing plaque between the teeth and along the gumline that can’t be reached with a toothbrush to maintain kids’ oral health. If kids don’t floss, they’re at a greater risk for tooth decay and gingivitis. How often should you floss your teeth? Once a day is recommended for children (and adults!).
As for the best time to floss, it really doesn’t matter. While, theoretically, flossing teeth at night can be a good way to get rid of any food, plaque and bacteria that has built up throughout the day, how often kids floss is more important than when they floss. So, if you’re exhausted at night and can’t keep up with your child’s flossing routine, floss in the morning. If mornings are hectic, floss at night. As long as the job gets done, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger and Dr. Meredith whole-heartedly support flossing any time of day!
What is the Ideal Brush, Floss, Mouthwash Order?
According to the American Dental Association’s guidelines, little ones under the age of six should not use mouthwash unless directed to by their dentist because there is a high risk of them accidentally swallowing it. However, if your child is six or older and is good at spitting out toothpaste, adding mouthwash to their oral hygiene routine can ensure no plaque is left behind. As for the recommended brush, floss, mouthwash order, have kids floss first to loosen plaque and food particles, then brush their teeth and finish by swishing the mouthwash around in their mouth for 60 seconds and spitting it out. If you do opt for mouthwash for kids, choose an alcohol-free version.
The Basic of Flossing and Brushing Teeth for Kids
While we’re on the topic of flossing and brushing kids’ teeth, we thought we’d have a quick refresher on some of the basics.
Here are a few tips for flossing and brushing success:
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth – or tooth – twice a day with a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) as soon as their first baby tooth erupts.
- From ages two to five, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and continue brushing kids’ teeth twice a day for two full minutes each session. At this age, it’s important to help toddlers brush their teeth since they don’t have the dexterity to do it effectively on their own.
- Begin flossing your toddler’s teeth once a day when there are no gaps between the teeth, usually around 18 months. Again, little kids don’t have the coordination to floss on their own, so do the flossing for them early on.
- As for how to floss kids’ teeth, position a length of dental floss or a special flosser between any two teeth. Floss up and down the side of one tooth, getting just under the gumline, and up and down the side of the other tooth, before moving on to the next set of teeth. Continue until you’ve flossed between all of the teeth and around the back molars.
- Older children can brush and floss themselves. However, it’s a good idea to monitor kids until around age eight or when you feel confident they’re doing a thorough job.
- Kids with dental braces should brush their teeth more frequently. Have them brush in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Kids can floss during braces treatment, using a floss threader or orthodontic flosser will make their once-daily flossing easier.
- Mouthwash can add an extra layer of protection and banish more plaque and bacteria, as well as fight bad breath. Reserve it for children over the age of six who you know won’t swallow it.
Does Toothbrush Matter?
Now that you know the basics of brushing and flossing kids’ teeth, including the order in which to do it, does the toothbrush matter? Yes, the type of toothbrush does matter. For kids, we usually recommend a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles will irritate their gums, which is a surefire way to make them dislike brushing. However, whether you choose a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush that’s made for kids, is a personal preference.
The bottom line is that studies do suggest the brush, floss, mouthwash order matters to some extent and having kids’ floss before they brush and then use mouthwash last can help send extra plaque packing. That being said, if kids are brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once daily, it will ward off cavities and keep their teeth and gums healthy, regardless of the order.
Do you need help creating an outstanding homecare routine for your kiddo or are you in need of a fun, exciting dentist for kids in Denver, Englewood or Thornton, Colorado? Schedule a visit at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry today!
As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to see your child in pain. Whether a scraped knee, stubbed toe or, (heaven forbid!) a broken limb, you want to take the hurt away however you can.
A child’s tooth pain falls squarely into the above. So what are the culprits that cause tooth pain in kids?
Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger at Kids Mile High are here with the experience and expertise to answer that question! As your Denver area pediatric dentists in Englewood, Central Park and Thornton, we’ve seen many children with sore teeth and gums and have helped them through it. Parents often schedule an appointment with us when:
- Their baby has sore gums
- Their child’s loose tooth hurts
- Their child’s tooth hurts when eating
- They’re concerned about childhood teeth grinding
- Their child has sore jaws or teeth
A Baby with Sore Gums
When your baby is crying, irritable, drooling (more than usual!) and chewing on his fists, they’re probably teething and has very sore gums. Teething starts anytime from three months onward, with teeth starting to show around six months old. It’s an exciting ‘first’ for your baby but it can be a painful one. Just think, if adults experienced teething, “crying like a baby” would take on a whole new meaning!
Alleviating Teething Pain
The team at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry has seen a lot of teething babies with swollen, tender gums and flushed cheeks. We know that it’s challenging for both the baby with sore gums and the parents. Here are our top tips for alleviating your baby’s sore gums:
- Counterpressure Using Teething Toys and Gum Massage – Your baby has the right idea when they’re chewing on their fist; they’re providing a relieving counterpressure. Give your baby with sore gums teething rings or plush teething toys — free of BPA, phthalates, latex and PVC, of course — and let them gum, gum, gum away! A wet washcloth is also comforting to chew. Even better? Try cold pressure: refrigerate teething toys and washcloths for further comfort.
A gum massage is a nice way to bond with your baby and apply that much-need counterpressure. You’ll also get the chance to feel for any newly-erupted teeth.
- Cold Food or Drinks: If your baby is already eating solid foods, give them cold items like yogurt or blended fruit. You could also try giving them refrigerated breastmilk.
- Distractions and Play: When the irritability cranks up, try changing your baby’s activity. Pull out a new book, go for a walk, play some happy music and sing along. Even short distractions help.
- Child Toothache Medicine: Baby pain relievers are an option, especially at night. Rest for your baby and you? Always important. Ask your pediatrician about infant ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
While we’re talking about babies, let’s cover baby tooth decay. Yes, tooth decay can happen in those tiny teeth! Baby bottle tooth decay is what happens when babies are put to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice — anything that has sugars in it — and the sugars that sit in the baby’s mouth all night turn into bacteria and plaque. It can happen in the daytime, too. When you give your baby constant sips or bottles of sugar-containing liquids, you run the risk of bacteria building up.
Brushing and Flossing your Baby’s Teeth
To help get rid of bacteria in a baby’s mouth, use a soft, damp washcloth to gently clean your baby’s gums and teeth twice a day. Once teeth begin to show, use a soft, baby toothbrush with a tiny, rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste to gently brush teeth and gums. How often? At least twice a day. As for flossing, how many times a day should you floss your baby’s teeth? When teeth grow big enough that the gaps between start closing up, you should floss your baby’s teeth at least once a day.
My Child’s Loose Tooth Hurts
After the arrival of baby teeth, losing those teeth is the next step in a child’s dental development. Losing baby teeth to gain adult teeth happens during most of childhood, from 5-7 years old until about 12-13 years old. When your child says their loose baby tooth hurts, it’s most likely gum tenderness around the tooth. This is normal. For the most part, however, losing baby teeth doesn’t hurt, except for the back molars occasionally. Back molars don’t have baby counterparts to pave the way so they might cause your child tooth pain. During the day, cold or frozen food will soothe discomfort. At night, ibuprofen can help your child sleep better and lessen tooth pain.
In some cases, your child’s loose tooth hurts because of trauma to the tooth or gums. Are teeth or gums bleeding? Any teeth black or cracked? If so, make an appointment at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible!
My Child’s Tooth Hurts When Eating
Tooth pain in children when they’re eating is not a normal event and needs close attention. When your child complains that his teeth hurt when eating, tooth decay is a likely culprit. Some causes include
- Cavities – Tooth decay, or cavities, can happen to anyone at any age. So if your child’s tooth hurts when eating, they could have a cavity. With a cavity, bacteria has worn away a tooth’s surface enamel, causing a permanent hole in the tooth. The lack of enamel makes a tooth more sensitive, and deeper cavities can expose nerves, which cause even greater pain. If your child’s pain is really bad, internal tooth decay is a possibility. Internal tooth decay is when tooth decay is happening within the tooth’s soft interior of nerves and tissue.
- Infections – With moderate cavities, only the teeth are affected. But with more severe internal tooth decay or gum disease, not only does your child’s tooth hurt when eating, but there might also be an infection in the gums. Infections also occur because of cracked teeth or abscesses. Signs of infected gums include: swollen and red gums, throbbing pain, a swollen jaw, fever or a bad taste in your child’s mouth. Eep!
Preventing Child Tooth Decay and Cavities
The best way to prevent and stop child tooth decay is a thorough brushing and flossing routine. Get your kids into good oral hygiene routines early so their healthy oral hygiene habits will carry into adulthood. Kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Dentists suggest that parents brush their kids’ teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts and supervise kids’ teeth brushing until the age of 7 or 8.
People often ask, “How many times a day should you floss your kids’ teeth? Is it the same as brushing? More? Less?” When it comes to how many times a day you should floss your kids’ teeth, we typically recommend flossing your kids’ teeth at least once a day. Flossing is proven to significantly reduce the number of bad bacteria left in your mouth. Like brushing, parents should help their child with flossing, or at least closely supervise, until their child is about 7 or 8. After that, it’s still a good idea for parents to keep an eye on your kids’ flossing and brushing to ensure they’re doing a thorough job.
Tips for Encouraging Teeth Flossing
Find a flavor of dental floss that your kids like, use floss picks or a water flosser. If you make flossing fun, your kids’ answer to “How many times a day should you floss your kids’ teeth?” might be a surprising one like, “Every chance you get, mom!”
Kids’ Teeth Grinding
When your children go to bed, you wish them sweet dreams and a restful, peaceful sleep. What happens, though, if you hear the alarming sounds of your kids’ teeth grinding? Bruxism, as it’s officially called, affects 2-3 out of 10 children. It’s one of the more common kids’ oral health concerns we see at Kids Mile High and we’ve found that kids teeth grinding is most often related to misaligned teeth or stress. It can also be behind your child’s tooth pain.
- Misaligned Teeth – As we talked about earlier, losing baby teeth and gaining adult teeth happens continually from about ages 5 to 13. So there’s plenty of times during childhood when your kid’s teeth might not line up, resulting in discomfort and teeth grinding. The good news is that kids usually grow out of teeth grinding when all their adult teeth are in. If teeth grinding continues into the teen years, we suggest booking a visit with our Kids Mile High pediatric orthodontist Dr. Owens to assess if your child needs orthodontic care.
- Stress – An upcoming test at school, a piano recital or pivotal soccer game, an argument with parents or friends. Childhood stressors are a non-dental cause of kids’ teeth grinding. While we can’t eliminate your little one’s stress, if your child’s teeth grinding is damaging their teeth, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger can provide some guidance or suggestions — like outfitting your child with a custom-made mouthguard to protect their teeth.
Sometimes kids’ teeth grinding is a medical symptom. Certain medications can cause teeth grinding. Medical issues such as hyperactivity or being tongue-tied are linked to it, as well as conditions like cerebral palsy.
Sore Jaws or Teeth From Illness
Occasionally, your child’s tooth pain isn’t from any of the common dental problems in children that we’ve mentioned. Does your child have a stuffy nose? Is she complaining that her ears hurt? Sinusitis or an ear infection can cause jaw or teeth pain. In these cases, an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen is an option, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any other medications your child is taking.
Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger to the Rescue!
Now that you know what can cause child tooth pain, your next step is visiting us at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry. As your Denver pediatric dental specialists in Englewood, Central Park, and Thornton, our fun, kid-centric vibe helps kids feel calm — even when they’ve got tooth pain. Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger will quickly figure out the cause of your child’s tooth pain and provide guidance and solutions for a happy, pain-free child! Contact us today for an emergency virtual visit or an in-person appointment.
Can you believe it’s already the holiday season? After a long and interesting year (to say the least!), we all deserve a reason to celebrate with our families. And as pediatric dentists in Englewood, Central Park and Thornton, you know what we think is the perfect gift this year. To us, there’s no better way to show your little ones you care than by setting them up for lifelong oral health.
Okay, we know it’s not a traditional gift, but this year the Kids Mile High team encourages you to give your kids the gift of a healthy smile. After all, it really is the gift that keeps on giving: not only does a healthy smile support your children’s health overall and reduce their need for serious (and costly) intervention in the future, it’s also proven to boost their self-esteem, happiness and confidence.
Wondering what you can do to support your children’s oral health? Here are some simple tips for keeping your kiddos’ teeth strong and healthy this holiday season and beyond.
Book Your Child’s First Dental Appointment by Age One
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children have their first dental appointment by age one, or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. On average, kids begin to get their primary teeth around six months old, and it’s important to have those little pearly whites examined by a professional to make sure they’re coming in properly.
At your child’s first dental visit with their Central Park, Thornton or Englewood pediatric dentist, we’ll take a look at their overall dental health and assess any potential issues, as well as provide tips for proper oral hygiene and give some nutritional guidance. The goal is to establish healthy habits early on to set your child on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile.
Teach Your Kids Tooth-Healthy Habits
We’re always here to support our patients and provide education on taking care of your kids’ teeth, but the real work happens at home. Getting kids excited about brushing and flossing their teeth is a tall order, but it’s a necessary one, so the sooner you get started the better. Fortunately, there are creative ways to make oral hygiene fun for kids. Here’s how:
- Brush and floss as a family, because kids love to mimic their parents!
- Play a two-minute tune to ensure your children brush for the appropriate amount of time
- Reward your kiddos for brushing and flossing every day
- Turn brushing and flossing into a game to get rid of those nasty sugar bugs
- Let your little ones choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste so they feel like they have a say
Practice Preventive Dentistry
When it comes to kids’ oral health, it’s always better to prevent issues from happening than try to fix them afterwards. That’s why preventive dentistry is the best dentistry for kids. When you take preventive measures, it helps your child avoid oral health problems like cavities, gum disease, enamel decay and more.
Dental sealants are one of the best ways to take preventive action for your kids’ teeth. They’re basically like protective armor that blocks out all the bad stuff, like bacteria, plaque, acids and food particles that eat away at your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are made from a thin plastic that’s painted onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth to create a barrier over the enamel of each tooth, keeping your child’s teeth as healthy as possible. Fluoride treatments are another fantastic preventive dentistry option and we’re not talking about the yucky, messy kind in trays. These days, we apply fluoride varnish to your child’s teeth and they’re free to go about their day.
Visit an Orthodontist By Age Seven
If a pediatric dentist is like a general practitioner for your child’s teeth, an orthodontist is a specialist that focuses on a specific aspect of oral health. Orthodontists are primarily concerned with straightening the teeth and aligning the bite to create beautiful, functional and healthy smiles. While there’s no standard age for kids to first visit an orthodontist, most dental professionals recommend seeing an orthodontist by the time your child turns seven.
Similar to your child’s first dental visit, their first orthodontic appointment gives their doctor a chance to examine, diagnose and prevent potential bite issues. It also gives parents and kids a better idea of whether they’ll need orthodontic treatment in the future.
Schedule Regular Dental Appointments
Aside from taking all the necessary steps at home to care for your child’s teeth, regular visits to your pediatric dentist in Central Park, Thornton or Englewood are crucial to your child’s ongoing oral health. Kids should see their dentist approximately every six months to keep an eye on their development and watch out for any incoming problems. We’ll also do routine cleanings and can add on fluoride treatments or dental sealants if you’d like. And if you still have questions, the Kids Mile High team is always here to help you out.
Ready to book your child’s first dental appointment or schedule regular visits to your pediatric dentist? Contact Kids Mile High today.
Most of us think of gum disease as an adult problem that only affects us later in life. Of course, as pediatric dentists in Central Park, Englewood and Thornton, we know that gum disease (and especially its precursor gingivitis) are extremely common in children and teens. Gingivitis and gum disease cause puffy, swollen or red gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. Caused by a build-up of food particles, bacteria and plaque, gum disease in kids and teens can lead to significant tooth damage and health concerns if left untreated.
Though signs of gum disease are typically first seen in adolescence, the beginning stages can begin at any point in childhood. That’s why it’s so important for kids to learn healthy oral hygiene habits from an early age. At Kids Mile High, it’s our job to help set your child up for lifelong tooth health. Here, we’re answering all your questions about kids and gum disease, including:
- What are common symptoms of gum disease in kids?
- Why do kids get gingivitis or gum disease?
- How can I treat my child’s gingivitis at home?
What is Childhood Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Characterized by inflamed gums, bad breath and loose teeth, gum disease can affect children, teens and adults alike. There are three types of gum disease in children: chronic gingivitis, localized aggressive periodontitis and generalized aggressive periodontitis.
Chronic gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is not only very treatable, it’s preventable with proper brushing and flossing and regular dental care. Gingivitis itself is a non-destructive form of periodontal disease but untreated, it can lead to more serious, damaging periodontitis.
Localized aggressive periodontitis primarily affects the first molars and incisors in teens and young adults. Oddly, patients with this type of periodontal disease don’t usually have much plaque, but experience severe loss of the alveolar bone. That’s the part of the jaw that holds the roots of your teeth and keeps them in place, so it’s pretty important!
Lastly, with generalized aggressive periodontitis, your child will have very inflamed gums and heavy build-up of plaque and tartar. Over time, this condition can weaken the teeth and cause them to become loose, leading to tooth loss.
Gum Disease in Kids: What to Look Out For
Do you think your child might have gingivitis or gum disease? There’s no reason to panic. It’s a common part of childhood and adolescence and if you catch it early, it will not cause lasting damage. If you suspect your child is suffering from periodontal disease in any form, it’s always best to visit your pediatric dentist. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the main symptoms of gum disease in kids:
- Swollen, red or puffy gums
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away with regular brushing and flossing
- Receding gums
- Gums that bleed during or after brushing and flossing
- Loose teeth that are not caused by any other impact or force
However, your child’s symptoms alone are not always enough to diagnose childhood gingivitis. A baby with sore gums most likely has a tooth erupting, not gum disease. Loose teeth are also not a cause for concern on their own because all kids lose their baby teeth to make space for their adult ones. But if, for example, your two year old has swollen gums and bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away, it may be an early sign of childhood gum disease.
Why Does My Child Have Gum Disease?
If your child does in fact have gum disease, you’re probably wondering what caused it in the first place. As we’ve mentioned, gingivitis and periodontal disease are characterized by excess plaque, bacteria and tartar that accumulate on the teeth over time. In most cases, the condition is caused by poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing or flossing your teeth, which allows all that gunk to build up. But even with proper dental habits, kids can still develop gingivitis. There are several additional causes of gum disease in children and teens, and risk factors that may make them more likely to develop the condition.
Puberty (and all the wonderful hormonal changes that come along with it) can contribute to the development of gum disease in teens. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, heightened progesterone and possibly estrogen during puberty raise blood circulation to the gums. This in turn increases the gum’s sensitivity to any irritation, including food and plaque, causing sore, swollen and red gums. These symptoms will go away as puberty progresses, but teens need to be extra diligent about brushing and flossing their teeth during this time to avoid further gum disease in the future.
Additional risk factors for childhood periodontal disease include various diseases, such as Kindler syndrome, type 1 diabetes, Down’s syndrome and Papillon–Lefèvre syndrome. Genetics may also increase your child’s risk of gum disease.
Treating Children with Gum Disease
Gum disease, as with all health concerns, is best treated early. If possible, it’s better to prevent it before it even starts! This is absolutely possible with proper oral health care, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once per day, and maintaining regular visits with your dentist. All of the above applies to treating gum disease in children, teens and adults.
So teach your child how to brush and floss from an early age, be a good role model by demonstrating positive oral health behavior, and always stay up to date on your child’s dentist appointments. Is your child due for a visit with the doctors at Kids Mile High? Contact us today to book.