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Oral Hygiene Tips for Kids

8 Oral Hygiene Tips for Kids and Teens With Braces

By Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics No Comments

 

8 Oral Hygiene Tips for Kids and Teens With Braces

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:

  1. Learn How to Brush Teeth With Braces and Do it Often.

With braces, your child will want to brush their teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Yup, that’s a few more daily brushing sessions than usual. 

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. 

  1. 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. 
  1. 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.

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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)
  1. 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. 

  1. 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! 

Braces-Friendly-Food

Braces-Friendly Food in Englewood, Thornton and Denver Restaurants

By Community, Orthodontics No Comments

Are you thinking about getting braces for your child, or is your kiddo already on her way to a new smile? One of the first things the parents of our Denver area orthodontic patients ask is, “How will braces change my child’s life?” For starters, braces will improve your child’s bite, oral health and self-confidence. But there are also a few changes she’ll need to make along the way, such as avoiding certain foods that could damage the hardware.

Fortunately, there are tons of braces-friendly food, so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. Even eating out is totally possible with braces! If you’re looking for a place to eat in Denver with braces, look no further. Read on for Kids Mile High’s ultimate braces-friendly food guide to the best restaurants in Denver, Thornton, and Englewood.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

First things first, let’s start with a little refresher on what foods to eat with braces and what foods to avoid. While it can be a bit of a bummer to be told what to eat, we’re here to assure you (and your kids) that eating with braces can be just as enjoyable as without. You’ll just need to follow a few hard-and-fast rules to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy.

Basically, you’ll want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky or any foods you have to bite into. Here’s a list of foods to avoid with braces and why:

    • Hard/crunchy foods: Popcorn, ice, chips or hard candies could potentially break your child’s brackets, which has the potential of delaying progress.
    • Chewy foods: Dense bread, like bagels or pizza crust, can get stuck in braces, making it more difficult to brush and floss effectively.
    • Sticky foods: Sticky items like caramels, candy and bubblegum are off-limits if your child has braces for obvious reasons. Not only do they get stuck in the brackets and wires, but these treats can also pull the brackets off your child’s teeth. And of course, the sugar itself isn’t good for developing mouths!
    • Foods you bite into: Biting into things like apples, corn-on-the-cob, or carrots are dangerous for your child’s hardware, so it’s best to avoid them until the braces come off.

The most important thing to remember about eating with braces is that you need to be extra diligent about oral health care. The brackets and wires create lots of extra little spaces for plaque and bacteria to hide, so your child will need to brush and floss after every snack and meal to avoid harmful build-up.

Where to Eat with Braces in Englewood, Thornton and Denver

Okay, now to the fun part! Let’s talk about all the delicious foods you can eat with braces in the Denver area. While eating out with braces can take a little extra forethought, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are our favorite restaurants in Denver, Englewood and Thornton for anyone — with or without braces

  • Undici Ristorante Italiano – 1200 E Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO – Italian food is one of the best things to eat with braces for many reasons: it’s delicious, it’s usually soft enough for even sensitive teeth, and everyone loves pasta! Undici has some of the best food in Englewood, serving up classic Italian dishes like calamari, spaghetti and meatballs, and tiramisu. The best part? All of the above are perfectly safe for diners with braces, so there’s no need to compromise. Undici is currently open for dine-in and takeout.
  • Garibaldi Mexican Bistro – 3298 S Broadway B, Englewood, CO – For a casual dining experience that even kiddos with braces will love, Garibaldi is the spot. It truly doesn’t get more authentic than this for real-deal Mexican eats in the heart of Englewood. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the chicken mole enchiladas or the daily quesadilla special. Mexican food is an ideal braces-friendly cuisine, as long as you stick to soft tortillas, not the crunchy kind. And be sure to cut everything into bite-sized pieces to guarantee your child’s braces stay safe! Garibaldi is currently open for takeout and delivery.
  • Doug’s Diner – 4243 E 136th Ave #6918, Thornton, CO – Everyone’s favorite diner in Thornton doubles as the perfect place to eat with braces. This neighborhood gem dishes up American classics like omelettes, hamburgers and sandwiches. Kids with braces can still eat at Doug’s, as long as they cut their food into bite-sized pieces or stick to soft menu items like the many delicious omelettes available. Doug’s Diner is currently open for dine-in and takeout.
  • Four Friends Kitchen – 2893 Roslyn St, Denver, CO – This Southern-inspired eatery is a fantastic place to eat out in Denver with braces. Located in Central Park, Four Friends was created by, you guessed it, four friends! So you know it’ll be a friendly restaurant for the whole family. For your braces-clad kiddos, stick to menu items like grits, waffles and mac-n-cheese. Four Friends is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery.
  • Ace Eat Serve – 501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO –  This has got to be one of the coolest restaurants in Denver, whether you have braces or not. With a menu full of unique Asian-inspired dishes and a dozen ping pong tables (yes, really), you and your kids are guaranteed to have a great time. Most things on the menu are safe for braces, including rice bowls, noodle bowls, bao buns, and especially the peanut butter Thai rolled ice cream (just watch out for those crunchy peanuts!). As long as you avoid any tough meats like the crispy beef, you should be in the clear. Ace Eat Serve is currently open for dine-in, takeout and delivery — and ping pong!

Did we miss one of your favorite local restaurants? We’d love to hear all about it at your next appointment with Kids Mile High. Contact us today to book.

Types of Braces for Kids

What are the Different Types of Braces for Kids and Teens?

By Orthodontics No Comments

What are the Different Types of Braces for Kids and Teens?

At Kids Mile High, we know that getting braces is a big deal for any child or teen. It’s a big first step towards achieving the smile they’ll have for the rest of their lives. But the decision to get braces is one thing — choosing from the many different kinds of braces is another. Depending on your personal preferences for how you want to look and your various lifestyle choices, there are a number of factors that indicate the type of braces that are best for you.

Every one of our Denver orthodontic patients has different goals for their smiles and there are many different ways to get straighter teeth. Traditional braces are a classic, proven way to straighten your teeth, but many teens would prefer a more discreet option. Fixed brackets might fit easily with some kids’ lifestyles, but for those who play sports, a removable device, like Invisalign aligners, are a better choice.

With so many different types of braces available, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your kids. But your kids shouldn’t have to change their whole lives to work with their orthodontic treatment — their orthodontic treatment should work with them to change their lives. If you’re struggling to choose the best type of braces for your teens, here’s everything you need to know about the kinds of braces we offer at Kids Mile High.

Not Your Parents’ Metal Braces

 

Metal braces are probably what come to mind when you first hear the word “braces.” That’s because they’re tried and true, with decades of proven results under their belts. Metal braces have been so popular over the years that they’ve practically become a teenage right of passage. They’re an effective method to straighten your kids’ teeth and give them the smile of their dreams.

Here’s how they work: the brackets are bonded to your teeth, where they’ll stay put for the entire duration of treatment. Then, your orthodontist will fit the brackets with a wire that’s bent into the desired position of your teeth. The brackets and wires work together to put pressure on your teeth and slowly move them into place. You can even customize them with funky colored elastics to let your personality shine through.

Even though metal braces have been around forever, they’ve come a long way from the chunky brackets and pokey wires they used to be. Braces today are much more streamlined, with smaller brackets and thinner wires. They cause less discomfort than traditional versions and are much more subtle than the mouthful of metal your parents wore in the ‘70s!

Cool and Clear Ceramic Braces

 

At Kids Mile High, we understand that metal braces aren’t for everyone. Some kids, particularly older kids and teens, would rather not have metal hardware on display every time they smile. For patients who prefer a more discreet kind of braces, we offer clear braces. Also known as ceramic braces, this type of treatment functions in the exact same way as metal braces, using brackets and wires to gradually straighten your teeth. But instead of metal, they’re made from (you guessed it) ceramic. The material blends in with the color of your teeth, meaning your braces will be much less noticeable to the naked eye.

The most common concern with ceramic braces is that they’re not as durable as metal braces and they can stain easily. That’s why they’re often recommended only for older teens and adults who will take care of them properly. But the newest kind of clear braces are stain resistant and made from stronger materials. Kids Mile High offers the latest ceramic braces technology for kids and teens of all ages.

Invisalign Teen: No Brackets, No Problem

 

You can’t argue with the proven teeth-straightening power of braces, but a fixed orthodontic device isn’t compatible for every person’s preferences and lifestyle. Fortunately, your kids can effectively straighten their teeth — free from brackets and wires — with Invisalign Teen.

Here’s how the process works: first, we’ll take a digital scan of your child’s mouth using the latest technology. Dr. Owens will use the scan to create a 3D model and map out the ideal movement of your child’s teeth. The prescription will then be sent to Invisalign where a series of customized clear aligners will be created. As your teen’s teeth continue to move throughout treatment, he or she will receive a new set of aligners to wear approximately every one to two weeks.

The benefits of Invisalign are obvious: since there’s no fixed appliance, your kiddos can still eat their favorite foods, it’s easier for them to clean their teeth and they can simply remove their aligners for sports activities. But for Invisalign Teen to be effective, your child has to wear his or her aligners for 22 hours a day. This type of orthodontic treatment is best for responsible kids who will stay on top of their treatment schedule and keep track of their aligners.

Kids Mile High is proud to offer the latest in orthodontic treatment options to give you and your kids the opportunity to choose your own braces adventure (under our expert supervision, of course!). Need help deciding which type of braces are best for your teen? Call your Denver orthodontist to book a consultation today.

dr-justin-owens-https://www.kidsmilehigh.com

Meet Your Denver Orthodontist: 20 Questions for Dr. Justin Owens

By Community, Orthodontics No Comments

If you’ve ever visited Kids Mile High, you might recognize Dr. Justin Owens as your fun, friendly Thornton orthodontist. As an expert in creating beautiful smiles for kids, he can even get your little ones excited about going to the orthodontist. Dr. Owens believes a good orthodontist is an orthodontist you can trust — so read on to learn more about him and why he got into the business of little smiles.

1.Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Denver, Colorado.

2. Why did you become an orthodontist?

A person’s smile is one of the first things you notice about them. Making a first impression with a beautiful smile can be very powerful, and I love helping people achieve their dream smile.

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

Exploring Thailand…and eating Thai food!

4. Who is your role model?

I’ve always looked up to my mom and dad.

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

I love hearing about what our patients are into at the moment, whether it’s a video game, movie, sports or music.

6. Did you have a nickname as a kid?

Everyone used to call me Hawk.

7. What’s your favorite movie?

Star Wars, all the way!

8. What was the most challenging part of orthodontic education?

While I was in school, I was working seven days a week while trying to help raise a family at the same time. That was hard!

9. What’s your hidden talent?

Umm…I’m a good whistler?

10. Did you like going to the orthodontist as a kid?

I loved it! (Weird, I know.)

11. What’s the next thing on your bucket list?

I want to travel more. Hawaii is probably next.

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

I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2002.

13. Which sports team do you root for?

Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche…I love them all equally.

14. What do you think makes you different from other orthodontists?

As an orthodontist, it’s my job to look at people’s teeth to see how I can improve them. I try to put myself in my patients’ shoes to make the experience as fun and enjoyable as possible.

15. If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Definitely flying.

16. If you had a time machine, which era would be your first stop?

I’d go straight to ancient Egypt.

17. What’s your spirit animal?

Eagle…so I could fly!

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

Find a dentist you trust. Find a dentist your child trusts. Then see this dentist regularly.

19. What is your favorite food?

I’m a huge sushi fan.

20. What is your favorite holiday?

I love Christmas.

Want to meet Dr. Owens in real life and find out if he’s the right orthodontist for your little ones? Book an appointment today!

young-children-first-see-an-orthodontist

When Should My Child First See an Orthodontist?

By Orthodontics No Comments

Why & When Should Your Child First See an Orthodontist?

young children with braces smiling at camera

We all want the best in life for our kids — from their health and happiness, down to their self-esteem and confidence. For many of us, children and adults alike, that confidence starts with a smile. After all, studies show that having straight teeth improves happiness and overall quality of life. When a child first see an orthodontist early in life, it can streamline the process.

While most of us seem to associate braces and other orthodontic treatments with the awkward pre-teen and teenage years, in reality your child should have his or her first visit with an orthodontist well before high school. Your child’s teeth might look fine to the untrained eye, but an orthodontist has the expertise to detect bite and jaw issues in patients from an early age.

The doctors at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry are your go-to orthodontists for kids in Denver. Offering pediatric dentistry and orthodontics in Central Park, Englewood and Thornton, we’re committed to helping your little ones put their best smile forward. If you’ve ever wondered if your child needs to see an orthodontist, here’s when to book your child for their first appointment with an orthodontist and why early orthodontic treatment is worthwhile.

What’s the right age to take my child to an orthodontist?

You might be thinking, “My child’s teeth are straight and she’s not having any pain — so why should I take her to see an orthodontist?” The answer is because there may be underlying issues that only an orthodontist can see. The best time for your child’s first orthodontic visit is at seven years old. This doesn’t mean your second grader is going to walk out of her first appointment with a mouth full of braces, but the sooner we have an idea of how your child’s teeth are developing, the better off he or she will be.

Orthodontic treatment is meant to complement your child’s growth by managing existing problems and preventing further issues from occurring. Orthodontic treatment is most effective when timed strategically alongside your child’s ongoing development. Intervening at the appropriate time can make a world of difference in your child’s teenage and adult years.

Dr. Owens, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are trained to assess and identify bite issues early on, even when your child still has baby teeth. By the age of seven, your child’s mouth has developed enough to detect potential problems and determine whether early orthodontic treatment is necessary. Early diagnosis is the best way to prevent orthodontic problems in adulthood, so if your kiddo is nearing their seventh birthday, call your pediatric dentist in Denver to book an appointment.

What happens at my child’s first orthodontic appointment?

The goal of the first appointment is to determine if treatment is needed and, if so, the appropriate time for optimum results. A thorough clinical examination is given. Photographs and x-rays of the teeth and mouth will be taken. The orthodontist will give a diagnosis, explain any orthodontic problems and recommend a course of action.

The outcome can vary; your child’s teeth may still be developing and a recommendation for a recheck visit in six months may be indicated. Similarly, the orthodontist may feel your child would benefit from early interceptive orthodontic treatment.  

Interceptive orthodontics refers to any orthodontic treatment that seeks to fix problems before they have a chance to fully develop. Through the use of fixed or removable devices, such as spacers or retainers, these treatments guide dental and facial development for optimal health and appearance. Interceptive orthodontic treatment is not right for everyone, but it may lessen the need for more extensive intervention in the future. That’s why it’s so important to get an assessment early on.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

There are a number of issues that may come to light at your child’s first orthodontic appointment: misaligned jaw, tooth crowding, or habit-based problems like thumb sucking or teeth grinding. All of these issues can be fixed with interceptive orthodontics, but this requires early assessment. Getting a head start now can have significant benefits for your child’s health and happiness.

At seven years old, your child’s jaw is still developing — interceptive orthodontics uses this to its advantage. For example, it’s easier to correct problems like crowding before your child’s adult teeth have come in. Likewise, jaw alignment issues are easier to address when the jaw has not yet settled into its final position. If Dr. Paddy, Dr. Castro or Dr. Roger recommend interceptive orthodontics, there’s no need to stress. They only want to help your child and stop issues from developing any further. Remember: a little treatment now usually means less invasive and less lengthy treatment down the line.

An early diagnosis can also help parents prepare financially for the cost of further orthodontic treatment like braces. At our pediatric dentistry office in Thornton, we are happy to accept Medicaid for medically necessary orthodontic treatment. If you’d like more information, please contact us to chat.

How does interceptive orthodontics work?

Orthodontic treatment typically happens in two phases. Interceptive orthodontics is also referred to as Phase 1 orthodontic treatment. During this phase, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger or Dr.Owens will correct any negative oral habits (like thumb sucking), guide the development and alignment of the jaw, and support the proper positioning of incoming adult teeth. The goal of Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is to set the foundation for a beautiful, healthy smile for your child.

Here are some common conditions that interceptive orthodontics can treat:

 

  • Teeth crowding
  • Overbites and underbites
  • Jaw irregularities
  • Crossbite, deep bite and open bite
  • Narrow dental arches, caused by thumb sucking or pacifier use
  • Missing teeth
  • Protruding teeth

While Phase 1 interception significantly reduces the need for further treatment, it typically is not enough to fully correct dental problems on its own. In most cases, Phase 2 is required to complete your child’s orthodontic treatment. Phase 2 treatment refers to the normal orthodontic treatment you’d expect for your pre-teen or teenager. This is when your child would receive braces, if needed, to shift adult teeth into their desired final position. The necessity for and length of Phase 2 depends on your child’s unique situation and if they’ve previously received Phase 1 orthodontic treatment.

Adolescence is a pivotal time of life that comes with its own set of challenges. It’s hard enough without being self-conscious about your teeth. Our role as pediatric dentists in Denver is to give your kids the opportunity to grow up proud to show off their smiles. Ready to book your child in to see an orthodontist for his or her first time? Visit Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry in Central Park, Englewood or Thornton. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s dental health.