Brush Along the Gumline!

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - February 19, 2020

There are many catch phrases in dentistry such as, “Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth,” or “Don’t eat too many sugary snacks,” and “Only floss the ones you want to keep!”

One of my personal catch phrases that I say to parents often at Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry is, “The most commonly neglected place to brush is right along your gumline.” 

We are able to determine patients who do and patients who don’t brush well along their gumline because those who don’t will have puffy, red and inflamed gums along the margins of their gums (where the gums touch the teeth). 

Another indication that patients should improve brushing along their gumline is the presence of white spots on teeth near the gumline.  These white spots represent an early stage of a cavity.  Without an improvement in brushing along the gumline, these white spots can turn into full-blown cavities that have the potential to spread to other teeth or cause pain that can lead to missed school.

When we see patients with gumlines that are red and puffy, we always have a lengthy discussion about how to improve brushing-habits including where the toothbrush bristles need to be aimed, and how best to floss the enhance gum health.

When we notice the presence of white spots along a patient’s gumline, we have the same discussion about increasing oral hygiene habits, and we also often recommend an extra strength toothpaste that can help to turn those early-stage cavities back into healthy tooth structure over time.

Thanks for reading!

Facilitating dental health for you and yours,
Dr. Nick at Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry

Dr. Nick - Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - Brushing & Flossing Frequency

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - October 7, 2019

When I explain to parents that they should be brushing twice daily and flossing once daily, they look at me like I have multiple heads!  I get it…brushing and flossing my teeth alone can be a chore, let alone three other little mouths.  But I assure you that the payoff of dental health is worth the effort.  Plus, you get your child used to what the norm should be and engrain in them what will hopefully become routine for the rest of their life.   Don’t think because I am a pediatric dentist that brushing my kiddos teeth is an easy task.  It is not!  I hear every excuse possible!  My typical mornings consist of plopping bowls of breakfast foods down for my kids, tell them to hurry and eat up, then when they are done picking or flicking their food all over the table and floor, I tell them “time to brush your teeth.”  Their response – NO!  Then the excuses start rolling in.  “I’m not done with breakfast”; “It’s so and so’s turn to brush their teeth”; “I will go last”; “I’m busy playing”; “I’m not dressed”; “I brushed my teeth yesterday”.  With the little patience I can muster, lo and behold our children eventually give in with a “Fine, I’ll go”.  With those three little words, I hustle that child to the bathroom where I have the toothbrushes and toothpaste ready to go.  I brush each child’s teeth for 1-2 minutes and make sure I brush both the top and bottom teeth equally with small circular motions.  Next!  This process normally takes me 15 minutes but this is also because I put on sunscreen and brush their hair.  Brushing the twins hair will change once their hair actually grows in past their necks! 

Nighttime brushing, I approach the same way except I include flossing.  I recommend starting to floss when neighboring teeth are touching.  Because you are adding another item on the to-do list, their delay tactics will potentially grow even more bazar as they go from energizer bunnies to gremlins.  They are tired, they don’t want to open their mouths, they don’t want to stand still (morning attribute as well), and they are spitting water/toothpaste at the mirror.  I could go on!  But it is crucial that you brush and floss your child’s teeth after a long day of eating who knows what.  Unless your child is a health nut and stays away from sugar, they will likely have a lot of buildup from the day. 

We use the flossers to floss our kid’s teeth.  It will help with your wrist ergonomics and decrease the chance that your fingers will get in the way of a ferocious chomp.  We use electric toothbrushes at night and manual toothbrushes in the morning only because that is the routine we found ourselves in.  I believe both toothbrushes will do a fine job cleaning teeth so choose the one that your child is more likely to use.  As for toothpaste, search around for the flavor your child will like the best; but please make sure it contains fluoride (so long as your child doesn’t have any allergies or other reasons for not using fluoride).  As for the amount of fluoride, our recommendations are a rice-grain size until age 3 and a pea-sized amount after age 3.

So I’m not trying to add to your already eventful morning and evenings.  I’m just trying to encourage healthy routines and cavity-free dental appointments!

Happy brushing and flossing!

Dr. Nick - Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - Cerebral Palsy and Salivation

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - September 19, 2019

We see many patients with Cerebral Palsy (CP) at Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry.  Often, patients with special needs remain with pediatric dentists into their older years since we are accustomed to managing behavior, which may become more unpredictable in these populations.  In fact, our oldest patient with CP is in her 40s!

A frequent characteristic of CP is an increase in salivation due to a decrease in muscle tone of the oral musculature that normally keeps saliva in the mouth.  I have spoken with parents of patients with CP who occasionally find the amount of salivation frustrating.  This article reviews some of the treatment modalities available to patients with CP and their family members to help mitigate the amount of salivation.  Covered in this article is surgical management (removal of salivary glands), management with medication and management with Botox.  Each of these treatment options will act to decrease salivation by decreasing salivary flow or saliva production.

Saliva has a tremendous effect in reducing the amount of cavities that develop.  The reason being is that as saliva flows through our mouth it essentially washes food debris or bacteria from the surfaces of our teeth.  Saliva also possesses nutrients that help maintain the mineralization content of our teeth, thereby reducing cavities. 

The article reports that surgical management is the only treatment option out of the three that will increase a patient’s risk of developing cavities.  However, I would exercise caution to any parent considering any of these options to manage salivation.  A thorough discussion with the physician of the person with CP is certainly in order.  Impeccable oral hygiene is also a must if there is any possibility of increasing the risk of developing cavities.

Dr. Nick - Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - Pacifiers: What’s the Harm in Them?

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - September 12, 2019

My wife and I have three young children.  One was born while I was buried in literature to read and memorize during my pediatric dentistry residency; the other two were born soon after we moved across the country, became small business owners and lost virtually all of our free time (the life of parents, am I right?!).  Our eldest refused the pacifier but our two younger ones loved their binkies and we loved the peace and quiet that the pacifiers provided.  This begs the question when can too much of a good thing (pacifier use and its associated peace and quiet) create a bad thing (unfavorable changes to the way their teeth fit together)?

Nonnutritive sucking behaviors is a blanket term that refers to any oral habits not associated with eating or drinking.  Two very common nonnutritive sucking behaviors in infants are pacifier use and thumb-sucking.  These behaviors are typical and not worrisome in most children.  In fact, they are helpful in developing and strengthening the muscles that surround and involve the mouth.  These behaviors can become problematic; however, when a child engages in them for an extended period of time because of the forces that they exert on the teeth and jaw structures.

Prolonged nonnutritive sucking behaviors may unfavorably affect the way children’s upper and lower teeth fit together; the dental term for this is malocclusion.  Factors that ultimately determine the type and severity of malocclusion that may develop are the magnitude, duration and frequency of the behavior.  Generally speaking, the duration of the habit is the most predominant predictor of whether a malocclusion will develop; therefore, earlier cessation of these behaviors decrease the chance that it will affect the way your child’s teeth fit together.  In my practice, we recommend that parents help their kids eliminate these behaviors by the age of 3 years.  Continuing these behaviors beyond the age of 3 years will increase the odds that changes to their teeth or jaws may become permanent. 

If you are concerned any of these behaviors with your child, I recommend you have a consultation with a pediatric dentist to discuss the implications of their specific behavior and to discuss ways to prevent them from continuing.  We have found success with a variety of different ways to discourage these behaviors.  Most importantly, employing positive reinforcement by simply talking with your child and telling him or her that big boys/girls don’t do these sorts of things and that continuing to do it can hurt their teeth.  To discourage thumb sucking, some ideas are wrapping tape or a band aid around your child’s thumb.  Another idea is to paint a nail polish that doesn’t taste great on the nails that your child sucks (one such brand of this is Mavala).  To discourage pacifier sucking, we recommend gradually cutting the pacifier back such that one day it becomes a nub that your child can no longer suck on or keep in his/her mouth.  Alternatively, some parents have found success with cutting the pacifier in half and having their child find it “broken” (it’s important psychologically to use this word) and having him or her throw it away.  Finally, if your child seems to have any sort of physical dependence to the pacifier, parents have also reported success with building it into a stuffed animal.  This way your child will still be able to feel it but not place it in his or her mouth.  Ultimately, the method of quitting the behavior is child-dependent and the parents should decide which avenue will likely be the most successful for their child. 

Aside from the effect on your child’s jaw and teeth development, other implications of pacifier use has long been mired in controversy.  There have been studies performed that have concluded that early pacifier use leads to an infant having less ambition to breastfeed.  Other studies have claimed that pacifier use is associated with an increased development of a type of ear infection known as otitis media.  Another area of research has indicated that pacifier use decreases a child’s risk of developing SIDS.  As you can see, the implications of pacifier use extend beyond the development of your child’s teeth and jaws.  My personal opinion with regard to these studies is that although there may be an association between pacifier use and the above mentioned conditions, no direct cause cause-and-effect relationship can be established at this time.  I’m sure that we will all hear about more research being conducted on these topics with time. 

The following link provides more information with what was discussed above:


Dr. Nick - Lone Tree Dentist - Offering Advice By Blogging

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - September 9, 2019

My name is Dr. Nick Miner and I have owned Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry for 4 years!  Needless to say, it has been a whirlwind; however, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  My wife and I moved from Boston to Lone Tree with our then 16-month-old son, rented a home that would be big enough for our soon to be family of 5.  Yes – we welcomed twin girls January of 2016!  So why not purchase an awesome dental practice to add to all of this chaos?!  It’s like the saying, “when it rains it pours” and we wanted it to pour knowing that we would experience some lows but mostly highs!  I always like to focus on the positives and that has been being part of this amazing Lone Tree community.  I enjoy not only seeing you in my office but also out and about.  The Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Parker, Castle Rock, Castle Pines and Littleton communities, just to name a few, have also provided much support in my journey.  I have learned a lot from being a business owner.  Furthermore, I cherish all the information I have learned in my many (13!) years of dental training and experience.  Knowledge is intended to be shared.  One of the many things we take pride in at Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry is educating our families about good oral hygiene.  This information is not only for our toddler-aged patients but also for those through college and beyond.  Along with being a pediatric dentist, business owner, father of 3, and husband to a wife that will forever beat me at tennis, I’ve decide to blog!  My topics will range from dentistry to being a business owner with insight to the dental world.  I hope you enjoy what I have planned!