Monday, August 5, 2013

Farewell to Dr. Zach/Introducing Dr. Matt

Many of you have probably noticed that Dr. Zach has been absent from the office for the past several months.  Back in April Zach had surgery on his hand to try and help with some chronic pain and discomfort he has been having.  After the surgery, some rehab, and some long talks with his surgeon and family Dr. Zach has decided that it is best for him long term to not practice pediatric dentistry on a full time basis.  Derek, Zach and Jeff trained together and have been good friends for a long time.  This was a very serious decision and we will miss him more than we can possibly express.  The exciting news is that he is taking the opportunity to become the Pediatric Dental Residency Director at the University of Nebraska.  This means that generations of new pediatric dentists will benefit from the experience and knowledge of a truly remarkable mentor and outstanding pediatric dentist.

Since Zach has been out, Dr. Matt Brady has been helping us out. Matt is currently in the process of opening his own office in Parker.  However, he has agreed to stay with us on a part time basis for another year while we iron out finding Zach's replacement.  A little bit about Matt:

Dr. Matthew Brady grew up in the small town of Nevada City, CA. From an early age he was been working with children: as a swim instructor, swim coach, middle school teacher and now a pediatric dentist. He is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University with a BS in biochemistry. He completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine, where he received the Dean’s award for his presentation on Child Abuse Awareness and Recognition in the Dental Office. Dr. Brady received his commission in the US Navy and went on to complete an Advance Education in General Dentistry. While serving in Naples, Italy he was chosen by the Navy to train in pediatric dentistry at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Shortly thereafter, he received the status of Diplomate in the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

We thank you for your continued understanding and confidence.  As always we want your children to have the best dental experience possible.  Enjoy the rest of your summer - Dr. Jeff

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

National Children's Dental Health Month

February Makes Us Shiver With Every Toothbrush We Deliver
We’re excited it’s February! And not just because of Valentine’s day. Did you know February is designated as National Children’s Dental Health Month?  This means that dental professionals across America make a special effort to help educate families on oral health topics, as well as facilitate dental care for those in need.

As part of an effort to encourage children to brush two times a day, for two minutes at a time, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry set a program in motion called 2Min2X. It can be found on the user-friendly website:

To view the mobile site on your phone, just enter the standard URL –

It should automatically open as the mobile version. Those with iPhones and Android devices will be prompted to download the app version of the page to your phones when the site first loads.

One of the purposes of this app is to provide a ‘toothbrushing timer’. Each video segment is 2 minutes long - designed to encourage children to brush for the right amount of time. Check it out! This might prove to be very useful for your kids.

And from all of your friends at Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry:

“Happy Brushing!” 

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Right to Bear Soda

Should our right to bear soda pop be taken away?

New York City’s health board held a public hearing this past Tuesday regarding Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed soda pop regulation.

Proponents say frequent soft drink consumption directly relates to the rise in childhood obesity and diabetes; we would add that regularly drinking sweet beverages seriously contributes to dental disease.

Critics complain that government officials shouldn’t have such excessive control over what people consume. What next will come to the table?

No matter what side of this debate you find yourself, isn’t it great that we’re able to have such discussions?

Ignoring problems will not make them go away. We certainly have trouble pretending like dental disease doesn’t exist. We find that open, honest dialogue is really the best way to handle preventable disease.

These are some of the things we consider when we counsel with parents and patients:
  • What we eat and drink is strongly tied to our culture and environment.
  •  Dietary practices have a very large influence on dental disease.
  • Frequent simple carbohydrate exposure, such as sweet beverages, puts kids at very high risk for cavities (not to mention other serious medical problems).
  • Inducing guilt and coercing kids doesn’t work well.
  • Positive reinforcement, along with taking small steps toward healthier habits can really pay off in the long run.

No, limiting a soda pop container to 16 ounces at our favorite restaurant won’t mean that we’ll be free of obesity, diabetes and cavities. It just puts a crimp in our life and liberty. But think of what a clear message such a regulation can send to our young people, who are just trying to figure out what’s good and bad for them: “Be careful what and how much you consume. You are what you eat (and drink)!”

-          Dr. Zach

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back to the Blog

It has been a crazy summer at Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Derek completed his 3rd full Iron Man in June, our second practice finally opened in July, we weathered the Waldo Canyon Fire with our great Colorado Springs Community, and Dr. Zach is working his way back after having some minor surgery in early August.

In the wake of all of this the Blog fell to the wayside.  Our first new post should be up next week.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful men and women in the fire department, police department, forest service, utilities, red cross, salvation army, service members and many others; who came together, along with all of our great communities, to protect our neighborhoods and to pull us through the very stressful and emotional weeks around the Waldo Canyon Fire.  We all feel blessed to live in such a great place.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, we look forward to seeing you at the Zoo on August 3rd.

And as always, remember to brush - Dr. Jeff

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Does Frequent Feeding Affect My Child's Teeth?

Time magazine's breastfeeding cover story, "Are You Mom Enough?", will not hit newsstands until next week.  However the subject matter of this cover has generated a great deal of debate in both the national and local media over the last week.  I am not, nor do I claim to be an expert in parenting or psychology.  For that reason I will leave the debate as to whether attachment parenting and/or "ferberizing" is better for your child to the experts.  Instead I will stick to a subject that I do know something about, teeth.

Unlike the majority of media outlets, my initial reaction to this photo was not to judge how well adjusted or possibly how much therapy this child might need someday.  Due to the fact that I am a Pediatric Dentist, and therefore a tooth nerd, my first thought when I saw this photo was, "Good Lord, I really hope his mom is a good brusher".

The article and many news pundits have labeled the behaviors involved in this style of parenting "extreme".  From a dental standpoint the frequency of food intake, often multiple times per hour during infancy, qualifies as such.  Although attachment parenting has become controversial partly because of the frequency and duration of breastfeeding, it is not the only parent behavior that includes "extreme" frequency feeding or as some call it "grazing".  Many American parenting styles lend themselves to frequent feeding.  This includes ad lib breastfeeding, ad lib bottle use, sippy cups, frequent snacking and using candy as a reward. That's not to say that these things are wrong when used appropriately. It's just important to pay attention to how often you are using them. Several of you, who have been in the office, may have heard me talk about how cavities are a disease of frequency.  Simply put, the more often you eat or drink, the more often the bacteria that live in your mouth get to eat and drink.  The acids that make holes in your teeth are a normal byproduct of bacterial metabolism.  Therefore, the more often you eat, the more often bacteria get to make acids, and the more likely you are to get cavities.  Think of it this way; if children only ate three times per day, then the bacteria in their mouths would only get three chances to make cavities.  When children get frequent snacks or ad lib feeding, there are many more opportunities for them to get cavities.

So what is the best strategy to prevent cavities in the face of frequent feeding?  The best approach is to pay attention to how often your child is eating.  In addition to their regular three meals a day, the two snacks in daycare, the lollipop reward for being quiet at the grocery store, and the sippy cup of juice that they nursed all afternoon, all count as meals.  The ideal way to minimize your child's risk for cavities would be to limit the amount of times per day that they eat.  I would recommend three meals and one snack with only water to drink in between meals.  If you find this to be unrealistic or challenging to do, then your next best option is to adjust your oral hygiene regimen.  Brushing two times per day is not going to be enough for a child who eats this frequently.  Consider brushing or at least wiping your child's teeth with a moist cloth after every "meal", and fluoride tooth paste twice per day is a must for frequent feeders.  If in doubt, consult your child's Pediatric Dentist.

Parenting is a challenging undertaking.  My opinion and understanding has changed multiple times over the lives of my 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son. When choosing your style, it is important to consider how the behaviors affect all aspects of your child's health and routine.  The take home message here is this; if you choose a parenting style that is "extreme" in regard to feeding, then you need to adjust your child's oral health care to that "extreme".  Good luck and happy brushing.     

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Interesting Information from Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry?

Zach Houser, Derek Kirkham, Jeff Kahl

Derek, Zach and I are parents who just happen to look into children’s mouths for a living.  As parents we filter a great deal of what we read, and see, through the experience that comes with raising our children.  That experience generates a lot of questions.  Not all of those questions are easily answered, even the dental related ones.

Why is the title a question? There are many sources for information on the internet, particularly related to children’s wellness and dentistry.  In fact our website has a great deal of general information about frequently asked questions in pediatric dentistry (  Still what happens when the issue is not general?  Or what if a story or opinion presented in the national or local media is controversial?  What about the parent who comes in and asks a really good question that has not been addressed before?  I often tell parents that they could not possibly ask me something that I had never heard before. Still I sometimes find myself scratching my head. This blog is an attempt to answer the “interesting” questions or to clear up misconceptions that may come up.

My hope is that the information here may be interesting enough that you might occasionally ask questions, or even take home a more useful way to approach dental care with your children. So why is the blog called “The Tiny Tooth”?  My daughter thought it was cool; she is seven and claims to be an authority on such things, so I went with it.