Toothbrush Alternatives | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

It’s important to brush your teeth every day – we all know this. But there are times when a toothbrush isn’t readily available. Say, you go camping, or you travel somewhere remote and forgot to pack one? Sure, these are extreme times, but they could happen. It’s nice to know there are ways we can maintain our oral health until we get a toothbrush, right? Below are a few ways we can substitute some regular everyday items for a toothbrush when we are in a pinch:

Washcloth or paper towel. Say you aren’ta great packer, and your hotel doesn’t have a gift shop inside of it. You can use a paper towel or a washcloth as a substitute. Just wrap your index finger with the paper towel or washcloth, use toothpaste if you have but water will do, then brush your teeth like you would with a toothbrush. Start at your gums and work your way down each tooth. Make sure to wash your tongue as well. Rinse with water and there you have it – a clean mouth.

Find a twig. If you are camping or hiking, a great alternative for a toothbrush is a twig. The first toothbrushes were actually twigs so you aren’t far off with this option. Find a flexible twig about 6-8 inches long. Peel off the skin and chew on an end until it frays. A natural toothbrush!

Your index finger. If worse comes to worse and none of these are an option, there’s always your finger. Make sure you wash your hands before you begin, then take your index finger and starting at the gums, work your finger like a toothbrush, cleaning in a circular motion until all teeth are clean. Rinse your finger for each quadrant, then rinse.

If you would like more information on toothbrushes, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Signs and Symptoms: Cavities Edition | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

We all know that a dentist is the expert on all things oral. But there are times when you may feel a sharp pain or a twinge when you eat or drink something hot or cold. While this could be a couple of things, it could be that you’ve developed a cavity. It’s time to make a dental appointment to find out for sure. Because if this is the case, you will likely need a filling.

I know you may feel a bit skittish about this, but it is important that you remedy the situation. If left untreated, it can progress into more severe dental issues, so it is important to keep an eye on your smile and any changes that may be developing. So, if you notice any of the following signs, dental fillings will likely be a solution:

  • A dark spot or hole in your tooth
  • A chipped tooth
  • A rough tooth
  • If floss is tearing in a particular location between your teeth

If your dentist finds that a filling is necessary, you will be presented with a few options, including amalgam, composite and ionomers. Amalgam fillings are very durable, easy to use, and inexpensive when compared to other materials and usually used for molars. Composite fillings are made out of a mixture of glass or quartz and resin, producing a tooth-colored filling. Composite fillings are durable and provide good resistance against fracture in small to medium restorations but tend to stain and discolor over time. Ionomers, on the other hand, are made out of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders used to fill cavities on the root surfaces of teeth or in small fillings that do not require any chewing resistance.

If you would like more information on dental fillings, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Your Smile Is Turning Yellow | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Are you tired of having yellow, stained teeth, despite your strict daily dental hygiene? You are not alone. There are millions of people suffering from the same problem. Not only is it a natural occurrence, but it will continue happen throughout our lives. So, if you brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly then why are your teeth still discolored? This happens because the outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years by our diet or bad habits like tobacco use. Drinking red wine and other dark beverages are fantastic and should be enjoyed. When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth all day until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened.

This is why keeping up with your daily dental practices are so important. But there are ways to brighten that smile of yours. And the best way to help your stained discolored teeth is professional tooth whitening.

While most of our teeth staining comes naturally over time, these are also some of the contributing factors to your teeth becoming yellow and stained:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

While staining is natural and will continue to happen, regardless of our efforts, there are simple ways to slow down the process. Here are some tips:

  • Visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings
  • Rinse your mouth out with water several times throughout the day
  • Use toothpaste with whitening agents; just be aware not to overdo it.

If you would like more information on brightening your smile, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

What Are the Benefits of Swishing Daily with an Oral Rinse? | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

In order to have the healthiest mouth possible, daily steps need to be done. Brushing, flossing and rinsing each day will not only keep your smile bright, but healthy as can be. We all know what brushing and flossing does, but what exactly is the role of mouthwash? Let’s take a look at the benefits of swishing a bit of mouthwash each day:

Freshens breath. First and most obviously, mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath. Mouthwash kills bacteria associated with causing bad breath leaving you with minty fresh breath.

Prevents plaque build-up. Various mouthwashes help prevent plaque build-up on your gums, in-between teeth, and on the surface of your teeth. Although it prevents the build-up of plague, it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists on your teeth.

Removes particles. Most people use mouthwash only after brushing. This is a perfectly fine practice but used before before brushing to rinse out loose particles in your mouth will make the brushing and flossing more effective.

Stop cavities from forming. Regular use of mouthwash before and after you brush and floss, you can reduce the chances of cavities forming. Mouthwashes that contain fluoride can prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel. Remember, not all mouthwashes contain fluoride. (Source: WebMD)

Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing and should be used along with good oral health habits. It only takes a moment to rinse but the positive impact on your oral health is much greater. With rinsing daily you can successfully navigate around dental problems.

If you would like more information on oral rinses, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

What You Need to Know About Pediatric Dental Care | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Many parents believe that the best time to establish good dental hygiene habits is right when their child’s first tooth appears. In actuality, the best time to start taking care of your child’s teeth is the moment that your child is born. Because even without teeth, bacteria can build up on the mouth’s surfaces. To prevent this from happening, wipe your baby’s gums with a soft damp cloth after every feeding. Once your child’s teeth develop and break through the gums, it’s time to start brushing just like you would, but with a few tweaks. Use a soft children’s toothbrush and minimal to no non-fluoride toothpaste. As they reach preschool-age, feel free to start using fluoride toothpaste. You may also want to increase the amount of toothpaste to about the size of a pea. Little humans have a tendency to swallow the toothpaste, instead of spitting it out, leaving permanent stains on the teeth.

Cavities are the resulting holes formed by the acid from the bacteria or germs in your mouth when they’ve consumed too much sugar from your food. Keep sugar to small, regulated treats. But that’s not all; there are other circumstances, like being born with low birth weight or premature, ongoing treatment for any special health care needs, brown areas and white spots on the teeth and infrequent trips to the dentist can all lead to the development of cavities.

To stop this from happening, start teaching your family good dental hygiene habits. Everyone needs to be involved in order to get the habit to stick. Other family members can pass on cavity-causing bacteria to both children and babies, so every family member has to make an effort to take care of their teeth properly.

If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Keeping Bad Breath out of Your Mouth | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.” Sure, we all know that eating stinky foods like garlic or onions, but there are also some medications or lifestyle habits that can also be causing your dragon breath. If you find that bad breath is commonplace, you may want to consult a dental professional.

Because saliva is a major player in keeping your mouth clean and halitosis at bay, it is important to keep your saliva production going at all times. It isn’t difficult; keeping a nice glass of water close is helpful. Many of our favorite beverages actually dehydrate our systems due to the sugars.

So, what do we do to maintain fresh breath throughout the day? Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. Avoid sugary drinks!

Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue.

Avoid smoking or other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath. Smoking gives people horrible breath!

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities

If you would like more information on bad breath, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

What Is Teething Syndrome? | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

When we bring a child into the world, we do everything we can to make their lives as painless as possible. But there are some things we can’t control, like teething. And while we know it is a necessary part of life, there are a couple of things that we can do to ease the pain as much as possible. Let’s take a deeper dive into everything that is teething.

According to the American Dental Association, babies start teething when they are between 6 and 12 months old and have the full set by 3. Babies are born with a full set of teeth underneath their gums.

These teeth break through the gums in stages. Typically, the classic bottom teeth — often referred to as pegs — come in first, followed by the top middle teeth. From this point on, the remaining teeth will cut through the gums over a period of three years, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When it comes to symptoms, every baby is different. Here is a list of the basic signs that your tiny human may experience:

  • Drooling
  • Chewing on solid objects
  • Mild fussiness and crankiness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore and tender gums
  • Red and swollen gums

While teething is a natural process, there are some tried and true methods to help relieve your baby’s discomfort. You can try rubbing your child’s gums with a damp washcloth, have them chew on a teething ring or frozen fruits and veggies when they are able to eat more solid foods, even give a bit of infant acetaminophen or teething gels.

Many parents believe that high fever and diarrhea are also symptoms of teething, but you should contact your pediatrician if they continue to experience discomfort.

If you would like more information on teething, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

New Year, Who Dis? | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

As we embark on a brand-new year, we tend to stop and take stock on our lives and how we’d like to improve in the coming year. What are your resolutions going to be? Are they all health-based? Are they more financial? A mixture or lots of aspects? When coming up with your 2022 resolutions, make sure you add dental health to your list.

Most dentists will tell patients that the two most important things they can do at home are to brush and to floss regularly, because our dental health links directly to our overall health. But there is a right and wrong way to do so, and it’s important to understand the difference.

You should brush at least two times a day, and it should take about 2 minutes each time. Brush lightly with a soft-bristled toothbrush, being careful not to damage the gums. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and move the brush in an up and down motion, using short strokes. Avoid long, wide, side to side sweeping strokes that can cause scrapes along your gums. Every three months or so, swap it out for a fresh one to avoid bacteria.

Avoid acidic drinks that can weaken enamel – coffee, soda, orange juice, and energy drinks all will contribute to weakened enamel. Because of this, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming them (in fact, you can avoid brushing immediately after a meal). If you wait a half hour after eating or drinking before brushing, your saliva will have an opportunity to bring your mouth back to its normal form, allowing your enamel to re-harden and make it less likely to be damaged during brushing.

If you would like more information on dental hygiene practices, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Halloween Dental Tips for Your Trick-or-Treaters | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Well, we’ve made it back to yet another Halloween night. And while this night is the spookiest of all, it is the days following that are the spookiest for your dentist. Because we want to keep our little smiles healthy and happy, it is time to start to have some handy tips to the trick-or-treat rewards – the candy. Because this is a favorite time of year for your tiny monsters – no need to spoil it with strict rules.

Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation. By teaching children to eat sweets in moderation, it is easier to carry it over into your day-to-day lives. After all, Halloween isn’t the only time of year where treats are abundant. Allow your children to choose what they want, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras – they can be saved for a future day, frozen for later, thrown away, or donated.

It is also important to know that the effect of sugar is not instant. If children eat candy for a short time period, and then brush their teeth a short time later, the impact of the sugar is fairly minimal. Set a certain amount of time for children to enjoy their Halloween candy, like after school or for dessert. This allows them to prioritize their candy enjoyment, minimize the chances that they’ll consume far too much, and help prevent cavities.

When it comes to brushing, realize that children don’t care about dental health; it’s our job to stimulate their interest. Try swapping a traditional toothbrush for fun one or cranking on a favorite tune and turn it into a family affair. Happy Halloween!

If you would like more information on Halloween dental tips, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

How Gum Disease Affects Your Body | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

When we think about our dental health, we mainly box it into things relating to our smile. If we don’t look after them, our smiles are affected. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Because our mouth is our first line of defense when it comes to our OVERALL health, it is important to know that how we treat our smiles can directly affect the way our body responds. Because oral issues, like gum disease or poor dental hygiene, can be linked to other life-threatening diseases, here is a breakdown of just what is affected:

Blood. Individuals with diabetes are more like to have periodontal disease than those without diabetes. Gum disease makes it harder to control you blood sugar, resulting in a high chance for diabetic issues.

Brain. Researchers have found that there may be a close link to poor oral health with an increased risk of dementia. Oral bacteria may spread to the brain through cranial nerves that connect to the jaw and may contribute to a type of plaque that has been linked to Alzheimer’s.

Heart. Individuals with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. Harmful bacteria from your mouth enter your blood stream and attaches to fatty plaques in your heart’s blood vessels. Ultimately leading to inflammation in which makes you more prone to clots that may trigger heart attacks.

Lungs. Individuals with poor hygiene are hurting their respiratory systems. Gum disease may increase your risk of respiratory infections such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Reproductive system. Women with gum disease take an average two months longer to conceive a child that those who don’t have gum disease.

If you would like more information on health issues caused by poor dental hygiene, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.