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.

Seven Simple Ways to Quit Snoring | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

No one wants to hear that they snore, but it’s more than just a nuisance to the people around you. A poor night’s sleep can cause some very cranky, unproductive days, but it can also lead to health issues. Chronic snoring may be a sign of something more serious and should be checked out by a professional. If it becomes something like sleep apnea, it could lead to heart issues down the line.

There are various options when it comes to sleep aids but be careful which you choose. Asking a medical professional will be able to suggest an appropriate option based on your specific needs. Here are some other natural ways to try to control your snoring:

Change your sleep position from on your back to on your side will help prevent snoring.

Lose weight. Yes, thin people also snore, but if you find that your snoring started around the same time as a sudden weight gain, losing that weight may alleviate the issue.

Avoid alcohol and sedatives before bed because these reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it easier to snore.

Practice good sleep habits. Sleep deprivation has a similar effect that alcohol does.

Open nasal passages with a hot shower or a neti pot treatment before bed or nasal strips to keep your nasal passages open.

Change your pillows. Dust mites and pet dander can lead to issues with snoring.

Drink plenty of fluids. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

If you would like more information on snoring, 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.

Get an Opulent Smile with the Opalescence Whitening System | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

37 million Americans used over-the-counter whitening systems, and that doesn’t count the professional procedures. Because let’s face it – we all want to have the prettiest smile we can possibly have and will try loads of options to improve their smile. Now, there are many methods available on the market, but whitening systems have promised results that didn’t happen. The best way to help your stained discolored teeth is with one of the easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures – professional tooth whitening.

Many factors can have an effect on your pearly whites. Our diets, bad habits like smoking and other factors can tinge our smiles over time. A professional tooth whitening is an affordable and effective way to combat common causes of tooth discoloration while boosting your self-confidence and improving your appearance.

Opalescence is a tooth whitening system designed to brighten your smile with a customizable system designed to fit all of your particular needs. This makes it stronger and more effective than over-the-counter counterparts. Your dentist will supervise your treatment from initial consultation through completion, so you don’t have to worry. The special whitening gel will also help improve your oral health by strengthening tooth enamel, decreasing sensitivity, and preventing cavities.

Because it is custom-fit to you, Opalescence Take Home Whitening Gels are available in varying strengths, depending on your dental needs. The greatest part about it? You can see actual results after just one night*. Your dentist will create your personal trays from a basic impression of your mouth. It’s just that easy.

*Results may vary and can take up to a week before you experience noticeable changes.

If you would like more information on Opalescence Whitening, 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 to Eat While You’re Teeth Are Adjusting | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

When you decide to straighten your teeth, your life changes a bit. Nothing permanent, but some of your day-to-day activities will adjust a bit, especially when you have traditional braces. The way you brush your teeth, the way you eat, even your speech can change a bit while you are adjusting your teeth. Before you get too nervous, there is a very good reason for it. Because brackets are attached to your teeth using a basic dental cement, eating foods that are extra hard or sticky can cause the brackets to pop off, which will mean an unexpected dental visit for repair and delaying your treatment. And yes, they are made of metal, but they can be damaged by eating the wrong foods. Not only that, but food that cannot be cleaned off braces with a simple brushing and flossing may lead to discoloration and decay of your teeth. The good thing is, if you stay on task, your experience will go smoothly, and no issues should arise during your orthodontic experience. So, here is a list to keep on the fridge while you are wearing braces:

  • No gum, sugarless or otherwise
  • Chewy foods like bagels, hard rolls and licorice
  • Crunchy foods, such as popcorn, ice and chips
  • Sticky foods, including caramels, taffy and gum
  • Hard foods like nuts are healthy but can break your teeth like hard candy
  • Crispy foods you bite into, like corn on the cob, apples or carrots
  • Also, avoid biting into non-food items, such as nail-biting and pencil-chewing habits

If you would like more information on eating with braces, 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.

Treat Your Smile to a Piece of Candy | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

During these hot summer days, nothing beats a sweet treat. After all, popping in a piece of candy is an easy way to satisfy a craving. We love candy so much we have declared June National Candy Month. The problem is that candy isn’t exactly the best for our teeth because sugar is a cavity’s best friend. The more we eat, the more chances those cavity creeps have to damage our teeth. But there is hope, because not all candy was created equal.

So, in honor of this sweetest of months, let’s take a look at some of the candy that is better for our teeth than others. There’s no reason we can’t celebrate this yummy time of year; just remember to keep up with your daily dental routine:

Dark chocolate. Dear chocoholics, we haven’t forgotten about you. Dark chocolate is surprisingly good for our teeth. Several studies have shown that chocolate has a compound that helps harden enamel and fights plaque, making this sweet option even better at fighting cavities than fluoride.

Candy bars with nuts. This may sound odd, but nuts found in candy bars can help break up all the stickiness in the candy bar that clings to our teeth after we’ve finished, making it easy for cavities to form. It also gives us a quick burst of protein and fiber.

Sugarless gum/candy. This one may sound like the most obvious choice, and that’s because it is true. Cavity-causing bacteria love sugar, so if your candy doesn’t have any, there’s nothing to worry about. So, if your summer sweet is sugar-free, enjoy yourself!

If you would like more information on candy options, 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.

Four Tips to a Brighter Smile | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Everyone loves a professional whitening treatment. All you want to do is show off your smile! But getting treatment is just a start. It’s still important that you continue to look for ways to maintain your smile in between treatments. Here are some tips:

Use whitening toothpaste. With so many over-the-counter products available, you may want to ask your dentist to recommend you a specific type of whitening toothpaste to use at home, as well as further instructions on how to use such whitening products.

Chew gum and crunchy produce. Saliva is your mouth’s naturally means of cleaning bacteria and plaque. Chewing gum is designed to increase saliva production. Just make sure it contains xylitol. For a natural option, crunchy produce such as apples, carrots and celery can also help you keep your teeth bright and clean by helping to remove the substances that can cause stains and discoloration.

Take better care of your tooth enamel. Although considered as the hardest substance in the human body, tooth enamel cannot repair itself. If the tooth enamel has been affected by gum disease in the past, there’s no way to restore it. And if it’s weak, it’s also much more susceptible to stains. That’s why it’s important that you take good care of your tooth enamel by providing it with necessary protection with fluoride.

Drink plenty of milk. Or pretty much any other dairy product you can think of. Dairy products are high in calcium, which helps keep your teeth white and bright. Cheese can also help rid your teeth of food particles that can cause stains and discoloration.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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.