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    We all understand that we must schedule routine dental checkups in order to maintain excellent oral health. Professional cleanings twice yearly at Spokane, Cheney Family Dentist will help to remove a most disease-causing bacteria and plaque, but you must be proactive and combine professional dental care with proper daily oral hygiene. Let’s review some of the more common oral hygiene aids on the market and their uses:


    Dental Flosses
    Dental floss is the most common interdental cleaner and comes in a variety of types and flavors. Dental floss is effective at removing food particles and plaque from between teeth. Floss should normally be used twice daily after brushing.

    Interdental Cleaners
    In addition to dental floss, many hygienists and periodontists recommend interdental brushes in addition to dental floss. Interdental brushes come in various shapes and sizes, and they are very effective in cleaning between the gums.

    Mouth Rinses

    Cosmetic rinses sold over the counter only temporarily mask bad breath. Therapeutic rinses, however, are regulated by the FDA and contain active ingredients that can help reduce bad breath, plaque, and cavities. Mouth rinses should generally be used after brushing.

    Oral Irrigators
    Oral irrigators (like Water Jets and Waterpiks) clean debris from below the gum line. Oral irrigators are effective in lowering the risk of gum disease but should not be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing.

    Rubber Tip Stimulators
    Excellent for removing plaque around the gum line, rubber tip stimulators also increase blood flow to the gums. Trace gently around the inner and outer gumline at least once daily. To ensure its effectiveness, replace the tip as soon as it starts to appear worn.

    Tongue Cleaners

    Tongue cleaners (or scrapers) are designed to remove bacterial buildup from the tongue. Bacteria colonize on the tongue, causing bad breath and other systemic diseases. Use the tongue cleaner prior to brushing.

    Dentists usually recommend electric toothbrushes as the vibrating or rotary motion helps remove plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. They also require far less effort than a manual toothbrush.

    Replace manual toothbrushes every three months since worn bristles become ineffective over time. Soft bristle toothbrushes are easier on sensitive gum tissue than medium and hard bristle varieties. Teeth should be brushed after each meal, or at least twice each day.


    If you are uncertain as to which of these aids are the best for you, check with our Spokane Family Dental Office during your next visit, and we’ll be happy to guide through selecting the best products for your situation.

    Left untreated, dental infections and periodontal disease will not only affect the appearance of your smile but, can destroy your oral health. Neglecting routine at-home oral and professional care places you at greater risk of losing teeth and bone density. At some point when you finally do try to “catch up” you may face painful complications that require extensive cosmetic procedures in order to restore the appearance of your smile.
    Prevention is the key to maintaining a beautiful healthy smile. By making your dental care a priority you can save you the future cost and embarrassment of dental disease. At Spokane, Cheney Family Dentist one of our goals is to educate our patients on effective ways to prevent cavities and gum disease. Even the most consistent routine of brushing and flossing is not enough to maintain a healthy smile. Practicing good at-home oral hygiene is vital, but it must be paired with professional dental cleanings to be really effective.
    Many of our patients understand the importance of following good oral health by following proper oral hygiene routines and avoiding damaging food and drinks. As we eat, drink, and speak a sticky bacterial film called plaque coats tooth enamel and oral tissue. Flossing and brushing help to remove some plaque build-up but cannot eliminate it completely. The plaque that is not removed hardens into a substance called tartar. Tartar continues to build up on teeth, causing dental decay, gum disease, and eventually tooth loss unless it is removed through regular professional cleanings.
    You can take control of your dental health in two easy steps:

    Maintain a proactive at-home cleaning schedule (to reduce daily plaque build-up)
    See your dentist for semi-annual professional cleanings (to remove tartar and give you a “clean slate” for brushing and flossing).

    It is never too late to get back on track with your dental health routine. Start by scheduling a visit to Spokane Family Dental Office to give yourself and your family the best possible chance for optimal oral health.


    If you have an infant or small child, you may be wondering when you should schedule their first visit to your family dentist. You may think that it’s sufficient for you to care for their oral hygiene yourself until permanent teeth start coming in, but your child’s visits to the family dentist should begin long before that event!


    When should my child first see a dentist?
    Your child should have their first visit as soon as his or her first tooth erupts, usually between 6 and 12 months of age, but no later than their first birthday. This establishes a pattern of proper dental care for your child, helping to avoid “dental phobia” that can lead to problems later in life.

    Why so early? What dental problems could my baby have?
    Try to think of your child’s baby teeth as building blocks for the future of their good oral health. Baby teeth act as a placeholder in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a baby tooth too soon, the surrounding teeth may shift into the empty space.  This shift can cause permanent teeth to be crooked or crowded. Routine office visits enable us to monitor these teeth as they emerge.

    Isn’t it enough for me to brush and clean their teeth at home?
    The primary reason for early childhood visits to your Spokane Family Dentist is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can develop early, and besides checking for tooth decay and other potential problems, we’ll show you the proper way to clean your child’s teeth. Once their diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the dental visit, the better chance we have of preventing potential dental problems.

    What steps can I take to ensure the good dental health of my child?

    The best thing you can do is to provide them with a well-balanced diet and ensure that they brush and floss daily. Scheduling regular dental checkups for them at Spokane or Cheney Family Dentist is the best way to ensure a beautiful, healthy lifetime smile for your child.