We’re all aware of the care we must have when it comes to keeping our teeth healthy and beautiful, but there’s plenty that goes into keeping our dental implants strong and sturdy as well. Even though properly caring for our implants doesn’t differ much from how you would normally care for your natural teeth, there are some slight changes you should consider making to your dental health routine.
The Routine for Cleaning Teeth and Dental Implants
How much time do you really spend cleaning your teeth and mouth every day? If you’re the sort that stumbles through the motions, you may want to consider the effect your light-speed brushing has on not only your teeth, but your implants as well. Today’s dental standards, dictated by the American Dental Association (ADA), state two-minute-long brushing sessions twice a day are the most effective way to maintain a healthy mouth, and resultantly your dental implants as well.
Brushing technique also plays a role in how well you clean your teeth. Many Americans grew up being taught the “circular movement” technique; however, the ADA has determined you receive the most coverage by using short forward-backward and up-down movements.1 In addition, be sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles so you avoid scratching and otherwise damaging your implants. Other equipment adjustments you might consider:
- Antimicrobial mouth rinses
- Inter-dental or electric toothbrushes
- Low-abrasive toothpaste
Don’t Forget to Floss
Flossing is a vital part of reducing plaque buildup, especially between teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach, like around your dental implants’ abutments. When the teeth surrounding the implants decay and develop cavities it can seriously damage the implants as well.
You should floss at least once daily with a very long string of floss. Flossing with such a long string allows you to use a different section for each tooth, which prevents the spread of bacteria from one tooth to another. Floss each tooth gently on all sides by wrapping the floss all the way around the tooth and pulling forward and backward.
For dental implants, it’s recommended you use specialized dental implant floss or dental tape. Wrap the floss or dental tape around the tooth and crisscross it in the front, then move your hands in a shoe shine motion. Ideally, you’ll want the tape or floss to get into the peri-implant crevice, the space between the gums and the crown, to clean around the abutment and gums. Using the shoe shine motion instead of the more standard up and down cleaning method is important as it helps the dental tape get below the implant.
For those who have had the All-on-4 full mouth reconstruction (teeth in a day), there are 4-6 dental implants that need to be maintained. This is best done through using a water flossing device, such as a WaterPik which will get in the areas of the All-on-4 where normal brushing might have a tough time. This practice is highlighted in Radiance Dentistry’s lifetime warranty instructions for care.
Bacteria hides out anywhere it can, even on your tongue. If you aren’t brushing or scraping your tongue while brushing your teeth, you’re allowing all that bacteria to multiply and spread, reversing all your brushing progress. Scraping your tongue can also improve bad breath.
Sometimes, your body just doesn’t sync up with your teeth-brushing schedule, like when your stomach starts roaring as soon as you lay down in bed for the night. Indulging in a small midnight snack isn’t a problem, but you’ll need to brush your teeth again before hitting the sack. If you leave food particles and sugars in your mouth overnight, bacteria will flourish, leading to a higher risk of developing peri-implantitis, which is an infection occurring around the implant.
In addition to being conscientious of when you’re eating, it’s smart to consider what you’re eating as well. Foods like hard candy, crunchy snacks and chewing on ice can cause your dental implants to crack. Plus, using your month to open items like bottles or bags puts additional stress on your implants.
Many people don’t feel the need to see a dentist unless something’s wrong, but preventative checkups could save you a lot of time and trouble, especially for those who have dental implants. These appointments allow you to touch base with your dentist, discuss your habits and possible changes to your routine helping you ensure your implants last as long as possible. Regularly updated x-rays also ensure your family’s general dentist can keep an eye on dental implant health and can let you know if something looks wrong.
Protect Your Investment in Dental Implants
Don’t let poor hygiene or bad habits sour your signature smile! Consider your current routine and think about where you may be able to improve. DFW residents considering dental implant services and wondering about how they may affect their dental hygiene routine should contact the specialists at Radiance Dentistry.
Our friendly, welcoming staff are highly-trained in all aspects of implant dentistry, including proper cleaning habits. To schedule your appointment or learn more about our services, call us at (972) 895-7776 today!
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