An estimated 3 million people in the US have dental implants — a figure that increases by 500,000 a year. Dental implants are a healthy option for those who have lost one or more teeth, because of the manner in which they attach to natural bone to efficiently establish and protect replacement teeth. In addition, dental implants, especially when provided by experts such as all on 4 via NSOMS, provide the added benefit of allowing replacement teeth to look and act like natural teeth.
Dental implant cleaning and maintenance are crucial to prolonging appearance and functionality. Failure to properly care for your dental implants can increase the risk of peri-implantitis — an inflammatory condition that affects the soft and hard implant tissues.
Peri-implantitis can result in loss of bone and the dental implant if left unaddressed. Nevertheless, daily cleaning of your dental implants will help minimize your risk of peri-implantitis, and maintain a bright, healthy, and attractive smile for years to come. Here are 6 ways to clean your dental implants properly.
Use Bridge and Crown Floss
Crown and bridge floss is specially designed to clean the dental implants under and around. It has two rigid nylon ends and a bubbling middle that gently cleans the surface of the dental implant and the porcelain that covers the gum. The rigid ends allow you to insert the floss at the gumline between the dental implants and pull it through to the other side. You can then place it up against the surface of the implant, and rub it side to side. Using this floss after brushing is a good idea, while the effects of the toothpaste are still in your mouth. It allows you to disperse fluoride around the system, which will help prevent excessive growth of the bacteria.
Use a Toothbrush with Soft Bristles
Medium bristles are less likely to damage your gums or cause bleeding and are just as effective at removing tartar and plaque as medium or hard bristles. Electric toothbrushes are shown to more efficiently kill and extract bacteria from the teeth than manual toothbrushes because of the way they produce a higher number of brush strokes than the human hand. Whether you choose an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, make sure it has medium bristles.
Brush Around and Under the Dental Implant Cap
Bacteria and plaque may build up under and around the crown of the implant and, in so doing, increase the risk of peri-implantitis. Consider using an angled-neck toothbrush or an interdental brush with a slim head to reach those areas — especially if your implant is at the back of your mouth.
Use Low-abrasive Toothpaste
Use toothpaste that lacks abrasive ingredients such as baking soda or stain-remover agents, as these can wear on acrylics and remove the glaze from porcelain implants. Check for specially made toothpaste for use on dental implants, or ask your dentist for advice on toothpaste.
Brush Twice a Day
Brushing in the morning after you wake up kills bacteria that have built up overnight in your mouth. Brushing in the evening before bedtime helps remove bacteria that have built up all day long and reduces the risk of plaque buildup and overnight decay. Many dentists recommend brushing to remove food debris and bacteria after every meal, or anytime during the day as required.
Use a Water Flosser
A water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator or dental water pump, disrupts and extracts bacteria in pocket depths of up to 6 mm deep. Most water flossers come with rubber boosters and other attachments designed to suit sensitive gums and effectively clean hard-to-reach areas between the teeth. Some dentists recommend water flossers over dental floss, as some floss brands shed particles which contribute to peri-implantitis. Make sure to use the water flosser first, because the fluoride toothpaste that is used during brushing and flossing should not be flushed away.