Taking good care of your dental implants is the best way to ensure they stand the test of time. Proper oral hygiene can help your implants last as long as possible, prevent infections, and allow your implants to continue to blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth. Here are four things you should do to take care of your implants:
1. Brush your implant.
You should brush your implant the same way you brush all your other teeth. Although the prosthetic tooth on top of your dental implant isn't made of natural tooth enamel, it's just as prone to plaque buildup as your other teeth. You can use an electric toothbrush if you like, but any toothbrush will do the job. Brush all the surfaces of your dental implant, taking special care to brush around your gum line. Brushing around your gums can loosen bacteria and minimize your chances of experiencing gum erosion.
2. Floss around your implant.
Flossing is an important part of everyone's daily oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately, it's also the part that people most frequently skip. Flossing around your implant gives you the chance to dislodge food particles, plaque, and bacteria that can be lurking beneath your gums. Use a gentle sawing motion to loosen these substances, rocking the floss under your teeth. You shouldn't feel pain during this process, but you may experience some minor bleeding if you have the beginning stages of gum disease.
Flossing can also prevent gum erosion, which is particularly important for people with dental implants. Gum loss can expose the implant itself or the metal abutment, which makes your dental implant less stable and also less aesthetically attractive.
3. Keep your dental appointments.
When you have a dental implant, it's more important than ever that you visit your dentist for routine dental cleanings. During your biannual checkups, your dentist will examine your implant to check for any changes. Annual x-rays will allow your dentist to check the position of the implant in your mouth. They will also visually and manually inspect your implant to make sure it isn't becoming dislodged.
4. Avoid abrasive toothpaste.
Many people use whitening toothpastes to keep their teeth as shiny and white as possible. Unfortunately, these toothpastes sometimes contain abrasive ingredients that are bad for the longevity of your implants. Choose nonabrasive toothpaste whenever possible. Those formulated for sensitive teeth are ideal. Avoid toothpaste that contains baking soda and other additives meant to scour your teeth, since these can scratch your implants.