We know that dental implants can’t develop cavities, but that’s no reason to stop brushing them. After all, brushing removes dental plaque, which can not only injure your teeth, but your gums as well.
Flossing is important for the same reason, and even more so. Flossing lets you get food and plaque that’s caught between your teeth, but it also allows you to remove it from around the gum line, including parts of the dental implant that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Since gum disease is the leading cause of dental implant failure, it’s vitally important to protect your gums from injury or infection.
Another key to avoiding gum disease is getting regular professional cleanings. Even if you’re a good brusher and flosser, you’ll likely begin to develop hard deposits on your teeth, known as tartar, which can shelter oral bacteria and contribute to gum disease.
Getting professional cleanings every six months removes these deposits so you can keep the gums around the implant healthy. It also allows us to spot potential problems when there’s time to prevent the loss of the implant.
Smoking is bad for teeth, but it’s even worse for dental implants. It puts you at increased risk for gum disease, makes it harder for your bone to regrow and bind with the dental implant. Smokers are two or three times more likely to lose their dental implants. If you’re currently a smoker, quitting can help preserve your dental implants.
Chewing on Non-Foods
If you have a nervous habit of biting your fingernails or chewing on pens, it’s time to try to quit. Your dental implants are made of some of the most advanced materials available, but they’re designed for chewing foods, not plastic, metal, or hard tissues like fingernails. And while we’re at it, ice is not considered a food, either.
Chewing on these hard objects may not only crack or chip your dental crown, it can cause damage to the bones around the dental implant, causing it to loosen and even fail.
Using Your Teeth as Tools
Other people don’t chew on non-food so much as bite down hard when using their teeth as tools of various types, such as bottle openers, scissors, pliers, or even nutcrackers. This may not subject your teeth to the same regular abuse as biting on non-foods, but it may subject them to even greater forces, causing damage to the crowns or loosening your implants, which are weak against pulling or twisting forces.
Protect Your Investment
As with any other thing you buy, if you want to get the best out of your dental implants, you have to take proper care of them. But if you do, you will find that dental implants reward you with many years of service, possibly thirty or forty years or more. To learn more about dental implants in Columbus, OH, please call (614) 848-5001 for an appointment with an implant dentist at the Center for Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.