For many people, flossing is an important part of maintaining their oral health. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends flossing daily to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. However, if you have recently had dental implants placed, flossing may not be the best way to take care of them. Although dental implants share a similar structure, appearance, and function as natural teeth, it is important to remember that they may require care that is different from how you would care for your natural teeth.
With that being said, you will still need to brush your dental implants in order to remove excess plaque, bacteria, and food debris. When it comes to flossing, however, some dental professionals note that traditional flossing is not ideal for individuals with dental implants. This does not mean that you should never floss, but it can mean that you may need to use an alternative method. Here are some reasons why dental floss may not be a good idea for your dental implants, as well as some alternatives to using traditional dental floss:
For starters, floss is not indestructible. Although certain types of floss are stronger than others, all types of flus are likely to break when flossing around dental implants. When floss breaks, it can cause shredding and particles to be left behind. When these particles get wedged between the implant and the gum tissue, this can cause the gums to become infected. If caught early, this may be reversible, however it can also develop into peri implantitis. Unfortunately peri implantitis usually results in implant failure.
Flossing Can Be Damaging
Even in cases where the floss does not break it can still be potentially damaging to dental implants. This is because flossing is highly dependent on an individual’s technique. When not using the proper flossing technique, the best thing that can happen is that you simply miss places while flossing. Unfortunately, however, not using the right flossing technique can also lead to Serious implant complications. This is due to the fact that the dental implant has a protective barrier between the implant itself and the gum tissue. Using an aggressive flossing technique causes this very barrier to rupture, which can allow bacteria to infect the underlying bone. When this happens, the bone becomes damaged and dental implants may fail.
Floss is Not Effective
The final reason why your dentist may recommend against using dental floss is simply because sometimes floss is not effective enough. Dental floss was designed for use between natural teeth, where the spaces are tight and more or less similar. With dental implants, however, the spaces between the implant and the surrounding teeth or implants can vary based on the number of factors. For example, dental implants are available in different sizes, shapes, and depths, all of which affect their spacing. Because of this, a more customizable approach to oral hygiene is generally recommended.
Instead of the traditional flossing method, your dentist may recommend one of the following methods to clean around your dental implants:
Interdental brushes are small round or cone shaped brushes that are supported by a tiny wire attached to a handle. These brushes are used between the teeth in order to loosen and remove plaque and food debris. In fact, some dental experts believe that interdental brushes are more effective at removing plaque than traditional dental floss. Since interdental brushes come in a range of shapes and sizes, they are ideal for cleaning around dental implants and in between teeth.
Water flossers, also known as oral irrigation systems, or another recommendation for cleaning around the dental implants. Water flossers work similarly to floss in that they are used to remove plaque and debris from in between the teeth. However instead of using a traditional dental floss, water flossers use a steady stream of pulsating water. This allows you to effectively clean around the implant while minimizing damage to the surrounding tissue.