Dental Implants Need Proper Oral Hygiene to Ensure Your Ongoing Health
Dental implants are a permanent solution that replaces missing teeth. And with the right care, dental implants can last a lifetime… but first, your mouth needs to heal properly without infection. If you thought dental implants and replacement teeth means you could get away with relaxing on your oral hygiene, think again! Treat dental implants like natural teeth, because just like natural teeth, dental implants need to be maintained and cleaned regularly. Your nutrition and lifestyle also impact the health and longevity of dental implants.
Here’s what you need to know about caring for your dental implants:
Keep Brushing, Keep Flossing
For those with dental implants (and those without), it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent bacteria growth and infections with regular flossing and brushing. It’s also important that you follow any directions from your dentist. After-care instructions may include mouthwash and rinses to ensure the implant doesn’t get infected.
It might sound strange to maintain your artificial teeth the same way you’d maintain your natural teeth, but bacteria and plaque can still build up and cause problems for your gumline.
Lifestyle and Nutrition
Smoking and diet also affect the viability of dental implants. Diabetic blood sugar levels are often associated with implant infections and failure. If a poor diet and unhealthy blood sugar levels weaken your immune system, then you risk a dental implant failure since your jawbone won’t heal properly, making infection more likely. Smoking is also a common risk factor.
As with natural teeth, implants can develop bacteria growth and infections if not properly cared for. In fact, an infection can likely cause even greater problems for an implant. A failed implant poses greater health concerns than an infection in a natural tooth.
If you notice any of these signs of infection, visit your dentist immediately so you can start treating the infection and prevent an implant failure:
- Bad breath;
- Inflammation of the gums around the implant;
- The implant becomes loose;
- Severe, throbbing pain or discomfort in implant area; and,
- Pus around the implant area.
Infections aren’t just painful, they pose serious health risks if left untreated. Infections can spread and lead to further serious health complications, along with a reduced quality of life and loss of sleep from the constant pain. The treatment options for infected implants depend on the severity of the infection. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, mouth rinses, surgery, or laser therapy for surface decontamination.
But the best way to avoid infections in the first place is to take care of your teeth and live a healthy lifestyle! With regular cleaning and visits to the dentist, along with a healthy diet and smoke-free lifestyle, you can maintain healthy teeth and a healthy immune system that will contribute to an infection-free, successful dental implant.