Should I floss my dental implants?

Flossing, in addition to brushing twice daily, is now known to significantly improve oral hygiene and reduce the risk of tooth decay. An encouraging number of people have added the habit their daily dental hygiene regime. However, not everybody is aware that flossing is just as important for looking after dental implants as it is natural teeth. Flossing helps them to stay strong and healthy for as long as possible. But which should you do first – brush or floss? In research recently published by the Oral Health Foundation, this long-standing question has finally been answered.

Why floss?

Using floss or interdental brushes plays a major role in improving oral hygiene. They decrease the amount of food debris that is stuck between the teeth. In particular, it allows you to tackle hard to reach areas that a standard toothbrush just isn’t able to clean effectively. An interdental brush or traditional floss can also help to remove bacteria build ups that aren’t even visible to the eye.

Flossing combined with good brushing is therefore highly effective in preventing plaque build-ups. These build-ups are the single biggest cause of tooth decay. This is as important for people who have dental implants as it is for anybody with a complete set of natural teeth –  and as part of a wider oral hygiene regime may help to ensure that your dental implants last an entire lifetime.

Which should I do first?

The Oral Health Foundation concluded that people who used interdental brushes to clean their teeth before brushing were left with a much cleaner mouth than those who did it afterwards. The use of interdental brushes helped to remove or loosen harder to access build-ups prior to brushing. This allowed them to be removed more effectively by the regular toothbrush, leaving the teeth as clean as possible.

One of the reasons flossing or using interdental brushes is so important is because normal brushing on its own only effectively cleans three of the five surfaces of our teeth. Performing an initial clean using an interdental brush leads to significantly improved brushing results.

How do I use an interdental brush properly?

The Oral Health Foundation recommends the following approach for best results:

Choose a size of brush (typically 0.4mm to 1.5mm) that fits between your teeth comfortably without using much force. You may find you need a couple of different sizes but the best way to find out is to ask your dentist or hygienist the next time you have an appointment.

  1. Hold the interdental brush between your thumb and forefinger.
  2. Gently place the brush through the gap between your teeth – don’t force the brush through the gap.
  3. Brush in and out of each space between your teeth.

Why use fluoride toothpaste?

Using a fluoride toothpaste from a reputable manufacturer is also recommended as part of a good oral hygiene regime. Over time, plaque on the surface of your teeth causes acids to seep into the pores of the enamel and break down the internal structure. This process is known as demineralization. It can create a weak spot in the tooth, which may develop into a cavity if left untreated. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which can help to slow down this process by making it harder for acid to penetrate the enamel, giving your teeth an extra line of defence.

Do regular check ups matter?

Even if you maintain a good oral hygiene regime that includes daily brushing and flossing, you should still ensure you have a regular dental check up, whether or not you have dental implants.

A dentist is able to identify and treat problems with your teeth before they are able to develop into anything more serious, including signs of gum disease and other problems which are invisible to the untrained eye. Your dentist can also refer you to the hygienist who will be able to offer a range of prophylactic options as well as advise you on the best way to look after your teeth and gums so you can keep on smiling with confidence for years to come.

“At Perfect Pearls, we care as much about your smile as you do. That’s why we have a range of quality flossing/interdental brushes available to support your implant treatment, and offer all of our patients a session with our hygienist on how to care for their new implants from the very beginning.”

To book an appointment now with Perfect Pearls Dental Implant Centre, call today on 01902 500 823. Alternatively, click here to book a free, no obligation consultation.