Good Oral Hygiene for Long-Term Dental Implant Success

People are living longer, but a longer life doesn’t always mean a healthier life. People who live longer will have more complicated healthcare needs and the demand for formal care is likely to spiral too.

You can lose a tooth through an accident at any age, of course, but there is still much to be done to improve the standard of the UK’s oral care.

Good oral hygiene for dental implant care

NHS Survey Says Only 10% Have Excellent Oral Health

The latest Adult Dental Health Survey1 found that:

  • Dentate adults had an average of just 17.9 sound and untreated teeth
  • Only 10% of dentate adults had ‘excellent’ oral health (21 or more natural teeth, 18 or more sound and untreated teeth and roots, no decay, no periodontal pocketing of 4mm or more, no loss of attachment of 4mm or more and no calculus or bleeding)

Making Dental Implant Treatment a Long-Term Success

As an effective modern alternative, dental implant technology has been refined and treatment is quicker, more efficient and pleasant for the patient. To make implant treatment a long-term success, though, patients have to practice good pre- and post-treatment care.

A study2 published last year demonstrated the clinical results of an implant case evaluated 12 years post-treatment. The patient originally presented with periodontal disease, decay and a history of trauma and diabetes. Multiple extractions were required before the patient was fitted with implant-retained bar overdentures. The study found that good oral hygiene was needed in order to ensure a successful result.

Finding an Effective Oral Hygiene Routine

Dental professional discussing dental implant care

The oral hygiene routine needs to be effective, as well as simple and comfortable enough to perform twice a day, for maximum compliance. Limiting sugary foods, drinks and alcohol and not smoking will contribute to all-round good health as well as helping patients to avoid caries and stained teeth.

Many dentists recommend an interdental brush to clean the small spaces between the teeth. However, it is important not to use ones with a metal wire that can scratch restorations and cause a fissure in which bacteria can grow, increasing the risk of plaque build up and gingivitis.

People of all ages have a tendency to avoid tasks they find difficult or tiresome, and this may have lead to the most recent Adult Dental Health survey finding that only a quarter of 25-64 year olds use dental floss in the UK.3 There is also little evidence to show that flossing has any significant effect on reducing plaque and gingival inflammation.4

A Water Flosser is Easy to Use

However, patients of all ages will find the Waterpik® Water Flosser easy to use. It is gentle enough for those with dental implants or orthodontic appliances. Studies on the Waterpik® Water Flosser, show its preponderance over floss for reducing bleeding,5 gingivitis6 and plaque.9 The Waterpik® Water Flosser also eliminates up to 99.9% of plaque biofilm from treated areas in three seconds.7

Efficient oral hygiene is critical for dental implant treatment to succeed. Although age will affect people’s ability to look after themselves, with all the adjuncts to brushing available today, there is no reason why any patient should suffer the pain, inconvenience and expense of failing implants.

1 Executive Summary: Adult Dental Health Survey 2009. NHS. P6. Available through: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/searchcatalogue?productid=328&q=adult+dental+health+survey+2009&topics=1%2fPrimary+care+services%2fDental+services&sort=Most+recent&size=10&page=1#top (accessed 7 May 2013)

2 Babbush CA, Tallarico M (2013) Twelve-year clinical and radiological results of implant-retained bar overdentures carried out on Oxidized (TiUnite™) Replace Select Implants: a clinical case. J Oral Implantol. Available through: http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/23398040 (Accessed 7 May 2014)

3 Preventive behaviour and risks to oral health – a report from the Adult dental Health Survey 2009’, The Health and Social Care information Centre, published 24 March 2011

4 Berchier CE, Slot DE, Haps S, van der Weijden GA. The effect of dental floss in addition to a toothbrush on plaque and parameters of gingival inflammation: a systematic review. Int J Dental Hygiene 2008;6(4):265-279.

5 Barnes CM et al (2005) Comparison of irrigation to floss as an adjunct to tooth brushing: effect on bleeding, gingivitis, and supragingival plaque. J Clin Dent 16(3):71-77.

6 Barnes CM et al (2005) Comparison of irrigation to floss as an adjunct to tooth brushing: effect on bleeding, gingivitis, and supragingival plaque. J Clin Dent 16(3):71-77.

7 Gorur A et al (2009) Biofilm removal with a dental water jet. Compend Contin Ed Dent 30 (Special Iss 1):1–6.