5 Bad Habits to Kick (Especially if You Have Dental Implants)
One of the greatest benefits of dental implants is their incredible longevity. There is no other tooth replacement option out there that can promise the lifespan that dental implants maintain. However, it’s important to note that if you have a history of certain bad habits, you could be putting your smile and oral health at risk. Whether you already have dental implants or are just thinking about getting them, avoiding these bad habits can make all the difference for the longevity of your new teeth.
Failing to Brush and Floss Daily
Just because your dental implants cannot develop decay doesn’t mean they can’t still fail as a result of poor oral hygiene. The gum tissue surrounding an implant can just as easily become infected as your natural teeth, increasing the chances of failure, which is why you’ll need to brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once a day.
Smoking or Using Tobacco
The use of tobacco, whether it’s through cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or even vaping, can dramatically increase the risk of gum disease and even oral cancer. It also puts your implants at greater risk of failure, especially immediately after you’ve had them placed. If you want to ensure your implants last as long as possible, discontinue the use of tobacco going forward.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Dental implants are not indestructible, which means they can still break down if they are used improperly. For example, using dental implants (or your natural teeth for that matter) to perform tasks such as trimming your fingernails, opening packages or bottled beverages, or chewing on very hard foods (i.e. ice cubes, popcorn kernels) can put significant stress on the implant restoration or the implant itself. Instead, keep the right tool for the job nearby and avoid chewing on anything inedible. This includes pens and pencils if you have a tendency to do so unconsciously.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
You may have certain bad habits without realizing it, including clenching and grinding your teeth. While this habit can occur at any time throughout the day, it happens most often while sleeping. If you believe you have a teeth grinding habit (or a dental professional notices enamel erosion indicative of grinding and clenching) a nightguard is a great way to protect your smile day-to-day.
Skipping Routine Dental Checkups
Regular checkups give your dentist the chance to confirm no problems are present with your tooth replacement. If there is an issue, you can get it handled sooner rather than later. Preventing problems with your dental implants is much easier (and more affordable) compared to treating a problem after it’s already developed (such as an infection). Checkups every six months are the best way to protect and maintain your dental implants in addition to your daily oral hygiene.
Breaking a bad habit is never easy or fun, but the effort will be more than worth it when you’re able to enjoy a complete smile!