Best Practices For Keeping Your Dental Implants Stain-Free
Dental implants are a highly popular way of restoring a perfect smile after losing one or more teeth. However, one concern that many patients have involves safeguarding dental implants against unsightly stains. Although the materials used in dental implants are resistant against stains, they aren't completely impervious. The following outlines a few best practices you can use to prevent stains from appearing on your dental implants.
Abstain from Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
If you were a smoker or tobacco chewer prior to getting dental implants, then chances are your dentist may have advised you to kick the habit. Tobacco products contain nicotine and tar, two substances that can cause your teeth and dental implants to take on a yellow or brownish color when consumed on a regular basis.
Smoking and chewing tobacco not only contributes to dental implant staining, but it could also cause the implants to fail over time. During a recent study, researchers found that among 66 patients who received dental implants over a 5-year period, the failure rate among smokers was 15.8 percent versus 1.4 percent for non-smokers.
Beware of Foods and Drinks Containing Tannins
Certain foods and drinks, including teas, red wine, coffee and fruits like blackberries and blueberries, contain naturally occurring polyphenols known commonly as tannins. These polyphenols work together with chromogens and acids to erode the enamel on your natural teeth, leaving behind dark stains that can only be removed through professional teeth whitening.
The ceramic and porcelain surfaces of dental implants are highly resistant to stains caused by these chemicals. However, tannins and chromogens can leave behind stains if the surfaces of the dental implant are compromised by poor hygiene and constant consumption of highly acidic foods.
When it comes to foods and drinks containing tannins, the best solution is to simply moderate your consumption. Drinking tannin-heavy drinks through a straw can also help minimize contact with your teeth and dental implants.
Steer Clear of Highly Abrasive Toothpastes
One commonly unexpected issue with having dental implants is how it can affect your toothpaste choices. Normal toothpastes can be highly abrasive to porcelain, resin or ceramic veneers on dental implants. This means that using your regular toothpaste to keep your dental implants clean can also expose them to stains and other damage over time. Baking soda, toothpastes containing stain removers and toothpastes formulated for smokers can have highly abrasive effects on dental implants.
For this reason, your dentist may suggest you use a non-abrasive toothpaste or gel that gently cleans the tooth surface. You may not be able to use your favorite toothpaste, but following your dentist's suggestions can help you keep your dental implants in good health for years to come.
Always Brush and Rinse after Meals
Certain foods can leave behind acids and other chemicals that erode both natural tooth and dental implant surfaces, allowing unsightly stains to take hold if left to their own devices. Experts recommend brushing your teeth before eating a meal, especially one that includes acidic foods and drinks. When you're finished, you can drink a glass of water to wash away any lingering acid.
If you decide to brush your teeth after a meal that includes acidic foods, you should wait at least 30 minutes before you start brushing. Brushing immediately after eating highly acidic foods such as oranges and grapefruits can actually cause more damage to tooth enamel and dental implant surfaces.
Dental implants not only restore function and help you enjoy the foods you normally eat, but they can also be an extraordinary confidence booster. By taking care of your dental implants, you can enjoy their functional and aesthetic benefits for many years to come.