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How to Floss Dental Implants

There are many types of floss on the market, so how do you know what is the best floss for dental implants?

Generally it is highly recommended to use unwaxed tape or implant-specific floss in order to protect the tissue surrounding the implant. Alternatively for a bar-retained prostheses, full fixed retained prostheses, or wider interproximal spaces, a floss threader or a specialized floss that has a built-in threader is necessary.

How to Floss a Dental Implant?

To floss the implant, use dental tape, which is a wide thread similar to dental floss composed of fine, short, silk or synthetic fibers. It's used just like floss to clean interproximal spaces and between contact areas of the teeth.

Insert the floss in contacts on both sides of the implant. Wrap in a circle and crisscross in front, switch hands, and move in a back-and-forth motion in-between the dental implant and gumline, which is highly susceptible to disease due to plaque.

Is Mouth Rinse Recommended?

Antimicrobial mouth rinses may be recommended, especially if inflammation is present or if you have dexterity problems and hard-to-reach areas. If you are prone to inflammation, the use of an antimicrobial rinse, in conjunction with a rubber tip stimulator, may be recommended to prevent bacteria build-up.

What Other Recommendations do you have for Dental Implant Oral Health?

It is highly recommended for patients to use oral irrigators and Waterpik flossers for the reduction of plaque/biofilm, inflammation, and hard-to-reach emergence profiles around implants. Let's cover oral irrigation first:

Using oral irrigators with implants for oral hygiene reveal that Waterpik Water Flosser is the only oral irrigator to date to be proven safe and effective with dental implants. A study was conducted to compare rinsing with 0.12% CHX to using a Waterpik oral irrigator with 0.06% CHX. The irrigation group using the soft rubber tip at lower pressure was 87% more effective in reducing bleeding and three times more effective in reducing gingivitis than the rinsing group.

Another study of oral irrigation and floss revealed that the Waterpik Water Flosser with the standard tip with three bristle filaments used at medium pressure around implants was 81% more effective in bleeding reduction compared to 33% using floss.16 These specialized tips are very effective for implants and to deliver anti-microbial rinse around difficult-to-reach prostheses (All-on-4, full-fixed prosthesis, for example) in a prevention of peri-implant disease.

Waterpik flossers like the Ultra Water Flosser, Waterpik PikPocket Tip, and Waterpik Traveler Water Flosser use water irrigation in conjunction with diluted non-antimicrobial rinse has proven to be extremely helpful for full-fixed and removable prostheses to remove daily biofilm and prevent inflammation if used on a daily basis. Waterpik makes a compact Traveler Water Flosser unit, which is my personal favorite to recommend ensuring patients continue their home-care routine at home and while on vacation.

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