Millions of Americans are missing at least one tooth, and for many, dental bridges are a convenient, durable solution for maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile. Shaped and tinted to blend in with your natural teeth, a bridge restores your smile aesthetics, bite function, and confidence.
While bridges are designed to last for a long time, proper care is essential. At The Glen Dental, our team helps patients in San Jose, California, get the most from their dental bridges by helping them adjust their oral care routine to prevent bridge problems. If you have a bridge, these seven tips can help you adjust your own routine.
1. Brush your bridge
Because bridges include prosthetic teeth, many people mistakenly believe they don’t need to be cleaned as often or rigorously as natural teeth. But that’s not true: Bridges still need regular cleaning with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Just like your natural teeth, your bridge should be brushed for two minutes to get rid of sticky plaque that can cause bad breath (and sometimes staining). Use a non-abrasive, non-bleaching paste to avoid damaging the bridge surface, and rinse thoroughly when you’re done.
2. Floss, too
Likewise, your bridge benefits from good flossing. Remember, even though your bridge is made of prosthetic materials, it’s still connected to the teeth on either side.
These areas need to be cleaned with floss to eliminate plaque and prevent the formation of hardened tartar. That’s essential for preventing gum disease, which could threaten the natural teeth supporting your bridge. Flossing around a bridge takes a little practice, but our team can give you some tips. Water flossers and flossing picks can help, too.
3. Use an interdental cleaner
Sometimes called an interproximal brush, an interdental cleaner is a narrow brush that’s designed to get in between and around your bridge. These slim, flexible tools can be very useful in cleaning the bridge itself and the gums around your bridge, too. Like flossing, practice makes perfect — and again, our team can give you plenty of helpful pointers.
4. Don’t skip the mouthwash
Swishing vigorously with an antiseptic mouthwash bathes the bridge and the gums beneath it with germ-killing power to destroy the germs that cause bad breath and gum disease. Plus, it helps freshen your bridge — especially bridges permanently affixed to the teeth on either side.
5. Skip sticky, chewy, hard foods
Foods that are especially sticky or gooey can easily leave particles stuck to your bridgework, leaving behind food and germs that cause decay and gum disease. These foods can be difficult to remove, even with vigilant brushing and flossing.
Hard foods can damage your bridge or crack your crowns (the artificial teeth). In addition to foods like hard pretzels, you should avoid chewing on ice and hard candy, too.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking can discolor your bridge and your teeth, but the problems associated with smoking go far beyond cosmetic concerns. Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease, which means the teeth that support your bridge could weaken and fall out. Plus, smoking is a major cause of bad breath. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for your oral health — and your overall health, too.
7. Keep those checkups
Routine dental checkups ensure your bridge stays in good shape, and it also gives us a chance to make adjustments if needed. During your checkup, we clean around your bridge and look for signs of gum disease that need early intervention. Twice-a-year dental visits play a critical role in maintaining oral health, especially as you get older.
Don’t take your bridge for granted
A dental bridge can help improve your smile looks and the way your teeth function, too. But even though today’s bridges are extremely durable, they still need proper care — and so do the teeth that support them.
To learn more about dental bridges and the role they can play in your oral health, call 408-816-1008 or book an appointment online with the team at The Glen Dental today.