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Richard asked...

I have to floss after every meal.

Tags: dental , teeth

I have a full dentition apart from the 8's; the LL6,7 are Ti implants. I regularly use dental floss and find that I need to floss often between the implants as being parallel they create a food trap. However I have noticed that nowadays I seem to have to use floss after almost every meal, with fibres etc. tending to lodge between other teeth also, especially molars. Does the head shrink with age, causing teeth to be tighter together in the mouth? I am 76.

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The answer

As we get older everyone will lose some bone in general. This is also the case in the mouth with the upper and lower jaws. The spaces between the teeth will get bigger as bone is lost and therefore are more likely to get food trapped. Some areas will have greater bone loss, some areas less. Some people are more prone to bone loss than others. If you get some bone loss around your teeth you are more likely to get drifting or change in position of the teeth. This could cause food trapping to get worse.

The main cause of bone loss, however, is bacteria that get caught in between and around the teeth and gums. Effective brushing, flossing, interdental brushing and regular checks with your dentist and hygienist are important factors that can keep bacteria away. Bone loss around implants is dependent on many factors but the main reason is bacteria causing inflammation of the tissues around the implant. It is very important to clean regularly around and between implants. It is also important to see a hygienist regularly to help clean and, in this case, if you are worried you should see the person who placed your implants to check. They may take an X-ray to help assess the bone levels and can advise you further.

Answered by Dr Sej Patel.

 

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