Both partial and complete (full) dentures need to be cleaned and cared for as dutifully as natural teeth as they are just as susceptible to stains, plaque and bacteria. Proper denture care is important for the health of both your dentures and mouth. Inadequate care can lead to problems with your gum tissue including bacterial or fungal infections, inflammation and irritation. If you only wear a partial denture it can also cause further tooth loss. Here are some important procedures to follow to ensure that your dentures are kept as clean as possible and they are functioning optimally.
Much like natural teeth, dentures attract plaque accumulation which requires daily removal. A denture brush is recommended in order to clean all areas of the denture. They are specifically designed larger for ease in this process. If you prefer to use an ordinary toothbrush, be certain to reach all curved areas of your denture. If you wear a single denture, you will need a separate brush for your denture in order to preserve the condition of the toothbrush for your remaining natural teeth. Always use a soft or extra soft bristled toothbrush.
Start by accident-proofing the surface you will work over. Place a face cloth or similar in the bottom of the sink and partially fill the sink with water to provide a cushion should the denture be dropped, as dentures can very easily be broken if dropped into an empty porcelain sink.
Hold the dentures in your non-dominant hand with a firm, but gentle grasp. Using cold or lukewarm water only (hot water may distort the shape of the denture) and cleaning product. You can use a gel or paste specifically designed for dentures or a little soap. Don’t use any powdered or abrasive cleaners, including most regular toothpastes, because they are too abrasive and produce scratches on the denture surface. Under running water, use the brush to rinse away the remaining cleanser and debris. Inspect your denture for cleanliness. Place them back in your mouth if you are ready to wear them, or soak them overnight.
Having the dentures out of your mouth for a period of time each day gives your gum tissues a rest from the constant contact. While out of your mouth, the denture should be kept moist. Leaving dentures out at night-time is often a popular time to do so in a container of plain water.
Soaking your dentures in chemical solutions such as Polident or Steradent helps to loosen stains and plaque that can then be rinsed or brushed away. Specifically, designed denture soaking products are often also anti-microbial which offer other benefits, such as:
- Helping prevent bad breath (‘halitosis’).
- Reduction in the build-up of calculus on the denture.
- Evidence shows that bacteria live in the acrylic pores of a denture, so by soaking the denture in an anti-microbial solution it will decrease the bacterial load in your mouth and tissues of the soft palate, which can reduce the incidence of dental stomatitis (a fungal infection).
To soak your denture, select a container with a fitted cover that is the appropriate size for your denture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation and length of soaking time; every product has a differing soaking time- some overnight, others only 15 minutes. It is important to read this carefully, as non-compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions may lead to damage of your denture material. Use only warm water in order to promote the action of the cleanser. Once again avoid hot water as it can distort the shape of your denture.
Ensure that the denture is completely submersed in the solution and close the container cover. Once the denture has been soaked in solution for the appropriate time, rinse it thoroughly to remove chemicals and debris, and then brush your denture again before putting it back in your mouth. Pour out the used denture solution in the container and clean it to make it ready for the next use.
Ongoing routine check-ups:
When these cleaning methods are not sufficient to remove deposits, a professional cleaning of your dentures by a dental professional is recommended.
Remember that periodic oral check-ups are recommended even if you no longer have any natural teeth. Consult your dental professional whenever you experience oral discomfort, notice the appearance of a lesion in your mouth, or if you have a problem with the fit of your denture.