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5 Tips for Keeping Your Dentures Clean

Millions of people around the world enjoy the benefits of dentures, which restore beautiful smiles and improve chewing ability. But just like natural teeth, dentures require proper care to stay fresh, functional, and comfortable.

Neglecting denture hygiene can lead to a buildup of plaque, bacteria, and food particles. This not only affects your fresh breath and confidence, but it can also irritate your gums and contribute to oral health problems.

The good news is that maintaining sparkling clean dentures is simple! By following a consistent cleaning routine that incorporates all the essential steps, you can ensure optimal oral health and a radiant smile.

Tips for Sparkling Dentures

Here are the 5 crucial steps to ensure your dentures stay sparkling clean and support optimal oral health:

Brushing Basics

Just like natural teeth, dentures require regular brushing to remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria buildup. Brushing twice a day, ideally after meals and before bed, is recommended. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Brush Choice: Opt for a soft-bristled denture brush specifically designed for dentures. These brushes are gentle on delicate plastic and won’t cause scratches that can harbour bacteria. Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes or brushes meant for natural teeth, as they can damage the denture surface.
  • Cleanser Selection: Regular toothpaste is a no-go for dentures. Its abrasive nature can dull the denture surface and create microscopic scratches. Instead, use a non-abrasive denture cleanser recommended by your dentist. These cleansers are formulated to remove plaque and stains effectively without harming the dentures.
  • Brushing Technique: Hold your dentures securely over a sink filled with water or a basin lined with a towel to prevent breakage if you accidentally drop them. Gently brush all surfaces of the dentures, including the chewing surfaces, the inner surfaces that fit against your gums, and any clasps (if your dentures are partial). Pay special attention to crevices and tight spots where food particles can get lodged. Use a circular motion and gentle pressure to ensure thorough cleaning without bending or warping the dentures. Rinse the dentures thoroughly under running water to remove any residual cleanser or food debris.

Soaking Solutions

Brushing alone might not be enough to remove stubborn stains or deeply embedded bacteria. Here’s where soaking solutions come in:

  • Benefits of Soaking: Soaking your dentures overnight in a denture cleanser solution helps loosen and remove plaque, food particles, and stains that brushing might miss. This also helps disinfect the dentures and keep them fresh throughout the day.
  • Types of Cleansers: There are two main types of denture cleansers available: effervescent tablets and soaking solutions. Effervescent tablets fizz when dropped in water, creating a cleaning solution. Soaking solutions are pre-made liquids designed for denture immersion. Both are effective, but consult your dentist for the best option based on your specific needs.
  • Following Instructions: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the denture cleanser package. The soaking duration and solution strength can vary depending on the product. Over-soaking can damage some dentures, while under-soaking might not be effective. Rinse your dentures thoroughly with clean water after soaking to remove any residual cleanser before placing them back in your mouth.

Brushing Beyond the Dentures

Even with dentures, maintaining good oral hygiene requires cleaning your mouth as well. Here’s why:

  • Bacteria Buildup: While dentures cover your gums, bacteria can still thrive underneath them and on the remaining teeth, if any. This can lead to gum irritation, inflammation, and even denture instability.
  • Oral Health Promotion: Brushing your tongue and gums helps remove bacteria and stimulate blood circulation, promoting overall oral health.
  • Rinsing for Freshness: After brushing your dentures and cleaning your mouth, rinse thoroughly with water or a mild mouthwash (consult your dentist for a suitable mouthwash) to remove any remaining debris and freshen your breath.

Handling with Care

Dentures are delicate and can break easily if mishandled. Here are some tips to ensure their longevity:

  • Prevent Drops: Always hold your dentures securely over a sink filled with water or a basin lined with a towel when brushing, soaking, or handling them. This way, if you accidentally drop them, the water or towel will cushion the fall and prevent breakage.
  • Denture Cup Advantage: Invest in a denture cup specifically designed for dentures. These cups are often made of soft material and have a vented lid, allowing for proper storage and air circulation to prevent warping.
  • Beware of Hot Water: Never place your dentures in hot water. Hot water can warp and deform the plastic, rendering them unusable. Use warm or lukewarm water for cleaning and soaking.

Regular Dental Checkups

Scheduling regular dental checkups, even with dentures, is crucial for maintaining good oral health. During these visits, your dentist can:

  • Examine Your Mouth: Your dentist will examine your gums and remaining teeth (if any) for signs of irritation, inflammation, or oral health issues like thrush.
  • Denture Check: They will assess the fit and condition of your dentures, checking for any cracks, chips, or loose clasps. A proper fit is essential for comfort, speech, and chewing ability.
  • Professional Cleaning: Your dentist can perform a professional cleaning of your dentures using specialised equipment to remove stubborn buildup and stains that regular cleaning might miss.
  • Adjustments and Repairs: If your dentures need adjustments to improve fit or require minor repairs, your dentist can address those concerns during your visit.

Regular dental checkups not only ensure the longevity of your dentures but also allow for early detection and treatment of any potential oral health problems.

Conclusion

Brushing with a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive cleanser, soaking in a denture solution, cleaning your mouth beyond the dentures, handling with care, and scheduling regular dental checkups – will ensure your dentures stay sparkling clean and function optimally.

By incorporating these steps into a consistent cleaning routine, you’ll not only enjoy fresh breath and a confident smile, but you’ll also promote good oral health and overall well-being. Remember, neglecting denture hygiene can lead to a variety of problems, so prioritising proper care is key.

Start implementing these tips today, and experience the difference a clean and healthy denture routine can make!

FAQs

Can I use denture wipes instead of brushing?

Denture wipes can be a convenient option for occasional cleaning on the go, but they shouldn’t replace regular brushing. Brushing with a soft-bristled brush and cleanser is more effective at removing plaque and food particles from all surfaces of the denture.

My dentures feel loose – is this normal?

Over time, your mouth and jawbone naturally change shape, which can cause your dentures to become loose. A slightly loose fit might be tolerable initially, but consult your dentist if the looseness affects your speech, chewing, or comfort. They can reline or refit your dentures to ensure a proper fit.

What are some signs that I might need new dentures?

Signs you might need new dentures include:

  • Increased looseness that affects function or comfort
  • Frequent breakage or cracks
  • Visible wear and tear
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Pain or discomfort in your gums

Can I sleep with my dentures?

While some people sleep comfortably with their dentures in, it’s generally recommended to remove them at night. This allows your gums to rest and reduces the risk of fungal infections like thrush. Consult your dentist for personalised advice on overnight wear.

What foods should I avoid with dentures?

Certain foods can be challenging to eat with dentures, especially in the beginning. Here are some to avoid or consume with caution:

  • Sticky foods (caramel, candy)
  • Hard foods (nuts, raw vegetables)
  • Tough meats
  • Foods with small, hard pieces (seeds)

Remember, these are just general guidelines. Talk to your dentist for a personalised plan based on your specific needs and denture type.

Medically Reviewed by:

Dip CDT RCS (Eng) Clinical Dental Technician
Determined to remain at the cutting edge of modern Dental Technology, David recently completed an intense training course in producing dentures that genuinely recreate the natural facial structures which are lost during the ageing process through tooth loss and gum regression. He, and his many patients, are overjoyed with the natural appearance and facial proportions which this new methodology offers.