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Keeping Your Dentures Fresh: Cleaning & Maintenance 101

Dentures are a great solution for missing teeth. They help restore your smile and improve your ability to chew and speak comfortably. But like any dental device, dentures require proper care and maintenance to perform their best. Taking care of your dentures is also good for oral health, as it helps prevent gum disease, irritation, and further tooth loss. 

Quick Facts about Dentures

Over 36 million Americans lack teeth, and about 90% of them have dentures. Some of these denture prostheses are removable, while others are permanent. As the names suggest, permanent dentures are fitted to the gum, while removable ones can be removed. When deciding between denture options, your dentist will consider the number of teeth being replaced, cost, bone loss, and your needs and preferences.

Why Should You Clean Your Dentures?

Dentures, just like natural teeth, attract plaque and food particles. If you don’t clean your dentures, plaque will build up, leading to oral health issues like bad breath, oral infections, and gum disease. This can compromise the comfort and fit of your dentures, leading to sore spots and a reduced quality of life.

What Materials Do You Need to Clean Dentures?

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Proper care can help prevent dental issues and maintain your overall well-being. Here’s what you’ll need to keep your dentures clean: 

  • Water
  • Denture cleaning solution or mild soap
  • A soft-bristled toothbrush (specifically designed for dentures if possible)
  • A soft towel

How to Clean Removable Dentures

Let’s explore the ways to clean your removable dentures. 

Step 1

Start by placing a soft towel in the sink or counter (or using water in the case of a sink). This is a cautionary step to help you protect your dentures from breaking if they fall.

Step 2

Remove your dentures and rinse them under warm water to wash away any loose food particles or debris. Handle them carefully so you don’t bend or damage the clasps or plastic. Also, don’t use hot water or bleach.

Step 3

Apply a small amount of denture cleaner on a soft-bristled denture brush. Gently brush the denture surfaces, including any grooves or clasps where food particles and bacteria can accumulate. Avoid using regular toothpaste or abrasive cleaners, as these can scratch and damage the surface of your dentures. If you don’t have denture cleaner, use dishwashing liquid or hand soap.

Step 4

Rinse your dentures in warm running water to remove all traces of the cleaner. Ensure the water is not too hot, as extreme temperatures can warp the plastic.

Step 5

If you’re going to bed, soak your dentures in a mild denture-soaking solution overnight. This helps to disinfect them and can also help remove any stubborn stains. It also keeps them moist so they don't lose shape or become more brittle. Ensure that the dentures are completely submerged in the solution.

Step 6

Rinse your dentures thoroughly in the morning before inserting them. Use warm water to remove any residual soaking solution. 

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Looking After Your Mouth

Before placing your dentures back in your mouth:

  1. Ensure your oral hygiene is up to par.
  2. If you have full dentures, use a soft toothbrush to clean your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth to remove plaque and food particles and reduce the risk of oral infections.
  3. If you have partial ones, brush the remaining teeth, tongue, and gum with fluoride toothpaste.

Dental Adhesives

Usually, you don’t need dental adhesives to hold your dentures in place. A thin layer of saliva will do. But if you have xerostomia or dry mouth, then adhesives can help. They can offer additional adhesion for well-fitting dentures temporarily. But if your dentures feel loose or cause discomfort, you must reline or replace them. Ill-fitting dentures can cause mouth sores and bone loss after an extended use.

The FDA recommends the following when using denture adhesive products: 

  • Read and follow instructions first – or consult with your dentist when unsure.
  • Use the exact amount recommended. Excessive use could have harmful effects on your body.
  • If you have tingling or numbing sensations, consult a physician or dentist.
  • Use a small amount of adhesive first – it should not ooze off the denture. A 2.4-ounce tube of product should last 7 to 8 weeks if you’re using it for both upper and lower dentures. 
  • If you are using more, it’s likely your dentures are ill-fitting

The ACP recommends avoiding dentures that contain zinc as a precautionary measure. It also recommends daily removal of adhesive from the oral cavity and the dentures. You can do this by scrubbing the prosthesis gently yet sufficiently thoroughly to avoid damaging it.

How to Clean Your Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are fixed in place, so you’ll need to clean them every morning and night. Use a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive toothpaste to brush your teeth while also focusing on the tongue, gums, and other soft tissues of the mouth.

Use a floss-water device to clear bacteria and food buildup from dental implants and hard-to-reach areas like between the gums and dentures. Most of these devices include a small brush for cleaning implant-supported dentures.

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What About Dental Visits?

Regular dental visits are still crucial, irrespective of whether you have a number of teeth or no teeth. Your dentist will check more than just your dentures; they will also assess your oral health, including signs of gum disease, oral cancers, and other potential issues. Professional dental exams and checkups allow dentists to keenly examine the health of your gums and jawbone. During the exams, they will: 

  • Clean every surface of the denture to remove plaque and tartar to prevent tooth decay in any remaining teeth and maintain the overall health of your mouth.
  • Adjust your denture to fit in perfectly
  • Check for infections at the implant site to rule out serious complications like peri-implants that can lead to bone loss and implant failure.
  • Eliminate the need for dental adhesive products

Dental Finds offers a great selection of quality tools and equipment for dentists looking for top-of-the-line dental products at affordable rates. Our range is curated to meet the diverse needs of dental professionals, ensuring that they can offer the best possible care to their patients.