Cleaning and maintaining your new partial or set of dentures requires more than just brushing. Failure to properly clean partials and dentures can lead to bad breath and a buildup of food and bacteria.
Dentures today are made from very advanced materials designed to give you a natural appearance. However, keep in mind that just like your teeth, dentures should be cared for with the same diligence. This means daily brushing and regular visits to your dentist. Regular visits to your dentist are critical. Your dentist also can make minor adjustments that ensure that your dentures continue fitting naturally and comfortably.
Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be cleansed of plaque, food particles and other debris. Keeping your dentures in top shape will also help keep the soft tissues of your mouth healthy; an unclean or malformed denture can cause infections and irritation.
Dentures should always be in one of two places: your mouth or a denture bath.
Cleaning your partials or dentures is key to reducing mouth irritation and inflammation of your gums and minimizing bad breath. Remember to rinse and brush your dentures after every meal, and soak them in denture solution overnight. Here are some simple techniques for keeping your dentures clean:
Dentures need to be cleaned every morning and every evening. It is best to clean them over a sink full of water or a towel as this can prevent the denture from breaking if it slips out of your hands.
Remove debris by brushing with a denture brush, easily found at pharmacies and drugstores. Paste is not required, but if you choose to use it: DO NOT use toothpaste, instead use a denture-paste or baking soda. Avoid using highly abrasive chemicals or pastes, or vigorously brushing with hard bristled toothbrushes. These can scratch or even crack dentures.
Hold your dentures gently to avoid loosening a tooth.
Dentures also need to be rinsed after each meal. No matter how well a denture may fit, some food will get underneath the denture as you eat. If it is left there, it can irritate the tissue. So after each meal, remove the denture, rinse out your mouth, and then rinse the denture under running water.
Remember DO NOT rinse the denture in very hot or boiling water as this may cause distortion of the denture; instead use warm to cool water. The denture bath need only be filled with water or you can use a denture-soaking solution (i.e. Polident or Efferdent). The water or effervescent solution will keep your partials or dentures from drying out, and any caked-on food will be released. You may also consider using an ultrasonic cleaner to remove hard accumulations of tartar and other substances. The vibrations and light combination will effectively remove stains, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This process will help keep your dentures fresh.
DO NOT use chlorine bleach to clean your partials or dentures. Bleach can discolor the gum-colored portions of your partials or dentures.
In addition to cleaning your dentures, it is important to continue to care for you gums and tongue. It is not necessary to use toothpaste, but simply brush the gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush each night. Brushing your gums daily also helps to increase circulation and remove toxins. Remember to brush all surfaces inside the mouth such as the gums, upper jaw, lower jaw, inside the lips, tongue (top, sides and bottom), the cheeks, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth. In lieu of a toothbrush, a soft washcloth may be used to wipe your gums.
It is important to remove the dentures in order to allow the gum tissues time to rest. This can be done overnight or for a 3-4 hour period during the day. This also allows your gums to breathe while you sleep. DO NOT sleep in your dentures.
Over time, even daily care of your dentures may require them to be cleaned by the dentist.
Never try to adjust your dentures by yourself. This might cause harm to your mouth or damage to your dentures. Call your dentist to appoint for a denture adjustment to account for the changes in your gum tissue shapes, as they are always changing.
The use of denture implants can significantly improve the quality of life for patients wearing removable dentures. Contact your dentist for more information on Denture implants, or Implant-Supported Dentures.