If you have dentures, or are helping care for a loved one with dentures, it is important to have the right information when it comes to correct cleaning techniques.
False teeth require cleaning and leading to odour, staining and increase the risk of chronic inflammation of the gums.
When it comes to partial dentures, the risk of problems is even greater because if you leave build up between the denture and your natural teeth there is a higher chance of those remaining teeth decaying. Also, the idea of placing a denture still covered in old food back into your mouth is not very appealing!
It is common for food to get under dentures while eating, so in addition to twice daily brushing, you may also need to remove your dentures for a quick rinse as required.
When it comes to cleaning dentures there are a few simple rules. The first is that you need to remove the dentures from the mouth in order to clean them properly. This allows you to get access to the internal surface that fits against the gum and also the ability to clean any remaining teeth and soft tissue areas such as the gums and the roof of your mouth. Wearing dentures all day is much like wearing a pair of shoes. It is essential to remove them to give the gums a chance to breathe. This also means leaving your dentures out at night forms an important part of your oral health routine.
Once your denture is removed it is important to be able to handle it carefully as they can be slippery and prone to being dropped or damaged. Cleaning them over a basin partially filled with water can help provide a buffer should your denture slip out. Using a cloth to assist with gripping it is another good idea if you have reduced dexterity.
– What products do I use?
Normal tooth brushes can be better for getting to tighter internal spaces and around the clasps of partial dentures. The smaller heads are more maneuverable but can be less efficient and harder to grip.
Dedicated denture brushes have larger handles and larger bristles, making them much easier to hold. The bigger bristle area means they are better suited to full dentures. If you suffer from arthritis, these make brushing much easier.
Another novel approach is to use denture cleaning devices such as Dr Mark’s Hygienie. This provides a very efficient mechanism to clean dentures where you may not wish to handle them directly while brushing.
– Do I just use toothpaste for cleaning false teeth?
No. Traditional toothpaste can be slightly abrasive to the plastic of a denture. Over time this can cause small scratches, reducing the shine and stain resistance of the denture surface.
For cleaning false teeth, using simple liquid hand soap is the most appropriate and easily available product. Liquid soap, combined with a brush will remove most build up and will result in minimal damage. It can be easily rinsed off to avoid the unpleasant soapy taste.
– What about denture adhesive?
Adhesive pastes can be a big help when it comes to keeping your denture in place and making it more comfortable. They can also provide a barrier to stop food particles getting under them, however they are sticky and can make a mess of their own. They require more vigorous brushing to remove from the denture and the roof of your mouth.
– What about stains or scale that won’t come off with the brush?
There are situations where stain or scale can build up on a denture that is harder to shift. For dentures with no metal in them, you can use readily available denture tablets once or twice a week. This soaking can dissolve the scale without harming the denture. You can also use equal parts water and white vinegar as an alternative method. Using denture tablets or vinegar is not recommended for dentures with metal components as it will risk causing surface corrosion.
Your dentist or oral health therapist is also equipped to thoroughly clean dentures using ultrasonic devices to shift the build-up. Periodically having the denture professionally shined and polished will make it look and feel amazing, and will also reduce the ability for build up to form on it.
In any case, things that stain teeth can also stain dentures, such as coffee, tea, red wine and cigarettes are more likely to cause these issues.
Having a denture that is clean and shiny and one that looks and smells fresh is critical to maintain good oral health, reduce bad breath and minimise further dental problems.