- Cleaning and maintaining denture hygiene is critical to oral health. It also prolongs the life of your dentures.
- Common problems caused by poor denture hygiene include fungal infections, stomatitis, mouth sores and bad breath.
- Treatment of mouth sores and fungal infections may require a visit to the dentist.
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Why is it so important to keep your dentures clean? Here's everything you need to know.
Best way to clean dentures
We said cleaning your dentures is easy, but there is still a right and a wrong way to do it. It might not seem like it matters, but not following instructions will cause your denture to deteriorate faster and maybe even break.
Dentures require a financial investment from patients, so to protect your investment, not to mention your oral health, you must spend some time taking care of them. There are a few steps you can follow to make sure you take great care of your dentures.
Prepare cleaning area
Preparing a cleaning area is the first step. Make sure you have everything you need to clean your dentures before you start. This might include a denture brush, cleaning products, a cup of water, and a towel.
You should always clean your dentures over a soft surface (like a towel) or a sink with water. The reason for this is to prevent your dentures from breaking if you drop them during the cleaning.
Take out dentures
The first few times you remove your dentures might seem difficult, especially if you have an upper denture with excellent suction in the palate area. If you use denture adhesive, that will also make them harder to remove.
Use a finger to hook around the ridge portion and gently pull up or down. Place your finger as far back as possible when trying to remove the denture. You may need to alternate from side to side until they come loose. Over time, you'll find the best way to remove your dentures and be able to get them in and out very quickly.
Remove plaque and food debris
If you use denture adhesives, you should remove any remaining adhesive from the dentures and your gum tissue. You can usually peel the adhesive from the denture instead of having to brush it off. Using a brush is effective, but the adhesive will get stuck in the bristles and you'll have a second mess to clean.
Do the same for any adhesive that is left on your gum tissue. Remove the adhesive with your fingers and then use a mouth rinse if desired.
After you take out your dentures, you'll need to remove all the loose food particles and dental plaque. Use a soft denture brush and warm water and gently scrub your dentures. You can also use a solution of either baking soda or salt, which will help clean the dentures while brushing. In addition, there are many over-the-counter products that aid in removing plaque and stains from dentures.
If you have implant-retained dentures, you will also need to spend some time cleaning your dental implants. Soft-bristle toothbrush and water are best to gently clean around each implant. Without the proper care, implants can become infected, which could lead to losing the entire implant.
Soak overnight in denture solution
Anytime you aren't wearing your dentures, they should be placed in a glass of water. Plain water is acceptable, but you can also use a denture cleanser overnight. Dentures cleaning tablets dissolve in water and help remove stains, plaque, and bad bacteria.
Leaving your denture out of your mouth and out of water for long periods of time will cause the denture to dry out. It can start to shrink and warp, and will no longer fit. There is no way to fix a denture after this happens - you must have a new one made.
Visit a dentist for professional cleaning
You may think you don't need to see a dental professional if you have complete dentures, but that's not the case. You should visit your dentist at least once per year so they can check the fit of your dentures and the health of your gums. Dentists also do oral cancer exams, so even though you might not have any natural teeth, dental visits are still important.
In addition, your dentist will perform a professional denture cleaning. They use powerful ultrasonic machines that vibrate to remove the plaque buildup from your appliances. They can use this on both full dentures and partial dentures.
Consequences of not cleaning your dentures
If you don't clean your dentures properly, it won't take long to notice the negative consequences. Plus, you will likely have to see your dentist to resolve the issue.
Improper home care can cause a fungal infection in your mouth. It's also referred to as candida or thrush. When it appears in the mouth, we call it denture stomatitis. We all have a form of candida present in our mouths. Poor homecare causes the candida to amass to higher levels, eventually causing thrush.
If you have denture stomatitis, you will notice a red area under the denture. You may also see redness in the corners of your lips. Fungal infections will cause you to have bad breath or halitosis. With better care, the fungal infection usually resolves on its own. However, your dentist may prescribe a medication to quicken the healing process.
If left untreated, fungal infections can turn into mouth ulcers or sores. These are painful and you'll need to see your dentist to determine if a denture adjustment is needed while the areas heal. Most often though, a mouth sore will go away as soon as the denture is cleaned and the areas have had time to heal.
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