Cleaning dentures, as well as proper storage, can extend their longevity. To minimize or even eliminate the risk of potential prosthesis problems, you should adhere to the best care and maintenance practices possible.
There are many denture care products to choose from. However, sometimes less means more. Learn how to keep your new smile in good shape for many years in 7 simple steps.
Learn to handle your denture safely
Putting your denture in and taking it out properly is very important. Pulling or tugging on it can lead to damage. Your dentist will provide detailed instructions on the best way to do this. Below is a quick guide.
- Start with your top arch. Press your thumb lightly against the inner side of the front teeth.
- Push up and out towards the nose, until you feel it coming loose.
- If the suction is significant on the upper denture, gently pop down one of the back corners.
- To remove the lower arch, grab it gently with two or four fingers.
- Rock back and forth until the grip is released.
Clean your denture on a regular basis
The ADA recommends that you wash your denture at least once a day. Ideally, do this after every meal. It not only kills the unpleasant odor and helps avoid stains but also eliminates bacteria.
If you don’t clean your denture properly it will become a habitat for germs. This can lead to serious infections in the mouth that can be hard to fight off. It may also prevent you from being able to wear your denture for a while.
Here are some general tips on proper denture cleaning:
- Place a towel over the sink in case you drop your denture.
- Rinse it under warm water.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any food debris.
- Run it under cold water.
- If you are getting ready to go to bed, prepare a container with water or denture solution to store overnight. Place your denture inside the container.
- In the morning, dispose of the solution or water you kept your denture in. It should never be reused.
Be careful not to drop your denture into the sink. Hitting such a hard surface may cause it to break or chip. If that happens, do not continue wearing it and contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Brushes with stiff bristles, exfoliating toothpaste, and mouthwash are all prohibited. The same goes for electric toothbrushes. They are too harsh for delicate dentures. The best way to clean dentures is to use a denture brush or a soft-bristled one along with a denture cleaner, hand soap, or dish soap.
Do not use toothpaste on dentures. It is designed for teeth and often too abrasive on the plastic the dentures are made of. The toothpaste will cause micro-abrasions that will make them more prone to bacteria growth.
Never use products that are not intended for dentures. Any products containing bleach are also a definite no-no. Stay away from sharp objects. Toothpicks and dental scrapers are unsuitable and could cause damage to your prosthesis.
Store your denture correctly
Keep your denture in water when it is not in your mouth. In the case your denture does not have metal clasps, you can prepare a half-water half-vinegar mixture. You can also get an overnight solution. This often comes in the form of tablets that you dissolve in warm water.
If your denture dries out it can change shape or become very brittle. A break of 6-8 hours every night is recommended. This helps your soft tissues recover from all-day wear and prevent infections.
Many patients store dentures overnight on the sink. If you live alone or with adults only, this is okay. Otherwise, come up with a high shelf or another place where it will be inaccessible to children and pets. It is best to have a glass or container dedicated to just storing your denture.
Leave adjustments and repairs to the professionals
Investing in a denture means running costs. Those include relining, repairs, and adjustments. Professionals spend years perfecting the craft. Doing by yourself at home could do more harm than good.
Relines should be done every year or so. They are necessary, as your mouth changes shape over time. When teeth are missing, bone becomes reabsorbed by the body. The denture has to be lined with material to make up for the loss.
Adjustments are often necessary at the beginning, to make sure the fit is as good as can be. If the situation in your mouth changes, you may need to visit a prosthodontist to add a tooth, make adjustments, or have a new denture fitted.
Replace your dentures every 5-10 years
How long your denture lasts depends on the following:
- the materials it is made from,
- how well you take care of it, and
- the quality of your oral hygiene.
Materials like metal and porcelain tend to last longer than acrylic. Maintaining proper hygiene of both the prosthesis and your mouth can extend its lifetime. Nonetheless, dentures should be replaced every 5-10 years.
Don’t forget to take care of your mouth
Even full dentures are not an excuse not to take care of your mouth and gums. In fact, wearing dentures often comes with pieces of food getting stuck in hard-to-reach areas. It is vital to keep up with brushing and sometimes even flossing.
Whenever you take your denture out, rinse your mouth. Use a very soft brush to massage your gums. If they are tender, use a washcloth or clean fingers. Wipe your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth as well. Brush and floss any remaining teeth and finish off with mouthwash.
If you wear a partial denture, use a separate brush for your mouth and the prosthesis.
Keep up with regular dental visits
Everyone is advised to visit the dentist at least once a year. During a regular checkup, the dentist will inspect your mouth as well as your prosthesis. The condition and fit will be professionally inspected. Your dentist will remove plaque from dentures and suggest best cleaners.
Neglecting check-ups may lead to lesions, lumps, soreness, irritation, or even oral cancer. A regular visit is also a good time to let your dentist know whether you are thinking of any cosmetic changes to your prosthesis.
What’s more, if you have any natural teeth remaining, you should have a professional cleaning at least once a year.
How long can dentures stay out of water?
The gum-colored acrylic in your denture needs moisture to retain its shape and good condition. If you let it dry out it will become less pliable and more prone to cracks and fracture.
Don’t leave them out of reach of any moisture for more than 2 hours. Soaking them when you sleep is key.
What can I soak my dentures in overnight?
The easiest way to keep your dentures moist overnight is to store them in water. You can also buy denture solutions at the drugstore. It comes in the form of tablets that you dissolve in water. If your denture does not have metal parts you can also add vinegar.
Can you sleep with dentures in?
It is not recommended. Dentures are removable, which means patients should take them out at night and for cleaning. Your soft tissues need time to recover. Otherwise, you might suffer from soreness and irritation. It is also not very hygienic.
How to clean partial dentures with metal?
If your prosthesis has metal parts, be very gentle. Those attachments are easy to bend, which could lead to your denture no longer fitting properly. Clean partial dentures with soft-bristled toothbrushes or water flossers. Avoid vinegar as it may cause corrosion.
How to whiten dentures?
Whitening dentures, especially at home is not recommended. The best way to keep your prosthesis white is to take it out when having coffee, wine, or smoking. Of course, it’d be best to ditch those habits altogether.
If your denture is already stained, take it to your dentist. A professional cleaning may do it a lot of good.