What are the best denture care instructions? Practical tips on denture cleaning and storage

Richard Hattaway

Written by Richard Hattaway DDS, Peter Dégallier RDH, Nichole McKenna DDS

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 denture in

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Clean your denture on a regular basis

Denture cleaning

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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.

Richard Hattaway

Richard Hattaway, DDS

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

Storing dentures in water

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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

Denture adjustment

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Replace your dentures every 5-10 years

Full upper dentures

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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

Gums brushing

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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

Dental exam for patients with no teeth

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FAQ

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

References

  1. Denture Care and Maintenance - ADA
  2. Prosthodontists: Denture Care Is as Easy as A, B, C - ACP
  3. The importance of daily removal of the denture biofilm for oral and systemic diseases prevention - NCBI
  4. Guideline for Denture Relining - JStage
  5. The Role of Chronic Mucosal Trauma in Oral Cancer: A Review of Literature - NCBI