If you have missing teeth, a well-made and natural-looking set of removable dentures can help restore your bright smile. But just like natural teeth, these dental appliances need a little bit of special attention to stay fresh and clean. Proper care of your dentures will allow you to get the longest life out of them, and will also help keep your gums (and any remaining teeth) as healthy as they can be. Here are five tips for cleaning removable dentures.
1) Get the Right Tools
You can find many brands of special denture pastes and cleansers at the drug store—or, you can just use an ordinary, mild household soap (particularly one with an antibiotic agent). Both types of cleaning products are about equally effective on your dentures, but the specialty items may cost a good deal more. You’ll also need to pick up a soft brush, such as a toothbrush, a (soft) nail brush, or a brush made just for dentures—an inexpensive item with a head that’s a little larger than a toothbrush. Also have on hand a small clean towel.
2) Set Up Your Workspace
Most people use a bathroom sink because it’s clean and well lighted, with ready access to warm water. However, it’s easy to break dentures if you happen to drop them on a porcelain sink—that’s where the towel comes in. Place it on the bottom of the sink, for a little extra cushioning. Gather your tools and you’re ready to go.
3) Brush—But Not Too Much
Start by rinsing food particles and other debris off the denture with warm (not hot) water from the tap. Next, put a little non-abrasive cleaner or soap on the brush, and brush gently over all the denture’s surfaces. Handle them carefully, being sure not to bend or damage metal clasps or plastic parts as you clean them. Finally, rinse again with warm water. And while you’re at it—give your mouth a good cleaning as well: use dental floss and a soft-bristled toothbrush on the natural teeth; a tongue scraper or your toothbrush to clean your tongue; and a soft cloth or gentle brushing to clean those areas without teeth, on gums and other soft tissues inside the mouth.
4) Let Them Soak
Dentures weren’t meant to be worn 24/7. Removing them in the evening gives your gums a break, and lets your saliva have a chance to clean and sanitize your entire mouth. But don’t just leave dentures sitting out—be sure to let them soak in water or a mild denture solution overnight. The moisture will help them retain their shape and stay fresh and clean. Rinse them again in the morning before you put them in.
5) Avoid Common Problems
Never use toothpaste or any other abrasive cleaner on your dentures. If you do, you can easily wear grooves into the soft plastic, or cause other types of damage. Don’t use a hard brush either, or the same thing can happen. Avoid any products that contain bleach, as these can weaken the denture’s plastic base and cause it to change color. Never use hot or boiling water; excessive heat can warp dentures and cause them to fit improperly. And if you do find that your dentures are broken, or don’t fit the way they are supposed to, see your dentist as soon as possible. Avoid at-home repairs, as these can cause damage to the soft tissues beneath the denture.
Even if you take excellent care of them, dentures will naturally become looser over time due to the gradual bone loss that occurs when you wear dentures. It’s important to make sure that your dentures fit properly—not only so they will look good and function correctly, but also to help you maintain excellent oral health. That’s another reason why it is so important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and preventive care. With good at-home care and regular professional attention, you’ll get the most out of your dentures for years to come.
To learn more about dental plans, call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.