Dentures usually feel strange when you start wearing them, but you soon get used to talking, chewing, and laughing with them, and even adopt an oral hygiene routine that’s convenient for you.
But since dentures are false teeth that are not meant to be worn round the clock, it is important to remove them and provide proper care when they are not in use.
Let’s explore how to care for dentures when they are not being worn:
Denture specialists’ advice denture wearers to give their gums a 5-8 hour break within a 24 hour period, preferably at night, to improve their oral health.
Removing dentures allows saliva to circulate around the gums uninhibited for natural cleaning, which decreases the risk of mouth irritations and prevents infections.
During that time, dentures should be soaked to prevent plaque buildup and promote durability.
Denture cleaning procedure
Proper care of your dentures will ensure that they are kept clean and stain-free, and your mouth remains healthy. To ensure good denture care, you should:
- Remove and rinse dentures after meals – after eating, you should remove your dentures and run water over them to remove any loose food debris
- Take care not to drop your dentures when cleaning as they break easily. You may want to brush them over a sink filled with water, or over a cloth placed on the counter.
- Brush your dentures daily – you should handle your dentures the same way you would your teeth by cleaning them in the morning and before sleeping to prevent build-up of plaque, stains, and calculus or tartar. If you stabilize them with denture adhesive, you should clean the grooves that get in contact with your gums thoroughly to remove any remaining adhesive.
- When brushing your dentures, use a denture brush and denture paste, soap, or water. It is recommended that you don’t use conventional toothpaste as it is too abrasive and not intended for cleaning dentures.
- To maintain dental hygiene, clean your mouth after removing your dentures using a soft-bristled toothbrush on natural teeth and a soft toothbrush or gauze to clean your gums, tongue, roof of your mouth, and cheeks. Never use denture cleansers to clean your mouth.
- Soak your dentures overnight in a suitable denture solution or detergent cleaner with the necessary chemical action to loosen or remove light stains and deposits. If you can’t soak them daily, do this several times a week as most types need to remain moist to retain their shape.
- You should always remove your dentures for 6-8 hours every day since wearing them continuously without allowing your gums “to breathe” can lead to mouth infections.
- When dentures are not in use, store them in a clean denture container or a glass of water. Avoid using hot water, as it can cause dentures to lose their shape. Additionally, keep them out of reach of children or pets to prevent accidental damage.
Always rinse your dentures afterwards before putting them back in your mouth to avoid injuries caused by harmful chemicals in the denture-soaking solution. Also clean your mouth before re-inserting them to help maintain good oral health.
A useful tip for maintaining your dentures is to never rinse or soak them in hot water as doing this can distort their shape and fit. Also visit a dentist at least once a year or when you have a loose fit to avoid sores, infection, or irritation.
Schedule routine dental checkups
Schedule regular dental check-ups with your dentist, even if you wear dentures. They can assess the fit and condition of your dentures, make any necessary adjustments or relines, and ensure optimal oral health.
Moreover, dentures also require professional cleanings on a regular basis. While you can clean your dentures at home, professional cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist are essential for thorough and effective maintenance.
Here’s why professional cleanings are necessary for dentures:
- Plaque and Tartar Removal: Over time, plaque and tartar can accumulate on dentures, just like they do on natural teeth. These deposits can harbor bacteria and contribute to oral health issues such as gum inflammation or infections. Professional cleanings help remove stubborn plaque and tartar buildup, ensuring a clean and healthy oral environment.
- Deep Cleaning: While regular home care can remove surface debris, professional cleanings offer a more comprehensive cleaning. Dentists and dental hygienists have specialized tools and techniques to access hard-to-reach areas, including the tight spaces between denture teeth, gumline, and other crevices. This thorough cleaning helps eliminate bacteria, stains, and any residual debris that may have accumulated.
- Examination for Damage or Wear: During a professional cleaning, your dentist or dental hygienist will also examine your dentures for any signs of damage, wear, or ill-fitting areas. They can identify issues such as cracks, chips, or changes in the denture’s shape, which can affect their function and comfort. Detecting problems early allows for timely repairs or adjustments, ensuring optimal denture performance.
- Oral Health Assessment: Professional cleanings provide an opportunity for your dental professional to assess your overall oral health. They can check the condition of your gums, mouth tissues, and remaining natural teeth (if any) to identify any potential concerns or signs of oral diseases. This holistic assessment helps in early detection and intervention, promoting better oral health outcomes.
- Guidance and Instructions: Denture wearers can benefit from professional advice and instructions on proper denture care techniques, hygiene practices, and adjustments to improve comfort and fit. Your dentist or dental hygienist can address any concerns or questions you may have and provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs.
It is generally recommended to have professional cleanings for dentures at least once or twice a year, or as advised by your dentist. However, the frequency may vary depending on individual factors such as oral health, the condition of the dentures, and the presence of any underlying oral conditions.
Regular professional cleanings, combined with diligent home care, will help ensure the longevity, comfort, and hygiene of your dentures, as well as contribute to your overall oral health.
By following these care practices when your dentures are not in use, you can maintain their cleanliness, prevent damage, and promote oral hygiene.
Remember to consult your dentist or prosthodontist for specific care instructions tailored to your dentures, as different types of dentures may require slightly different care approaches.