Patients wearing complete dentures are typically advised to soak them in clean water at room temperature overnight to keep them clean, properly stored, and prevent them from drying out.
This practice helps maintain the smoothness of the denture surface because increased roughness can promote Candida albicans colonization.
However, recent studies have revealed that soaking dentures overnight in distilled, as the sole denture cleaning practice, can actually be detrimental by promoting the growth of Candida albicans, especially if you’re not using a denture soaking solution.
Candida albicans is a type of yeast fungus that can cause fungal infections under certain conditions, and denture wearers are particularly susceptible to such infections.
This study found that soaking dentures in distilled water for eight hours on four consecutive nights led to a significant increase in fungal colonization. Similar findings have been reported in previous studies.
Therefore, it is important for denture wearers to clean their dentures regularly using appropriate cleaning techniques and denture soaking solutions recommended by dental professionals to prevent the formation of biofilm and reduce the risk of fungal infections.
You can then put your cleaned dentures in a container of fresh water overnight.
Risk of fungal infections from soaking dentures in water overnight
The Candida genus includes a fungus called Candida albicans, which is a major fungal pathogen in humans that can lead to Candidiasis, a fungal infection. This infection is common in the mouth and affects around 40 to 60% of healthy individuals.
Certain factors such as wearing dentures, reduced saliva production, and poor oral hygiene can create an environment favorable for Candida albicans to grow and form biofilms.
In a recent study investigating the effect of soaking dentures in distilled water on Candida albicans colonization, 20 patients with complete upper dentures, and had Candida albicans infection, were asked to soak their dentures in distilled water for 8 hours at night for 4 days.
Swab samples were collected from the dentures before and after the use of distilled water, and they were examined to determine the presence of Candida albicans.
The results showed that the colony counts of Candida albicans increased after soaking the dentures in distilled water for 8 hours a day over 4 days. This means that soaking dentures in distilled water led to a significant increase in fungal colonization.
How to soak dentures in water safely
Studies have shown that routine cleaning of dentures is important to prevent Candida albicans infection. Research has demonstrated a significant relationship between the presence of yeast and the cleanliness of dentures.
As a preventative measure, denture immersion, especially using chemical solutions (best denture cleaning solutions), or even homemade denture cleaning solutions, is often recommended because it effectively disinfects the dentures and is easy to use (what should I soak my dentures in at night).
Different denture cleaning techniques
There are various techniques used to clean dentures, which can be divided into mechanical and chemical methods.
- Mechanical methods involve using tools like toothbrushes, nailbrushes, or ultrasonic cleansers to physically remove plaque and biofilms from denture surfaces.
- Chemical methods involve soaking dentures in solutions like diluted sodium hypochlorite or commercial cleaners, or using ozonated water or microwave radiation to kill microorganisms.
In a study comparing the effectiveness of these different methods for keeping dentures clean and removing Candida albicans, the researchers found that combining brushing with chemical immersion was more effective than using mechanical or chemical methods alone.
The researchers also found that soaking dentures in a low concentration of chlorhexidine (0.2%) was less effective in reducing the growth of Candida albicans compared to the combined method of brushing and chemical immersion.
Other studies have shown that higher concentrations of chlorhexidine or different forms of antiseptics may have better antimicrobial properties.
Studies suggest that combining brushing with chemical immersion in a good denture soaking solution is an effective method for removing Candida albicans from dentures and keeping them clean in general.
Soaking dentures in plain water overnight should come after soaking in a denture cleaning solution.