Studies show that soaking your dentures overnight with a denture approved soaking solution is effective in killing 99.9 percent of bacteria that collects all day, as well as any fungus growing on dentures, and therefore prevents oral thrush.
That said, there are some denture cleansers that require just a few minutes of soaking, before transferring them to soak in plain water for the rest of the time.
For instance, it’s recommended that you soak plastic (acrylic) dentures in sodium hypochlorite for at least 20 minutes before rinsing them with cold water, and then leaving them in plain water for the rest of the night.
If your dentures have metal parts, you can consider soaking them in chlorhexidine mouthwash for at least 20 minutes. Afterwards, you should rinse them with cold water and then soak in plain cold water for the rest of the night.
It’s important that you follow the manufacturer’s direction for the type of denture cleaning solution you’re using to achieve the best results.
Why soak dentures?
Soaking dentures is an essential part of denture care, and offers several benefits that contribute to the overall care and longevity of the dentures:
- It aids in the removal of plaque and debris that accumulate on the denture surfaces throughout the day. By soaking dentures, you can effectively loosen and dislodge these deposits, ensuring a cleaner and more hygienic oral environment.
- Soaking helps prevent bacterial growth on dentures, reducing the risk of oral infections and bad breath.
- Soaking dentures helps maintain their freshness by eliminating odors and keeping them in optimal condition.
- Soaking aids with prevention of dryness and warping. Dentures can easily dry out when not in use, which can lead to discomfort, improper fit, and potential damage.
- By soaking dentures overnight, they remain moist, maintaining their shape and integrity. This also enhances comfort during wear, as hydrated dentures are less likely to cause irritation or sore spots in the mouth.
- Additionally, regular soaking can help prolong the lifespan of dentures by minimizing the risk of cracks, warping, and deterioration.
Recommended denture soaking solutions
Using soft lining materials in dentures can improve comfort for wearers with sensitive gum ridges. However, these materials require regular cleaning using appropriate denture cleansers to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent infections.
Mechanical cleaning, like brushing, is not recommended for soft denture liners as it can damage the material. Moreover, they can be penetrated by Candida albicans, a fungus that causes infections.
Therefore, chemical treatment using denture cleansers is the preferred method for plaque control.
There are different types of denture cleansers available, and they can be categorized based on their chemical composition, such as alkaline peroxide (sodium perborate), alkaline hypochlorites (sodium hypochlorite), acids, and enzymes.
1. Alkaline Cleaners
Alkaline sodium hypochlorite denture cleansers, such as Milton or Dentural, are popular choices for effectively cleaning and disinfecting dentures. These cleansers contain sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient, which is a powerful antimicrobial agent known for its broad-spectrum activity against various microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
- Alkaline peroxide cleansers are commonly used and come in powder or tablet form, which creates alkaline hydrogen peroxide solutions when mixed with water.
- Sodium hypochlorites are also effective as denture cleansers as they remove stains, dissolve organic substances, and have bactericidal and fungicidal properties.
Reasons to use an alkaline denture cleaner
Alkaline nature and effectiveness:
Alkaline denture cleansers have an alkaline pH, which helps enhance their cleaning and disinfecting properties. The alkaline environment aids in removing stains, plaque, and debris from denture surfaces, leaving them clean and fresh. The hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite content acts as a potent disinfectant, killing harmful microorganisms that may be present on the dentures.
Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action:
Sodium hypochlorite has been widely studied for its antimicrobial effects. It can effectively eliminate bacteria and fungi that may colonize dentures, reducing the risk of oral infections and denture-related oral health issues. This makes alkaline sodium hypochlorite cleansers particularly beneficial for individuals with compromised immune systems or those prone to oral infections.
Easy to use:
These products typically come in the form of effervescent tablets or solutions. They are designed to be dissolved in water, creating a soaking solution for dentures in which you can put your false teeth for a specific duration. The recommended usage instructions provided by the manufacturer should be followed carefully to ensure optimal results and safety.
Caution when using alkaline denture cleansers
However, it is important to note that alkaline cleansers may not be suitable for all denture materials. Some denture materials, such as those with metal components or certain types of acrylic, may be sensitive to the alkaline nature of these cleansers. It is essential to consult with a dental professional or refer to the denture manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure compatibility and prevent any potential damage or discoloration.
2. Acid denture cleansers
Acid denture cleaners, such as Denclen, are formulated with acidic ingredients. Their acidic nature allows them to dissolve and break down mineral deposits and other hard-to-remove substances on denture surfaces. They can effectively remove plaque, food particles, and other debris that may accumulate on dentures throughout the day.
Pros of acid cleaners
One of the advantages of using acid denture cleaners is their ability to provide a deep cleaning action. They can penetrate and remove stains from areas that may be difficult to reach with regular brushing alone. This can help improve the overall cleanliness and appearance of dentures.
Cons of acid cleaners
Excessive or improper use of acid cleaners may lead to damage or discoloration of denture materials, particularly if they contain metal components. It’s recommended to consult with a dentist or follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using acid denture cleaners to ensure their safe and effective use.
3. Disinfectant Denture Cleansers
Disinfectant denture cleansers are formulated to eliminate bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that can accumulate on dentures. Disinfectants like chlorhexidine mouthwash often contain active ingredients like sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or antimicrobial agents, which have strong disinfecting properties.
When dentures are soaked in disinfectant cleansers, the active ingredients work to kill and neutralize harmful microorganisms. This helps prevent oral infections and maintain good oral health. It is especially important for individuals with compromised immune systems or susceptibility to oral infections.
However, it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided with disinfectant cleansers, as overuse or improper use can lead to damage or discoloration of denture materials. Additionally, thorough rinsing is necessary to remove any residue before wearing the dentures again.
4. Enzymes-based Denture Cleansers
Enzymes-based denture cleansers, like Polident are designed to break down and remove organic debris such as food particles, plaque, and stains from denture surfaces. These cleansers contain active ingredients like enzymes (proteases) that target and digest protein-based substances found on dentures, as well as antimicrobial agents to provide additional benefits for oral health.
Enzymes-based cleansers are typically available in tablet or powder form. When dissolved in water, the enzymes activate and begin to break down the organic matter on dentures. Soaking dentures in an enzymes-based cleanser helps to loosen and remove debris, leaving them clean and fresh.
One advantage of enzymes-based cleansers is that they are often gentle on denture materials, reducing the risk of damage or discoloration. However, they may not have the same level of antimicrobial action as disinfectant (alkaline and acidic) cleansers.
Therefore, it’s important to use enzymes-based cleansers in conjunction with regular brushing and rinsing to ensure thorough cleaning and hygiene. Also make sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure optimal results and safety.
5. Homemade denture soaking solution
In addition to commercial denture cleansers, there are homemade soaking solutions that can be used to clean and soak dentures. Popular options include:
- Vinegar and water mixture: Vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant and can help remove stains and odors from dentures
- Baking soda solution: can effectively eliminate plaque and neutralize odors
- Hydrogen peroxide: When hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with organic substances, it undergoes a reaction that produces foam and allows it to penetrate and clean the denture surface. In addition to its cleaning properties, hydrogen peroxide is also capable of killing bacteria and fungus.To use hydrogen peroxide for denture cleaning, it is recommended to soak the dentures in the solution and then brush them.
Choosing the best soaking solution for your dentures
When selecting a soaking solution for your dentures, it is important to consider factors such as the material of your dentures and the recommendations provided by the denture manufacturer.
Certain denture materials may require specific cleaning agents to avoid damage or discoloration.
It is advisable to consult with a dentist or prosthodontist who can provide professional guidance based on your specific denture type and individual needs. They can recommend the most suitable soaking solution that ensures effective cleaning and maintenance of your dentures.
Step-by-step guide to soaking dentures at night
To properly soak your dentures at night, follow these steps:
- Clean your dentures thoroughly using a denture brush and mild denture cleaner.
- Select an appropriate container that is large enough to fully submerge your dentures.
- Prepare the soaking solution as per the instructions provided by the denture cleanser or homemade solution.
- Submerge your dentures in the soaking solution, ensuring they are fully covered.
- Leave your dentures to soak for the recommended duration, usually overnight.
Keep in mind that some manufacturers recommend soaking the denture for a few minutes before rinsing and soaking in plain water overnight. Follow the instructions provided.
Precautions when using denture cleaning agents
Inappropriate denture cleaning solutions may damage your dentures. So it’s important that you follow your dentist’s advice and manufacturer instructions when using your preferred denture soaking solution. This includes:
- Never use hot or boiling water on dentures as this may distort them or bleach the color
- Never place your dentures in a dishwasher to clean them
- Don’t soak dentures with metal components in alkaline hypochlorite for more than 10 minutes as this can damage them
- Don’t use acid cleaners with dentures that contain metal parts
- Avoid using household cleaners, bleach, and scouring pads/powders on your dentures as this can damage them
There are various types of denture cleansers available on the market, each offering unique advantages and disadvantages. These cleansers often come in the form of effervescent tablets, powders, or solutions. They are specifically formulated to effectively remove stains, bacteria, and plaque from denture surfaces.
If you plan on using a homemade cleaning solution, you should keep in mind that some toothpastes and denture cleaning pastes can be too abrasive on your dentures. So if you’re planning on using alternative denture cleaning products, it’s best that you check with your dentist first.