Vinegar is a natural and accessible solution that can be used to create a homemade denture soaking solution that is effective in both disinfection and tartar removal.
While research on vinegar’s impact on denture materials is limited, it seems to be a reasonably safe choice for periodic or daily cleaning without causing any damage.
That said, as with any denture cleanser, it’s important that you consult with your dentist to ensure compatibility with your specific denture materials and to establish an optimal cleaning routine for maintaining good oral health.
How effective is vinegar for denture cleaning?
In a recent study where researchers investigated the use of vinegar for daily disinfection of complete dentures over a 45-day period, they wanted to see if denture cleaning and disinfection with vinegar could reduce the number of Candida yeast in the oral cavity. Candida is a common oral fungus and is often found in denture wearers, causing a condition called denture-induced stomatitis, which affects the oral mucosa covering the denture-bearing tissues.
Denture use can reduce salivary flow, creating an environment favorable for microbial survival. Candida cells seem to adhere to denture acrylic, which can lead to the development of denture stomatitis. In this study, the use of the vinegar solution significantly reduced the number of denture stomatitis cases, especially in patients with more severe type II stomatitis.
The study found that while the use of vinegar solution reduced the Candida counts in the saliva of the patients, though it did not completely eliminate the presence of C. albicans, a type of oral fungus responsible for causing denture-induced stomatitis – infections.
Other studies have also shown that vinegar may not have a strong inhibitory effect against C. albicans. However, the vinegar solution was effective in controlling other Candida species, leading to a reduction in the overall counts of Candida.
Vinegar-based soaking solutions have been found to effectively kill microorganisms residing on denture surfaces. Although they may be slightly less effective than homemade bleach solutions, studies have indicated that vinegar disinfection is particularly effective against Candida albicans.
The acidic nature of vinegar makes it highly efficient in removing tartar, which often builds up in denture crevices and can be challenging to clean with regular brushing. These mineral deposits, usually tan to brown in color, can be dissolved entirely for smaller accumulations or softened up to be brushed off for thicker buildups. Multiple cycles of soaking and brushing may be required to eliminate heavy deposits effectively.
How to clean dentures with vinegar
Before soaking dentures in vinegar, it is essential to thoroughly brush them to remove any soft or loose debris. Depending on the desired frequency of cleaning, different concentrations and soaking durations are recommended:
a. Infrequent/Periodic Denture Cleanings:
- Vinegar concentration: 50% to 100% (diluted with tap water)
- Soaking duration: 10 to 30 minutes
b. Daily Use:
- Vinegar concentration: 10% (diluted with tap water)
- Soaking duration: Up to 8 hours
After soaking, brushing the dentures again may help remove any remaining mineral deposits and staining that has softened up.
Rinse the dentures thoroughly with cool tap water after soaking, and if not immediately reinserted into the mouth, store them fully immersed in water.
Will vinegar damage dentures?
While vinegar is a well-known natural tartar remover and disinfectant for dentures, it has received less research attention compared to other homemade alternatives. That said, vinegar is unlikely to cause any color or strength changes, metal corrosion, surface roughness, or reline material damage on your dentures, as discussed below.
When researchers tested how different denture cleaning solutions affect the surface properties of a cobalt-chromium alloy false teeth, which is a type of metal used in dentures, they expected that the vinegar-hydrogen peroxide mixture would not have any effect on the alloy and would be similar to treatment with water. This was their hypothesis.
The results showed that their hypothesis was true for the vinegar-hydrogen peroxide mixture. It did not change the surface properties of the cobalt-chromium alloy, and the alloy remained unaffected.
On the other hand, the group treated with a 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution had negative effects. It caused an increase in surface roughness, meaning the metal became rougher, and it also led to a decrease in micro-hardness, which indicates that the metal became softer.
Since there were no previous studies on the same, the researchers concluded that vinegar-hydrogen peroxide mixture does not harm cobalt-chromium alloy dentures, while sodium hypochlorite solution has negative effects on the alloy’s surface properties.
Here are some key considerations:
Color and Strength Changes
Unlike bleach-based denture cleaners, vinegar-based soaks do not seem to cause color changes or alterations in the flexural strength of denture plastics.
Studies do not extensively discuss an increase in denture surface roughness due to the use of vinegar solutions.
Vinegar-based solutions are less likely to cause metal corrosion compared to bleach-based solutions. However, the type of metal alloy used in partial dentures can influence this effect, and it is best to consult with your dentist before using vinegar soaks if your dentures have metal components.
Effects on Denture Reline Materials
The materials used in denture relines may not be as durable as the original denture plastic, making it essential to confirm the compatibility of the chosen denture cleaner with your dentist after a reline.
Vinegar for Denture Cleaning: Pros and Cons
Disinfection: Vinegar-based soaking solutions can effectively kill microorganisms on the surface of dentures, including common oral fungus like Candida albicans.
Tartar Removal: The acidic nature of vinegar makes it highly effective in removing tartar, which often accumulates in denture crevices and can be challenging to clean with regular brushing.
Natural and Easily Accessible: Vinegar is a natural product found in most kitchens, making it easily accessible and a convenient option for denture cleaning.
Limited Research: While vinegar is a well-known natural remedy for cleaning, there is limited research specifically focused on its impact on denture materials and long-term use.
Less Effective Disinfection: Vinegar may be slightly less effective in disinfecting dentures compared to bleach-based solutions.
Metal Corrosion: While vinegar-based soaks are less likely to tarnish metal components compared to bleach-based solutions, there is still a possibility of corrosion depending on the type of metal used.
Vinegar can be a viable and natural option for denture cleaning, offering benefits such as disinfection and effective tartar removal. While there is less research on vinegar-based solutions compared to bleach-based ones, its use seems to be reasonably safe for periodic or daily cleaning.
As with any denture cleanser, it is advisable to consult with your dentist to ensure compatibility with your specific denture materials and to establish an optimal cleaning routine for maintaining oral health.