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Cleaning Your Dentures Advice
From The Cambridge Dentist Hub

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Whether you wear full dentures or partials, proper care will help keep them clean, stain-free and long-lasting. Here are some tips to help you keep your dentures looking their best.

1. Protect.

Since dentures can break easily, it’s a good idea to put down a towel or fill the bathroom sink with water before cleaning your dentures. Handle them gently so you don’t bend or damage the plastic or attachments. Avoid excessive heat. Boiling water can kill bacteria, but heat can also destroy your dentures by distorting the plastic. Room-temperature water will do just fine.

2. Remove and rinse.

Rinse your dentures under warm (not hot) water to remove food particles.

3. Brush.

Plaque and bacteria can form on dentures. It’s important to clean your dentures daily by brushing and soaking them. Daily brushing removes food particles, bacteria and plaque, and helps keep your dentures stain-free. What should you use to clean your dentures?

Use a moist, soft-bristled toothbrush or denture brush and denture cleanser. A denture brush is designed to clean all areas of the denture. If you use denture adhesive, clean the grooves that fit against your gums to remove any remaining adhesive.

Use a denture cleaner or gel. Regular toothpaste, especially whitening toothpaste, is too harsh for cleaning dentures. Some denture wearers use a mild hand or dishwashing soap. But avoid harsh products like vinegar, bleach, or baking soda that can damage or scratch dentures. Scratches can harbour bacteria growth. Ask your dentist to suggest a good denture cleanser.

4. Soak.

Dentures need to remain moist to keep their shape and prevent them from drying out. Soak them overnight in warm water or a denture-soaking solution. Denture soaking cleaners are tablets that you drop into warm water creating an effervescent (fizzy) solution. You can soak your dentures in the solution for a few minutes or overnight, depending on the product instructions.

Don't soak dentures with metal attachments in solutions containing bleach or chlorine. Bleach or chlorine can damage dentures and tarnish and corrode the metal.

Overnight soaking can kill 99.9 percent of denture germs. Pharmacy shelves are lined with denture cleaning options, from all-natural soaking solutions to high-end ultrasonic devices. It’s easy for denture wearers to think one cleaning option is as effective as the next, and therefore choose the fastest or least expensive one.

But fast may not be best. The use of an overnight soak such as can empower patients to kill up to 99.9 percent of the bacteria that colonizes on their prostheses. This level of disinfection may not be reached with many quick-fix cleaning methods.

Many patients who adopt overnight denture soaking find that the quick-soak method still has its place in their daytime routine. While a three- to five-minute soak may not achieve the 99.9 percent kill rate of an overnight soak, it can nevertheless be effective in reducing bacterial counts and helping patients freshen up quickly before a social event.

5. Rinse again.

Be sure to rinse your dentures before putting them back in your mouth, especially if using a denture-soaking solution. And never chew, swallow or gargle with denture cleansers, which can contain harmful chemicals.

6. How to make soak more effective.

Just soaking is not especially effective in helping to remove mineral deposits (tartar) that have built up on false teeth. You can add a tartar-removing capability by adding Calgon® water softener (Calgon the calcium-chelating agent, not Calgon the soap or bath oil) .

After soaking, brush your denture a second time. Some mineral deposits and associated stain may till remain but have softened up enough that they can be brushed off.

7. Maintain.

It’s important to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and to have your dentures examined for proper fit. Your dentist can also check the inside of your mouth to make sure there are no concerns.

See your dentist right away if your dentures become loose. Poor fitting denture can cause irritation and lead to sores and infections.

Dry Mouth and Denture Care

For patients who suffer from dry mouth, contaminated dentures pose potential health risks. There is a high prevalence of dry mouth in the aging population. The likelihood of xerostomia increases with the number of medications a person takes. Since people over 65 use an average of three prescriptions and two over-the-counter medications per day, they stand a good chance of suffering from dry mouth.

In normal conditions, saliva provides a variety of protective functions and may be considered the mouth’s first line of defence against harmful bacteria. Denture wearers with reduced salivary flow should be particularly concerned about the cleanliness of their dentures. To relieve ongoing symptoms of xerostomia patients can use oral moisturizers that provide symptomatic relief and aid denture retention, which boosts patient confidence.

Age and Denture Care

• Older patients - with or without dentures - have higher bacterial counts in their mouths - Researchers have discovered higher counts of lactobacilli and yeasts in the saliva of older people, particularly older denture wearers. This is due to several factors, including reduced salivary flow and diminished immune system protection.

Unfortunately as people age, their mouths require more vigilant care, which can be an issue for patients experiencing declines in dexterity and self-sufficiency. If manual dexterity is a problem, supplemental denture cleaning methods (e.g., denture wipes or stationary denture brushes) can be explored.

Old Dentures and Denture Care

The average full-mouth denture is 17.6 years old.

It has been reported that 57 percent of denture wearers seldom or never receive a routine check-up.

Depending on denture retention and stability, dentures should be replaced every five to seven years - a recommendation that greatly conflicts with the average denture age stated above. Obviously, most patients do not consider replacement that often and hope to get many years of wear out of their dentures. While this is sometimes possible, patients need to be reminded that routine professional evaluations and keeping dentures clean may help prolong the life of both full and partial dentures.

Patients should consider the many benefits of well-maintained dentures. Since thorough daily cleaning and routine professional follow-up can prolong the life and comfort of dentures. The denture wearer experiences greater confidence, satisfaction, and pleasure, and produces more smiles and a healthier, happier life with dentures.