Regardless of whether you have retained all of your natural teeth, or wear a removable full or partial denture, having a clean, fresh smile is a real confidence booster. By thoroughly cleaning your dentures each day, you are not only eliminating trapped food and debris which can cling to your denture and cause bad breath, but you are also flushing away harmful bacteria which can endanger your overall health.
Dentures are made from acrylic, and though the surface may look and feel smooth and shiny, it actually contains many microscopic pores formed in the laboratory when the acrylic was processed. This characteristic of dentures makes them challenging to keep clean by brushing alone. Below are some helpful hints for keeping your breath fresh and your denture teeth sparkling:
STEP 1: Protect your denture from breakage by placing a folded towel on the surface you will be using while cleaning, or fill the sink with water.
STEP 2: Begin by removing food and debris from your denture. Generally, the use of a soft-bristled brush and specially formulated denture cleansing paste will be effective in eliminating gross food debris on the surface of your denture and helpful in preventing stains from forming. Don’t brush the denture while it’s in your mouth since denture cleansing formulas are not meant to be used orally. Avoid using a regular toothpaste formulation which can be too harsh or a stiff bristle brush which can wear away the acrylic teeth. Don’t forget to gently clean your tongue and gum tissues with a soft bristle toothbrush or to wipe them clean with gauze.
STEP 3: Soak the denture. Just as it feels great to pull off your shoes at the end of a hard day, taking your denture out for the night also gives your mouth tissues a chance to relax. By not wearing the denture while you sleep, you can reduce the accumulation of oral bacteria and the risk of oral yeast infections. Choose the denture soaking solution carefully. Concentrated bleaches certainly kill germs, but they can fade the gum tissue portion of the denture. Soaking the denture for one hour in a typical effervescent denture cleaning solution is sufficient to remove 99% of the bacteria. (Replace the solution every time you use it). Use warm, rather than hot, cleansing solutions which could alter your denture’s shape and fit. Rinse your denture thoroughly before placing it in your mouth.
Research has shown that brushing alone, with or without a cleansing paste, is ineffective in removing bacteria. The best method for thoroughly eliminating harmful bacteria from your denture, including those hiding in the difficult-to-reach surface pores, is through use of the ultrasonic cleaner. This technology is now very affordable and a small unit can be purchased for $50 at many of the discount retailers. Since the device can be used effectively with plain water, you may end up saving money in the long run. If you have used an over-the-counter soft reline material, your denture is even more susceptible to retaining harmful bacteria, and the ultrasonic cleaner is a must.
Keeping your denture clean and fresh, will keep you smiling for years to come!