Also called as false teeth, dentures are prosthetic dental devices that resemble original teeth and so are used to replace missing teeth. These dentures are generally fitted into the mouth in the place of missing teeth and are firmly supported by the bordering tissues in the oral cavity. With time your dentures would start losing their sheen mainly due to dirt, bacteria and plaque buildup, conditions that affect your original teeth as well.
Due to improper oral hygiene and cleaning practices, your dentures would start looking filthy and unkempt, and can become quite embarrassing to expose when you open your mouth. And that is why it is considered absolutely necessary to clean your dentures every once in a while so that they remain clean and white for a long time to come. Hopefully, this article would be able to shed some light on how you can keep your dentures clean and sparkling white.
How often Should You Clean Your Dentures?
Most dentures are removable and so need to be cleaned as often as teeth in order to remain free of dirt and germs. And even though they can be removed during meals, it pays to clean them properly after every meal to ensure that they remain bright and attractive for extended periods. Unkempt dentures could lose their sheen and start looking hideous with the buildup of dirt and plaque. In addition to this, they can cause teeth stains, cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and foul dental odor as well.
Ways to Clean and Whiten Your Dentures
And that is the very reason why dentures must be kept absolutely clean and hygienic. So if this is your first tryst with dentures, here are some simple tips that could help keep them clean and your teeth and gums healthy in the process.
Brushing the Teeth and Gums
The first thing you need to do to keep your dentures clean is to make sure your teeth and gums are clean after every meal. Residual food particles would most surely stick to the dentures once you place them back in your mouth.
So make it a point to first get rid of food particles, stains and other miniscule debris like plaque from your teeth and gums. Use a soft bristled toothbrush to carefully brush over and around the teeth and gums. Rinse your mouth with a good quality mouthwash afterwards to keep your teeth and gums healthy in the long run.
Brushing Your Dentures
Toothbrushes to Use
Sometimes miniscule amounts of debris can be left behind on the dentures even after cleaning them properly. In these cases, it is considered wise to use a toothbrush to brush away these particles. Accordingly, you can opt for ultrasonic toothbrushes or denture toothbrushes that are specially designed to clean dentures.
Although these brushes are a bit expensive, they are worthy investments when it comes to cleaning your dentures properly. Alternatively you can opt for soft, small headed toothbrushes (preferably soft nailbrushes) that are maneuverable and can easily reach the corners and inner areas of the mouth. Make sure the bristles of the brush are not stiff as they can damage the dentures.
Toothpastes and Cleaning Solutions to Use
Never opt for ordinary toothpastes, soap, vinegar or bleach to clean the dentures as these substances can potentially abrade or damage the dentures. Don’t use hot water to clean your dentures as well as they would warp under heat. Always opt for specially formulated denture cleaning toothpastes recommended by your orthodontist. You can also opt for denture cleaners, creams or gels (the last two under medical guidance of course) to clean your dentures.
Cleaning Dentures with Adhesives
When cleaning your dentures, make sure that you clean the surface properly and leave no area untouched. You also need to make sure that you clean that part of the dentures which come in contact with your gums when you place them in the mouth. Cleaning this area of the dentures becomes more important if you use denture adhesives that need to be removed and replaced every day.
Soaking and Rinsing your Dentures
In addition to brushing your dentures at regular intervals, you need to soak or rinse them periodically to avoid stains and plaque/bacteria buildup. Denture cleaning solutions are available in the market (you can also ask your orthodontist for a good cleanser) and can be used to clean the dentures.
Soaking your dentures for a couple of hours in these solutions would both clean the dentures from outside and disinfect it from inside (by penetrating the core). Rinsing the dentures would remove food particles. Use lukewarm water for best results. It is best recommended that you soak your dentures in a cleansing solution overnight to get the best results.
However, if you feel embarrassed to remove the dentures in front of everyone or prefer to wear them at night, you need to make sure that you clean them first thing in the morning. This would ensure that any dirt or food particles left over from the previous night is removed, thereby preventing the buildup of stains, plaque and bacteria. It also pays to soak your dentures in a cleansing solution for a few minutes before you go to bed. This way you can sleep with clean dentures and worry less about them becoming contaminated.
Important Points for Special Cases Like Soft Lining
In certain cases, an individual would need to be fitted with a softer lining that would be specially designed for his/her dentures. This would usually occur if the individual has sensitive gums that bleed when fitted with dentures or fail to support the dentures altogether.
In the case an individual is fitted with a softer lining for his/her dentures, he/she would need to check with the orthodontist before opting for any kind of tooth brushes, pastes, gels, creams or cleansing solutions. He/she would need to use only those products recommended by the orthodontist and refrain from using over the counter products that could potentially damage the soft lining.
Getting Your Dentures Cleaned by the Orthodontist
Even though you take extra measures to keep your dentures clean, chances are they may still develop stains and plaque with time. And even though the stains can be removed, the plaque would reach with the saliva and transform into tartar which would be very hard to remove. As the buildup of tartar increases, your dentures would start looking unkempt and ugly.
And it would not be possible for you to remove them completely without damaging your dentures. In these cases, it is considered best to visit the orthodontist and request him/her to remove the tartar using professional cleaning equipments. This way the tartar (and other issues like stains) can be effectively removed without causing damage to the dentures.