Dentures are the most affordable dental appliance that replaces missing teeth, especially in older people. The longevity of a denture depends on the type of maintenance. The purpose of a denture is to allow the person to speak, eat, and smile naturally. These functions can be carries out effortlessly with well fitted and well-maintained dentures.
Dentures need as much attention and care as natural teeth. Regular cleaning of dentures plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the mouth and the appliance as a whole. Failure to clean dentures regularly causes continuous staining and plaque accumulation on the denture. Such incidents ruin your beautiful smile.
Learning to clean a denture may seem like a tedious process. But a denture can be cleaned easily by following 5 simple steps every day. Let’s read further to understand the importance of cleaning a denture and to learn the five quick steps to clean a denture efficiently.
What are dentures?
Dentures are custom-made dental appliances that are used to replace multiple missing teeth in a mouth. Dentures are usually removable devices. They can be taken out and worn back by the patient according to their convenience. (1)
Earlier, dentures used to take time to settle in the mouth and used to not look like natural teeth. But with recent advancements in dental materials, dentures have become comfortable and natural-looking than ever.
How does food accumulate in dentures?
Food particles in the mouth tend to move around and cling on to the surface of the teeth or any foreign object in the mouth. Often, dentures become the prime center for food accumulation. (2)
So how does the food accumulate in dentures?
- The food particles may drift to the floor of the mouth and accumulate under the lower denture
- The chewing motion often pushes the food particles forward and backward
- The act of swallowing winds the food debris between the palate and the upper denture
- The rough surface of the denture allows the food particles to stick to it as compared to other oral tissues. This allows the build-up of food and plaque over time.
Dentures take support from the surrounding oral tissues. They occupy a fair amount of space in the mouth. Hence, a person with dentures is more likely to accumulate food particles as compared to a person with natural teeth.
How to clean dentures?
Cleaning of dentures can be done in five easy steps –
1. Rinse the dentures thoroughly
The first step towards cleaning the dentures is to rinse them nicely with warm water. This step helps to remove all the food debris and residual acids from food and bacteria in the mouth.
Brushing immediately after eating can cause abrasions and scratches on the surface of the denture. Therefore, rinsing the dentures is an essential step to get rid of the acids in the initial stage.
2. Apply a denture paste or a mild cleanser
The second most important step towards denture cleaning is to place a washcloth on the bottom of the sink and fill it with water. This is a preventive method to protect denture from breaking, just in case, it drops unintentionally while cleaning.
Regular toothpaste can be too abrasive for a denture. The most suitable options to clean dentures are denture pastes. These pastes are exclusively made to clean the surface of the denture efficiently. In other cases, mild soaps that may be gentle on dentures can also be used.
Denture cleaning paste or gels help to thoroughly get rid of the bacteria that may be present on the denture and make it squeaky clean.
3. Scrub your dentures with a soft denture brush
A denture cleaning brush is specialized to reach and clean all the areas of the denture that might get missed otherwise. An ordinary toothbrush can be used to aid in cleaning. However, denture cleaning toothbrush is specially made to adapt to the curved parts of the denture.
4. Rinse the dentures once again
- Once the dentures are cleaned thoroughly, rinse them with water
- Hold the dentures firmly under running tap water
- Denture brush can be used to get rid of all the food debris and cleansing paste
- Check for any slimy feeling and wash it off with water
- Once the dentures are adequately cleaned, you can put them back in the mouth or soak them overnight in warm water
5. Soak the dentures for extra care
Taking our dentures and soaking them for a while provides rest to your oral tissues. The best way to keep your dentures moist when they are out is by soaking them overnight in lukewarm water. (3)
Specific chemical solutions that are recommended by the dentist can be used to allow the food particles and bacteria to loosen from the surface of the denture.
How does food accumulation in dentures affect oral health?
As mentioned above, food particles accumulate more with dentures in the mouth. If this food debris is not cleaned regularly, they can deteriorate the oral health with time.
There are two significant concerns that a denture wearer suffers from due to a lack of proper denture maintenance.
Around 90% of denture wearers suffer from the problem of bad breath. Food accumulated in the mouth often rots within hours.
To check if your dentures are smelling. Place them in a sealed or zip-lock plastic bag for at least five minutes. When you unseal the bag, you will know if your dentures cause your halitosis or not.
Inflammation of oral tissues
Excessive food accumulation between the surface of the denture and the oral tissue increases bacterial load which feeds on the food debris and produces acids. These bacterial acids cause infection of the tissues and the gums.
With time, the spread of infection involves the periodontal tissues and causes further damage to oral health. One of the most common types of oral irritation caused by dentures is Denture stomatitis. (4)
FAQ for denture whitener
Does denture become yellow over time?
Yes. The denture is a dental prosthesis that contains artificial teeth embedded in it. False teeth have a greater tendency to stain and change color over time as compared to natural teeth. It typically happens due to poor oral hygiene maintenance.
Not brushing your denture correctly regularly can lead to increased food deposits, accumulation of plaque, and bacteria that turn the color into yellow, grey, or green. In severe cases of poor oral hygiene, the color of the false teeth can turn black.
It is, therefore, advised to clean your dentures regularly. Moreover, soak them in denture cleaners.
Can we whiten dentures?
No, typically, the traditional whitening techniques used to enhance the color of natural teeth may not be effective in whitening the artificial teeth. One main reason behind this is the inability of the whitening agent to bond with the porcelain material.
How to whiten dentures at home?
While there are not many options to whiten the dentures at home, the best method to maintain the color of the denture is by cleaning it regularly with denture cleaners.
Denture cleaners are specially designed to loosen the food deposits and plaque from the surface of the denture. Moreover, it also helps to remove the stains. Your dentist may help you to find the best denture cleaner suitable for your prosthesis.
What is the professional way of whitening dentures?
Most people may not be satisfied with the outcome of home denture whitening. In such cases, professional denture whitening may be a viable option. Professional denture whitening typically involves a thorough cleaning of the denture, removal of stains, and polishing the surface to add extra shine and smoothness to the denture.
Generally, it is advised to get professional denture whitening/cleaning two times a year.
How to maintain the color of your denture teeth?
The first thing you must do to maintain the dentures’ color is to keep it stain free. You can do that by cleaning your dentures regularly. Moreover, follow the steps below always to have a white and bright smile –
- Remove dentures every night, rinse them thoroughly to remove food debris and plaque.
- You can also brush the surface gently with a denture brush
- Avoid consuming pigmented food and drinks like tea, coffee, wine, berries, and any type of sauce.
- Rise your dentures quickly after every meal to remove the stains and to remain food debris.
Which methods are not safe for denture whitening?
Some of the methods that you must avoid for whitening dentures are as follows –
- Using bleach – bleach is a highly caustic and acidic substance that has the potential to discolor the dentures. Moreover, it can react with the denture material and make it weak over time.
- Using chlorine – chlorine may be the right cleaning product. However, when chlorine comes in contact with the denture’s metal wires and clasps, it can quickly corrode them.
- Whitening toothpaste – usually most of the whitening toothpaste contain hydrogen peroxide as the main ingredient. Although it may help to whiten natural teeth, hydrogen peroxide can change the color of the dentures.
- Lemon and baking soda – both of these ingredients harm natural as well as artificial teeth.
How can you make false teeth whiter?
Some of the best ways to whiten your denture may include –
- Prevent staining of the denture by consuming stain-free food. Avoid tea, coffee, berries, and food with artificial food color.
- Use non-abrasive denture cleaning solutions to soak the denture overnight in it. It helps to loosen the stains and make the teeth look whiter.
- Regular home cleaning and occasional professional cleaning of dentures can take you a long way toward a white and bright smile.
Is Listerine suitable for soaking dentures overnight?
Yes. Listerine or any other mouthwash can be used effectively to clean the denture and soak the dentures. However, it is advised to soak the dentures for a shorter period compared to soaking it overnight as it can stain the artificial teeth if used for a prolonged time.
- Listerine typically contributes towards a refreshing denture cleanse. Moreover, it also kills bacteria at the same time.
- To clean the denture with Listerine, soak the denture for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of half cup warm water and a half cup of the mouthwash.
- Take the dentures out after thirty minutes and rinse it under tap water thoroughly. For an optimum experience, you can follow a mouthwash gargle to freshen the breath before placing the dentures in the mouth.
How to clean stains on denture?
Like natural teeth, dentures also have the potential to pick up food stains. Especially if you smoke, drink a lot of tea, coffee, and red wine. In most cases, it is easy to remove the stains with regular cleaning. However, more stubborn stains may require more vigorous cleaning. Following is the best way to remove stains from your denture –
- The first thing you might want to be mindful of is that the dentures may break if you accidentally drop them while cleaning. Therefore, always wash your dentures by placing a bowl of water or a folded towel underneath to avoid breakage if you lose the denture.
- To clean the stains from the denture, follow the fundamental rule – brush and soak every day. Brush your dentures first, to remove food particles and debris. Additionally, use a non-abrasive denture cleaner instead of a toothpaste. Be careful not to scrub too hard as this may lead to the formation of grooves in the denture’s surface.
- It is best to use a soft-bristled denture cleaning brush. Make sure to brush all the denture surfaces, including the cover that fits against your gums. This is necessary primarily when you use any kind of denture fixative or adhesive.
- After cleaning the denture, soak them every day in a denture-cleaning solution. This step will help to remove the plaque and any stubborn stains that are left on the denture surface. Additionally, it will also help to disinfect your dentures, leaving them to feel fresh.
- While using a denture cleaning solution, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you notice a build-up of stains or scale, take help from professional denture cleaning services.
Can you soak dentures in hot or cold water?
It is best to place the dentures in lukewarm water whenever you are not using them. Avoid too hot or too cold water as it can lead to distortion and loss of shape. As a result, the denture may not correctly fit in the mouth and cause unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Can you soak dentures in hydrogen peroxide?
Yes. Hydrogen peroxide has been very effective in cleaning dentures. Moreover, it is one of the most common home remedies to whiten dentures as it is readily available at every store. Hydrogen peroxide turns your denture into pearly white, it is incredibly useful in removing the food particles stuck in it and cleans the stains. This is because of the abrasive particles present in the solution.
You can soak the denture in a mixture of half cup lukewarm water and half cup hydrogen peroxide. Or you can also rub the concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide on the denture surface and clean the denture thoroughly. Make sure to use gloves before handling this caustic solution. You may also use a toothbrush to do the cleaning.
Are there any long-term effects on the denture with regular overnight use of denture cleaners?
It is perfectly safe to soak your denture in denture cleaners for the night’s duration, and there are no adverse effects. Moreover, in the long run, the denture cleaner will help to maintain the color of your denture.
Can you use toothpaste on dentures for whitening?
While mild toothpaste may be useful in cleaning the denture’s surface and removing plaque, whitening toothpaste is best avoided. This is because of their high abrasive and acidic property, which can lead to grooving on the dentures. Moreover, it can discolor the denture over time.
Is vinegar good for whitening dentures?
The use of vinegar is another home remedy to whiten your dentures. White vinegar is also very efficient in killing germs and removing plaque that can build up on your dentures.
- Soak your dentures in white vinegar overnight.
- Take the dentures out next morning, and rinse them thoroughly; you may also brush the dentures. This will help remove all the tartar, food particles, plaque, and stains from the denture’s surface.
- Follow this routine every week to keep your dentures sparkling white and free from unwanted food particles, stains, bacteria, and plaque.
Can you whiten denture with baking soda?
Baking soda is one useful home remedies, indeed, when it comes to cleaning and whitening dentures. Typically, Baking soda is a cleaning solution often used to disinfect kitchen items. However, it is also known for cleaning dentures. Moreover, baking soda is also perfect for deodorizing dentures. This is because It eliminates particles of food that remain stuck within the dentures.
You can use baking soda as a soaking solution by adding one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of lukewarm water. Place the dentures overnight and rinse them thoroughly the next morning before placing them in the mouth.
What is the best denture cleaner?
Some of the best commercial denture cleaners are listed below-
- Polident antibacterial denture cleaner
- Protech denture cleaner
- Mottenfalle tablet denture cleaner
- Efferdent denture cleaner
- Retainer Brite denture cleaner
How much does a denture cleaner cost?
On average, a denture cleaner is very affordable and may cost somewhere between $10 – $40. Denture cleaners are readily available in any grocery or pharmacy store.
How long can you use a denture cleaner?
Usually, denture cleaners come in the form of powder or tablets. You might want to look over the instruction guide to check how much quantity is required for soaking dentures one time.
Can saltwater help to whiten denture?
Saltwater denture cleaning is an old practice that works effectively for cleaning dentures. Typically, salt is a perfect bleaching agent. The best way to use salt for denture cleaning is by dabbing your toothbrush in some salt and brushing your dentures regularly.
An alternative method is to mix one tablespoon of salt in one glass of warm water and then soak your dentures overnight. Take the dentures out the next morning and clean them thoroughly before using it in the mouth.
Are there bleaching agents for dentures?
When it comes to the whitening denture, the first thing that pops up in mind is the bleaching solution. There is a wide range of bleaches in the market that are meant for cleaning stained dentures. Such bleaching products are often mild and do not cause harm to the denture surface.
The best way to use a bleaching solution is to mix one teaspoon of denture cleaning bleach with one glass of water and soak your dentures in this solution for about fifteen minutes. Take out the dentures and clean it gently with a toothbrush. This technique is best for maintaining the color of the denture.
Is lemon juice good for a whitening denture?
Lemon is very well known for its bleaching and stain removal properties, which can significantly benefit the cleaning of dentures. It is one of the most straightforward techniques to add the juice of one lemon into a cup of warm water. Soak the dentures in the mixture for not more than 30 minutes; prolonged use can have erosive effects on the denture surface. Rinse the denture thoroughly to remove lemon from the denture surface.
Take away message
Dentures are an excellent dental device that can be worn for as long as you maintain the health of your mouth and the dentures as well.
There is a wide range of denture cleaning materials available in the market. While denture cleaning tablets provide a deep clean, brushing the denture helps to remove the plaque.
Visit your dentist for regular check-ups to stay updated with your oral health status and to get information on any new denture maintenance methods. Stay aware and live healthily.