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 which 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.
A regular toothpaste can be too abrasive for a denture. 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
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 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 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)
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.