A new pair of dentures often requires a lengthy period of adjustment. Once you get a set of teeth that provide a comfortable fit, it is important to take good care of them. Although these devices are designed to stand up to routine wear and tear, there is a lot of unnecessary stress that they can be subjected to. This is especially true when inappropriate or ineffective maintenance strategies are used. By learning how to clean dentures properly, you can keep these appliances looking, smelling and functioning optimally. You can also significantly extend their lifetime.
Keep Your Dentures Moist
Dentures are comprised of a special, durable plastic that will maintain its integrity even after it has long been subjected to the constantly warm, moist conditions of the mouth. This plastic, however, is not meant to dry out. Thus, whenever you take your dentures out of your mouth, make sure to place them in water or in an appropriate soaking solution. This will prevent warping and cracking. It is also the perfect opportunity to freshen these appliances up and loosen up any trapped debris. Check your local store or ask your dentist for recommendations on soaking tablets that will dissolve stains and leave your dentures clean and fresh.
Brushing Your Dentures
Your dentures should be brushed regularly, much like your own natural teeth. You should use a denture brush and a quality denture paste to strip away built-up, surface debris at least once per day. Regular toothpaste contains abrasive materials that can scratch the surface of your dentures and create small openings that let bacteria in. Regular toothbrushes are not ideally shaped for addressing all denture sides and crevices. Choosing the right tools for the job can have a significant impact on how long your dentures hold up.
Protecting Your Dentures from Falling
It is important to protect your dentures from falls, particularly while you are cleaning them. Consider brushing your dentures over a soft, folded towel or over a sink that is filled with lukewarm water. These efforts will limit the impact of falls and prevent cracking and other damages that could require repairs or even a full denture replacement.
While it is definitely good to soak your dentures and rinse them in-between meals, you want to take care to avoid exposing these structures to excess heat. Hot water can cause dentures to warp, resulting in ill-fitting appliances. Your dentures should only be exposed to lukewarm water in order to ensure that they maintain their shape and that their fit remains ideal.
Making Your Own Denture Care Products At Home
Many people who wear dentures are eager to find recipes for homemade cleaning pastes and soaking solutions in order to save money on their routine self-care. While the denture care products that are available in-store might seem high-priced, paying extra for appropriate denture, pastes, brushes, adhesives and soaking solutions is far cheaper than paying for a full denture replacement. Although some homemade mixtures may provide acceptable results without causing serious damages, there are many recipes that can cause scratches, warping, discoloration and a range of other issues.
You should never clean your dentures with chlorine bleach or homemade mixtures containing chlorine bleach. These solutions can whiten the pink-colored palate and gums, which will give the smile an unpleasant and unnatural look. Moreover, homemade mixtures containing vinegar or baking soda are rarely sufficient on their own for removing all of the harmful microorganisms that can live on these structures. Ineffective cleaning products can therefore lead to persistent and pervasive mouth odors, staining, residues and mouth sores among other issues.
Never Perform Your Own Denture Repairs
Part of any good maintenance plan are diligent efforts to have denture problems resolved by qualified professionals and in a timely fashion. You should never attempt to perform your own denture repairs. Not only will this increase the likelihood of minor denture problems turning into larger and far more costly issues, but it could result in any related product warranties being voided. More importantly, taking too long to have small issues properly addressed will often render dentures unusable. The best way to avoid the need for a whole denture replacement is by scheduling repairs as soon as problems arise. You should also contact your dentist whenever gum shrinkage or changes in the positioning of gum tissues significantly alter the way in which your dentures fit. Maintaining a good fit and a stable bite will limit the amount of wear and tear that these structures sustain.
Clean Your Mouth and Gums
Not only do you have to learn how to clean dentures properly, you also have to take diligent care of your mouth interior and your gums. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean any remaining, natural teeth and to gently massage and clean the gums. If your dentures are secured with metal posts or clasps, use your toothbrush to clean these as well and to loosen any debris at their base. Always use a disinfecting mouthwash to minimize mouth bacteria before putting your dentures back in. Remember, any bacteria that are allowed to thrive and proliferate in your mouth will be quickly transferred to your dentures as soon as you put them in.