Restoring the ability to eat, speak, and smile naturally is the primary purpose of dentures. They also provide support so facial muscles don’t sag, making you look older. These custom-made replacements for lost teeth are more comfortable and natural-looking than ever. It takes a little time to get used to dentures and learn how to incorporate them into your oral care routine. Keeping dentures clean is an important part of oral hygiene, and helps them stay well-maintained and comfortable.
How Food Collects on Dentures
When you eat, food particles collect on your dentures. Food may fall to the bottom of your mouth and become trapped under lower dentures or get pushed up and back and get stuck between your palate and upper dentures. Food also sticks more easily to the rough plastic surface of dentures than it does to oral tissues, and can gradually build up over time. Because dentures take up a fair amount of space in your mouth, you are more likely to notice food collecting underneath them than a person with natural teeth.
Buildup Problems Caused by Food on Dentures
Food particles allowed to accumulate on dentures can cause a number of problems. Bad breath is a common concern among people who wear dentures. When food builds up in the mouth, it can quickly turn rancid in just a few hours. If you are concerned your dentures are causing bad breath, place them in a sealed plastic bag for five minutes. When you open the bag and take a sniff, you should have a good idea whether or not your dentures are causing bad breath.
Inflammation is another common concern. As particles build up on areas of the dentures in contact with your mouth, bacteria feeding on the food particles can move to your gums and oral tissues. This can cause infection and inflammation that can develop into mouth sores or periodontal gum disease if left untreated. Poor oral health has been linked to certain chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatology. This makes it even more important to clean your dentures regularly and effectively.
Caring for Dentures
Keep dentures clean and well-maintained with these tips for good denture care:
- Take out and rinse dentures after eating – Thoroughly rinse your dentures with running water to remove food particles and debris. Placing a towel or some water in the sink beforehand helps protect dentures from breaking if you drop them in the process.
- Handle dentures carefully – Avoid bending or damaging the plastic or clasps during cleaning.
- Clean your mouth – While your dentures are out, clean your cheeks, tongue, soft palate, and any natural teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Rinse your mouth – Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash, like Oral Essentials Clean and Fresh™ Mouthwash, can help keep your mouth clean and protect against bacteria.
- Brush dentures daily – Clean your dentures gently at least once a day by soaking and brushing using a non-abrasive denture cleanser. Remove food, plaque, and denture adhesive that has collected on the dentures.
- Deep-clean dentures – Periodically, use a deep-cleaning solution to soak off stubborn food particles and debris. Effervescent tablets formulated to clean dentures are commonly used. After soaking, check for remaining food particles and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove them.
- Soak dentures – The majority of dentures must remain moist to retain their shape. Store dentures overnight in water or a mild denture-soaking solution. Your dentist can provide more information about properly storing dentures overnight.
- Rinse dentures before placing them in your mouth – Always rinse dentures before putting them in your mouth, particularly if you have just removed them from a denture-soaking solution. Some of these solutions contain harmful chemicals that can cause pain, vomiting, or burns if swallowed.
- Visit your dentist regularly – Follow your dentist’s recommendations for regular dental checkups to have your dentures examined and cleaned. Your dentist can help make sure your dentures fit properly to prevent discomfort and slippage. They will also check to see if your mouth is healthy.
- Promptly handle a loose fit – If your dentures become loose, visit your dentist promptly. Loose dentures can cause infection, sores, and irritation.
- Contact your dentist if dentures are damaged – See your dentist right away if your dentures break, crack, or chip. Trying to adjust them yourself can lead to further damage and may ruin them.
Things to Avoid
When caring for dentures, avoid these potentially damaging things:
- Abrasive cleaning materials – Strong cleansers, stiff-bristled toothbrushes, and harsh toothpastes are too abrasive and can damage dentures.
- Whitening toothpaste – Toothpastes that containing whitening ingredients tend to be particularly abrasive and may cause damage to your dentures.
- Products containing bleach – Bleaching products can change the color of dentures and weaken them. Dentures with metal attachments should not be soaked in anything containing chlorine because it can corrode and tarnish the metal.
- Hot water – Hot or boiling water can warp dentures.
Enjoy the pleasure of freshly-brushed teeth even if you wear dentures. Properly cleaning your mouth and dentures is part of a complete oral care routine that will help keep your mouth clean and healthy. Incorporating denture care into your regular oral hygiene routine takes some getting used to, but it’s worth the effort to maintain a clean, fresh mouth and beautiful smile.
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