Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Jade Roberts
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of Dentures
- 2 Daily Denture Care Routine
- 3 Overnight Denture Care
- 4 Eating With Dentures
- 5 Dealing With Denture Stains
- 6 The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups
- 7 Denture Replacement and Lifespan
- 8 Conclusion
Your smile not only shows your confidence, but it reflects your overall health. For millions of people around the world, dentures give them a perfect smile. It does not matter what type of dentures are worn – full, partial, or implant-supported – taking good care of them is essential to well-being.
Dentures are artificial replacements for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They serve many purposes ranging from enhancing the way you look to allowing you to eat and speak well. But to experience these benefits, dentures must be cared for properly.
Serious health issues can develop if denture care is neglected. Poorly maintained dentures can result in pain and discomfort, and negatively impact how you eat and speak. Plus, oral health is directly connected to general health. The connection between the two has been documented showing that oral health problems like gum disease often lead to other health issues ranging from heart disease and diabetes to respiratory infections. Not taking proper care of dentures can cause new health issues or irritate pre-existing conditions.
The following guide will outline various aspects of maintaining healthy dentures including daily cleaning and answering questions on common problems. It will also explain when you should consider replacement.
Types of Dentures
There are various types of dentures. They have been designed to address specific dental needs. Learning about each type is important for proper care and attention. Here is a quick look at the primary denture types.
As the name implies, partial dentures are dentures that replace only a few teeth, just part of your smile. They contain replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored base. They are designed to fit perfectly with your remaining natural teeth and not only improve your smile but permit normal chewing function.
Sometimes called complete dentures, full dentures replace a full row of either upper or lower teeth. They are custom-made to fit your mouth and rest on the gums. In addition to permitting speaking, eating, and helping your smile, full dentures support facial muscles.
These types of dentures are anchored to surgically inserted dental implants which keeps them stable and secure. Eating, speaking, and smiling are all possible and can be done with confidence that a plate won’t accidentally slip or come out of position.
Daily Denture Care Routine
Not only does keeping your dentures at their best improve your appearance, but it also maintains your oral health. Following the daily denture cleaning routine outlined here ensures your dentures remain in their best possible condition.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Ensure you have all the necessary supplies ready job before starting to clean your dentures. This includes:
- Denture brush or soft-bristled toothbrush
- Mild denture cleaning solution
- A soft cloth or towel for handling dentures
- A denture cup or container
- Warm water
Step 2: Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands before you begin. Use soap and water as thoroughly cleaned hands reduce the risk of transferring bacteria to your mouth or dentures.
Step 3: Remove Your Dentures
Carefully and gently remove your dentures. If you wear partials, do not force them out. This prevents damaging the framework or clasps that hold them in place.
Step 4: Rinse Dentures
Hold your dentures under warm running water to remove loose food particles. Do not use hot water as that can cause dentures to warp. Either fill part of the sink with water or line it with a towel to cushion dentures if they slip out of your hands. Hitting a hard surface can damage them.
Step 5: Cleaning Dentures
- Choosing The Right Denture Cleaner: Find a denture cleaner that is meant for your type of dentures. Depending on the materials in your dentures, you may need a specific kind of cleaner. Consult with your dentist for suggestions to be used when cleaning implant-supported dentures.
- Brushing Techniques: Use a denture brush or soft-bristled toothbrush to thoroughly clean all surfaces of your dentures. Pay special attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas where food particles may gather. Avoid using regular toothpaste, as the abrasives in these products can damage dentures.
- Soaking Dentures: Fill your denture cup or container with a mixture of warm water and a denture cleanser tablet or denture cleaning solution. Place dentures inside so they are fully immersed and allow them to soak. Do not leave them in the solution for more than 30 minutes. Soaking helps remove stains and bacteria.
Step 6: Cleaning Your Mouth
- Brushing Natural Teeth (if present): Gently brush any natural teeth you still have with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Cleaning the Gums and Palate: It is still important to clean your gums and palate even if you have no remaining natural teeth. Use a soft toothbrush or a specially designed brush to remove debris or plaque. The brushing action stimulates blood circulation and keeps gum tissue healthy.
Step 7: Handling Dentures Properly
- Handwashing Before Handling: Before you reinsert your dentures into your mouth, thoroughly dry your hands and make sure they are clean.
- Using a Soft Cloth or Towel as a Cushion: Prevent your dentures from accidental damage by putting a soft cloth or towel on the counter or in the sink to soften the landing should your dentures slip out of your hands.
Step 8: Denture Adhesive Use (if applicable)
Follow these steps if you use denture adhesive:
- Proper Application: Following instructions, apply denture adhesive sparingly. Too much can cause issues.
- Removing Residue: At the end of the day, use warm water and a soft toothbrush or specialized adhesive removal brush to remove any remaining residue from your gums and dentures.
Overnight Denture Care
When you remove your dentures before bed each night it does not signal the end of taking care of them for the day. Overnight care is also important and keeps your dentures clean, fresh, and ready for use when you wake up the next morning. Here is a guide on how to care for your dentures overnight.
Soaking Dentures Overnight
There are several good reasons for soaking dentures overnight. They include:
- Give Your Gums A Break: Your gums feel pressure when you wear dentures. Wearing them for extended periods adds to that pressure. By soaking your dentures overnight, you give your gums a rest which also reduces the possibility of pain and irritation from occurring.
- Removes Stains and Bacteria: Stubborn stains and bacteria can be removed with overnight soaking of dentures. This means that your dentures will be fresh and hygienic by morning.
- Prevents Denture Drying: The material your dentures are made from can become brittle when they dry out. Overnight soaking keeps dentures moist, reducing potential breaks or cracks that can occur when they are dry.
Choosing the Right Soaking Solution
You have a few options to choose from. They include:
- Denture Cleaning Tablets: These are both convenient and easy to use. Usually, you just drop one or two into a glass of warm water, and the tablets clean as they dissolve.
- Mild Denture Cleaner and Water: A mild denture cleaning solution mixed with warm water is another effective way to soak dentures overnight. The cleanser removes stains and bacteria.
- Homemade Solutions: A mixture of salt and water forms what is commonly known as a saline solution. This is another good cleaner for overnight soaking. Consult with your dentist for recommendations.
Storing Dentures Safely
When you are not wearing your dentures, it is vital to store them safely to prevent damage. Here are tips to help with that:
- Choosing an Appropriate Storage Container: There are denture cups and containers available in the marketplace that have been specifically designed for this purpose. These containers are shaped to maintain the form and integrity of your dentures.
- Keeping Dentures Away from Pets and Children: Keep your denture container out of reach of pets and children. Dentures are fragile and can be damaged if dropped and they land on a hard surface.
Eating With Dentures
Dentures allow individuals with missing teeth the opportunity to enjoy a vast selection of foods and regain their confidence in social settings. However, eating with dentures does involve some extra care as some foods are more challenging and can cause issues. They include:
- Sticky and Chewy Foods: Chewing gum, caramel, and taffy-like foods can stick to dentures making them hard to clean and may develop into causing discomfort.
- Hard Foods: Foods that are hard or crunchy like nuts, popcorn, and hard candies put excessive pressure on dentures. This pressure may result in cracks or other damage.
- Tough Meats: Tough cuts of meat like steak can be difficult to chew and could dislodge dentures if not cut up into smaller, easier-to-manage pieces.
- Seeds and Small Grains: Foods like strawberries or sesame seeds contain small seeds and grains that can get trapped between dentures and gums. This can result in discomfort.
- Excessive Alcohol and Hot Liquids: Drinking too much alcohol impairs judgment and coordination which could result in an accident that may damage your dentures. Hot liquids can cause dentures to warp which can lead to cracks or breakage.
Dealing With Denture Stains
Dentures can stain just like natural teeth. Stains can alter the appearance of teeth and may develop odors or a less-than-fresh feeling. Let’s look at some of the common causes of denture staining and how to remove or prevent stains from forming on your dentures.
Common Causes of Denture Stains
- Food and Beverages: Dark-colored food and beverages such as tea, coffee, red wine, and certain fruits can stain dentures.
- Tobacco Use: Tobacco products such as cigarettes, can leave a yellowish-brown color on dentures.
- Inadequate Cleaning: Plaque and tartar buildup can result when dentures are not cleaned properly.
- Medications: Some medications can cause staining. They include iron supplements or antiseptic mouthwashes.
- Disease or Illness: Medical conditions or illnesses that affect saliva production or oral hygiene can cause denture staining.
Stain Removal Techniques
- Using Denture Cleaning Tablets: The formula contained in denture cleaning tablets removes stains and bacteria. Follow the directions provided by the product manufacturer to ensure proper execution of the cleaning process.
- Baking Soda and Water Paste: A gentle abrasive paste can be made by mixing baking soda with water. This thick, non-gritty paste can be brushed gently onto dentures with a soft-bristled toothbrush or denture brush to remove stains. Rinse after brushing before reinserting dentures into your mouth.
- Vinegar Solution: Soaking dentures in a solution of vinegar and water for about 20 minutes is effective in stain removal. Rinse dentures with warm water before putting them back into your mouth.
Preventing Future Staining
Although cleaning existing stains is important, it is also essential to prevent future staining. Here are ways to do that.
- Regular Cleaning: Clean your dentures at least twice per day using proper brushing techniques and a mild denture cleaner or denture cleaning tablets.
- Rinse After Meals: Rinse your dentures with water after each meal to remove food particles and beverage residue.
- Avoid Stain-Causing Substances: Limit how much you eat or drink food and drink items that are known to cause denture staining.
- Stop Smoking: If you use tobacco or smoke, quitting will reduce the possibility of staining and improve your health.
The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups
Even if you maintain a perfect cleaning routine, having regular dental check-ups remains important. These check-ups allow your dentist to monitor the condition of your dentures. It also allows your dentist to see what your oral health is like and fix issues as they arise.
- Denture Assessment: As you get your regular check-up, your dentist can examine your dentures. Fit and function will be the main reason for this and if there are problems, they can be handled then and there. Your dentist will look for signs of wear that require repairs such as tears, cracks, or chips you may not have noticed.
- Oral Health Monitoring: Regular check-ups allow your dentist to examine your gums, oral tissues, and any remaining natural teeth you may have.
- Professional Cleaning: Your dentist will have access to specialized equipment that can provide your dentures with a deep cleaning.
- Preventative Care Education and Guidance: Your dentist will provide you with the advice you need to keep your dentures and oral health in the best condition.
- Adjustments and Repairs: As the shape of your jaw and mouth may change over time, your dentures may not fit as they once did. Your dentist can make repairs when needed to ensure proper fit and function.
Denture Replacement and Lifespan
Even if you take the best care with your denture cleaning routine, everything has a lifespan. Dental appliances are no different. It is important to know when the time comes for replacement. Here are a few signs that should tip you off to start considering new dentures.
- Worn or Chipped Teeth: The artificial teeth in your dentures can wear down over time. They may develop chips or cracks. Any of these can impact your chewing ability.
- Poor Fit: As your jawbone and gums change shape, your dentures may lose their fit. Some adjustments can be made by your dentist but there is a point where relining just doesn’t work anymore, and you’ll need new dentures instead.
- Irritation and Sore Spots: Ongoing discomfort from sore spots or irritation that won’t go away even after adjustments have been made to your dentures is a sign not to ignore.
- Changes in Appearance: Denture wear can cause changes in your facial appearance. If you notice sagging or a protruding jawline, it may be time for new dentures.
- Difficulty Speaking: Poorly fitting dentures can cause slurring and other speaking difficulties.
- Denture Stains and Odors: Dentures with stains or odors that do not go away after repeated cleanings may need to be completely replaced.
On average, dentures have a five to ten-year lifespan. However, the material they are made from, their quality, and how they are cared for all impact that time frame. Caring for dentures can extend their lifespan in several ways including:
- Preserving Functionality: When you take good care of your dentures, they continue to function properly enabling you to eat, speak, and smile.
- Comfort: Caring for your dentures prevents them from causing issues in your mouth such as sore spots and irritations.
- Oral Health: Denture care also helps with oral hygiene.
- Aesthetics: Your appearance can be impacted by stains or damage to your dentures.
- Financial Considerations: Replacing dentures can be costly. By taking proper care of them, you extend their lifespan, saving you money.
- Preventing Further Damage: Denture care helps to prevent damage from happening which shortens the lifespan of your dentures.
Your overall well-being significantly benefits from the important role that dentures play. They restore your confidence, enable you to eat and speak, and provide a dazzling smile. When you take good care of your dentures, you maintain your perfect smile and extend their lifespan.
This guide provides a detailed daily cleaning routine to keep your dentures in optimal condition. It highlights the necessity of regular dentist check-ups, guides you in selecting the appropriate denture cleaner, and alerts you on when to consider replacing your dentures.
Remember, dentures aren’t merely dental appliances; they serve as your passport to a fulfilling life. Adhering to the denture care principles this guide outlines ensures the seamless integration of dentures into your daily life, empowering you to savor your favorite dishes, articulate clearly, and smile with self-assurance.