Keeping your false teeth clean and looking their best is different to taking care of natural teeth. While both require brushing and special maintenance, dentures need different care than natural teeth.
This complete guide will explain the steps to take and options available that can keep your false teeth looking as good as new.
Steps To Clean Your Dentures
1. Safety Measures
Dentures can break or chip when dropped. One way to prevent this from happening is to cover all hard surfaces where you will be removing and cleaning your false teeth.
Towels provide the right amount of cushioning that if an upper, lower or partial denture slips out of your hands, they will land on a soft surface. Plus, when you are handling false teeth, be careful not to damage or break the clips or other attachments that may be part of the denture.
After carefully removing the false teeth from your mouth, the first thing you should do is rinse them thoroughly. It is best to just use warm water as the rinsing action works to remove loose food particles.
Be sure to rinse all surfaces and pay particular attention to around clips and attachments.
3. Brushing Your Dentures
Just like natural teeth, dentures can form plaque and bacteria. Because they can contribute to foul smelling breath and discoloration, you must clean false teeth daily.
When brushing, avoid using the same old toothbrush you used to use for natural teeth. Chances are the bristles are too hard and that can scratch dentures.
Use either a moist soft-bristled brush or an actual denture toothbrush. The design of a denture brush is different to a regular toothbrush. It may look more like a tool than a brush and that is a good thing. Denture brushes are meant to clean all parts of a denture.
For more information on denture brush options, click here.
Do not use regular toothpaste when brushing false teeth. It is too abrasive and may scratch or otherwise damage the denture.
There are denture cleaners and gels specially formulated for use on false teeth. For more information on denture toothpaste and cleanser options, click here.
There are products that you have at home that can do a good job at cleaning your false teeth, which you can use if you run out of the proper cleansers and pastes.
You can use a mild dishwashing or hand soap to brush onto dentures for cleaning.
Other home products that should not be used, even if you have heard they may work ok, include bleach, baking soda, and vinegar. These items can scratch or damage false teeth if used in high concentrations. If they are diluted some are effective as whitening products (see below).
Ultrasonic Denture Cleaners
The most effective way to clean false teeth is to add an ultrasonic cleaner for dentures into your cleaning routine. This is a small appliance that holds your false teeth in water or a cleaning solution. Using ultrasonic sound, tiny and microscopic particles are ‘vibrated’ away from denture surfaces.
An ultrasonic denture cleaner was once only available for use in dental offices, which made seeing your dentist for a professional cleaning your best option. Now that ultrasonic cleaners are in the consumer marketplace, you can easily get a professional cleaning without leaving home.
They are very easy to use and are very reasonably priced.
For more information on the best ultrasonic denture cleaner options, click here.
4. Soaking Your Dentures
Did you know that you are not supposed to let dentures completely dry out? They become brittle and break easily. Plus, if they dry out they can change their shape. This will result in a fitting problem and when false teeth don’t fit properly it can lead to other issues. They include difficulty eating or talking, rubbing on gums and creating sores and infections.
Soaking dentures overnight is easy. Use warm water and a soaking solution. Let them sit in a denture soaking container. You can find many different kinds of solutions ranging from effervescent denture cleanser tablets to liquids that you mix together and leave dentures in an overnight bath. There are some exceptions to the soaking rule.
If your false teeth contain metal clips or attachments, the overnight denture cleaner must not contain chlorine or bleach. Either of these liquids can form corrosion on the metal parts as well as damage the dentures themselves. You should never wear your false teeth overnight.
For information on denture cases to soak your dentures overnight, as well as keep them safe (eg. while traveling), click here.
5. Rinsing Again
This step is essential following an overnight soak. The idea behind rinsing your false teeth before placing them in your mouth is to remove any residue left behind by the soaking solution. This is particularly important if you soak your dentures overnight in something other than just water.
The rinsing action removes the cleanser as well as any bits of food or bacteria that have been loosened by the soaking. It is also important to keep in mind that because denture cleansers contain chemical compounds, you must not use one of these cleansers as a gargle. Swallowing or chewing these products is not recommended.
6. Regular Maintenance
This is where your dentist fits into the picture. Regardless of how careful you are in caring for your false teeth, you still need to visit your dentist. In addition to professional cleanings, your dentist will inspect the fit and condition of your dentures.
Your dentist will conduct a normal oral examination of your mouth to determine if the false teeth are creating problems inside your mouth resulting from a change in how they fit. The condition of your gums will tell your dentist a lot about how the dentures are being worn.
If you require a refitting, your dentist will discuss this with you. It is not uncommon for false teeth to become loose fitting over time. To help keep dentures in place, have a look at this post which discusses denture glues and adhesives.
Even if you have no more natural teeth you should continue to follow good oral hygiene practices. This would include gently brushing your tongue and your gums. Gargling on a regular basis will also work to reduce bacteria growth in your mouth. If you use adhesives to keep your false teeth in place, brushing and gargling will remove residue still attached to your gums.
For more information on keeping your dentures fitting snugly, allowing you to talk and chew with confidence, click here.
Denture Whitening Options
When looking at what is the best way to clean dentures, you will likely come across information or products used to whiten false teeth.
One of the best ways to keep your dentures white and bright is to simply conduct a thorough and regular cleaning routine.
By keeping your dentures clean, and by using non-abrasive products, this means that less microscopic particles can stay attached. Using the denture brushes, pastes, soaking solutions and ultrasonic cleaners mentioned above together in your routine is a very good start.
However, some denture cleaners are specially formulated to remove stubborn stains. Click here to read our article on the best ways of whitening false teeth.
Failing that, dentists are able to provide teeth whitening services. This is obviously the most expensive option but is also the quickest to get you the results you may be after.
There are also several home products that are effective in whitening but are to be used at your own risk. All of these home remedies must be mixed with water to dilute them. Dilution will reduce the risk of damage to your false teeth.
Salt is a common whitening product as it is a bleaching agent. You can soak your false teeth in a solution of water mixed with one tablespoon of salt. The same mixture can be used with white vinegar instead of salt. Either will have some effect on the color of the dentures.
Baking soda can be used as a whitening product but mixed with water to achieve best results. Flossing regularly will not only keep the dentures looking white but will also clean between teeth and in cracks and places where tiny food particles can get lodged.
Another home remedy used to whiten dentures is rubbing hydrogen peroxide onto them. Be sure to wear gloves when doing this if you choose not to brush the chemical onto your false teeth.
Not all of these whitening options will be as effective as a professional whitening session with your dentist.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dentures?
Depending on your lifestyle, you could follow the denture cleaning steps outlined above after each meal. The standard for many false teeth wearers is to complete a cleaning cycle (washing, brushing and soaking) each night before bedtime.
Ultrasonic cleanings can be weekly or daily with regular dentist visits as frequent as monthly to start for new denture wearers.
Once you become accustomed to your false teeth and incorporate regular home cleanings, your dental visits should be reduced. Unless there is a problem developing that you notice, seeing your dentist once or twice a year is normal for many people.
For a quick review of what’s the best way to clean dentures, have a look at this short video:
Just like natural teeth, with a little TLC, your dentures should last a very long time. Having clean, white and properly fitting dentures will give you the confidence to be able to talk and chew properly, so taking the time to look after your false teeth is well worth the effort.
As you can see, following a denture cleaning routine is not difficult, but can take a little time each day and time to get used to. Make sure that you use the right products so that you don’t damage your false teeth, and enjoy the confidence of having clean white dentures.