Cleaning Dentures

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Keeping your dentures clean and germ-free is vital, and helps to maintain them. Remove them at night in order to give your gums a chance to relax (although your dentist may recommend that you keep them in for the first few nights while they are acting as a bandage to prevent bleeding or weeping). Removing your dentures is also important because your saliva actually helps to keep your gums healthy. Research has shown that the hormone melatonin contained in saliva can has strong antioxidant properties that maintain the health of the gums and protect them against periodontal disease.

Caring for your Dentures each day

Once removed from your mouth, give the dentures a gentle brush with a soft toothbrush. Never use regular toothpaste; rather, your dentist should be able to recommend a product specifically designed for this. Think of it as like cleaning your teeth: you are aiming to remove any food particles or germs which may have become lodged in the denture, and which could result in sores or infections, and discomfort in general. You also need to brush off any tartar which can build up on the surface of the dentures.

When you are going to bed, place the dentures in a glass of cool water. Never use hot water as this can warp the dentures’ shape. A special cleaning tablet can be added (a popular brand is Steradent but your dentist will be able to make recommendations), which will help to clean them further. Some people prefer to leave dentures overnight in white vinegar but you must ask your dentist if you wish to use anything non-standard. If you choose to do this it is even more important that you rinse the dentures thoroughly the following morning! Use warm water and a soft toothbrush to rid them of residue from what you have left them in overnight. In the morning brush any remaining teeth that are your own to remove any dental plaque, and your gums and tongue to stimulate circulation before you put your dentures back in your mouth. For an extra fresh feel, you can ask your dentist to perform a ‘professional clean’ on your dentures. This may be necessary if plaque isn’t removed properly because it can react with the saliva produced in your mouth and form tartar. Just like you would be unable to remove all stains from your original teeth, you may end up with discoloured dentures if lots of tartar builds up. Your dentist can use a professional cleaning machine at their surgery. This will remove any stains, and make your dentures look brand new. Never attempt to recreate this at home using bleach - this will seriously damage your dentures and render them un-wearable.

If your dentures have metal clasps, consult your dentist as to how you should clean them. If you are wearing a partial denture make sure to pay extra attention to cleaning the teeth which fit under the metal clasps of the denture.

When to Clean your Dentures

Think of your dentures as your teeth. Aim to clean them twice a day: soak them in water for 15 minutes in the middle of the day, but if that’s not convenient make sure you clean them before you go to bed. If you eat something that gets particularly caught up in them, try to clean them as soon as possible. If your denture is made of metal, discuss cleaning options with your dentist before you do anything.

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Guide to Dentures