Denture care

When should I Clean my Dentures?

Clean your dentures where possible after every meal or at least twice a day. At the very least remove them and rinse off any food and debris with warm or cold water.

How should I Clean my Dentures?

To clean your denture, take a small or medium sized toothbrush which can access all parts of the denture and gently scrub this across. All parts of the denture should be cleaned- rests, clasps, the base- all of them

You can just use water or I often recommend a bit of soap, but whatever is used it shouldn’t have too much abrasive as this can damage the acrylic resin. Some denture pastes and certainly some toothpastes contain such abrasives.

These are the brushes you may require in your armoury:

  • Tooth brush
  • Interdental brush
  • Interspace brush

You should never clean your denture with it still in your mouth. It may sound obvious but lots of people do. You will miss the most important place on the denture, the underside- which could end up causing denture stomatitis.

More importantly it will prevent you from doing a proper job of cleaning your natural teeth and you will inevitably miss large areas of plaque sheltered by the denture which can lead rapidly to gum disease and dental decay.

When cleaning your denture, half fill the sink with water and do it over this- I can’t tell you how many repairs and broken dentures we see from people dropping them in the sink during cleaning and the water will prevent this from happening. Grip them firmly but don’t squeeze too hard, so as not to bend or risk breaking them.

You need to clean your natural teethreally well- this means brushing, flossing and using interdental brushes. Particular attention needs to be given to the areas which contact the denture and in between the missing teeth . The surfaces of the teeth that face the space and would normally be cleaned with floss or inter-dentall bushes are the most often missed and vulnerable to plaque collecting.

How Should I Store my Dentures?

When you are not wearing your dentures, be sure to store them in a safe and moist place. The classic image of dentures in a glass has the right idea, but it is far better to get a denture box- most dentists will be able to give you one if you ask.

Store the dentures in some water to prevent them from drying out and warping. We receive our dentures in little sealed bags (zip lock bags) with a small amount of water in them, this can be done then the denture placed in the box.

If you have a metal denture and somehow bend the framework, it is very unlikely that it can be bent back to its original position and you may have to start from scratch. So store them safely.

Sometimes the lab can adjust them to fit a new impression of your teeth, but don’t hold your breath.

Should I Take Them out at Night?

This is a question I always get asked… Aside from the first week, taking your dentures out at night is generally recommended. It gives your gums a chance to breath and helps prevent denture stomatitis.

It will also help reduce wear on them caused by clenching and grinding and this can prevent fractures from happening. Some patients can’t bear the thought of doing this and never take the denture out except for cleaning- we generally wouldn’t advise this.

What about Cleaning a Flexi-denture?

Store brands and cleaners may contain ingredients that damage the surface and colour of your flexi-denture and are not generally recommened.

Toothpaste and toothbrushes are not recommended as they can scratch and dull the surface of your new denture.

Your dentist will be able to advise you on what is best to use. Valplast, (the original brand of flexi-denture) recommend using Val-clean– it is a concentrated denture cleaner avoiding the need for brushing and is recommended for use with flexidentures and all manner of other dental appliances, (acrylic dentures, partial dentures, nightguards, mouthguards and retainers).

Whilst these dentures are flexible and not likely to break, if you were to drop them, you could quite easily fracture one or more teeth by doing so. Handle them carefully when they are not in your mouth.

Also it is common for a single tooth to be replaced by a small uni-lateral (meaning just on the one side) flexidenture. Because they are so small it is easily misplaced and I have ended up re-making them for a couple of patients who have simply forgot where they put them.

The moral of this story is have one place that you always keep them when they are not in your mouth, See- Storing your denture above.

What about Using Denture Cleaners?

Using advertised denture cleaners can be a useful addition to the cleaning process, but the bulk of the hard work is done simply by brushing. In the same way as brushing your teeth is the most important thing and mouthwash secondary but still has its place.

Follow the instructions on the packet. If the solution contains a mild hypochlorite solution, you can immerse your denture in it for up to twenty minutes. If you dilute some with water, make sure the water is cold because warm/hot water could bleach the colour of your denture. This solution is the most effective at killing plaque and cleaning your denture. If you have a chrome denture it’s particularly important you don’t leave this over night as it could corrode the metal.

Steradent is a effervescent tablet that dissolves in water to produce an alkaline peroxide solution. In my opinion it is not that effective. It should not be used with soft lining materials, instead a hypochlorite solution such as DeNtural and Denclen can be used. The reverse is true for metal dentures which can corrode with hypochlorite if left too long and an alkaline peroxide solution is preferred.

How Often Should I go to the Dentist?

It is even more important than normal that you see a dentist every 6 months. Partial denture wearers are more prone to getting problems because the appliance tends to collect plaque around it and require extra care and cleaning.

Add this, to the fact that teeth have had to be extracted and this puts you in a high caries risk category already- meaning regular visits to your dentist are particularly necessary.

If you wear a complete denture, visiting a dentist every year to have a check of your gums and to analyse the fit and wear of your dentures is a good idea. Since age is a risk factor for oral cancer, the older you get the more important screening for this becomes. Also, an ill fitting denture can cause your ridges (that support the denture) to shrink much faster than one that fits properly so it helps if you can rectify this sooner rather than later.

What about Cleaning Dentures with a Soft Lining?

If you have a soft lining, build up tends to occur more quickly, so cleaning requires extra care and attention. When cleaning, brushes and soap are once again recommended.

Hypochlorite solutions, alkaline perborates, and other denture cleaners are not advised- they can damage the soft lining, causing it to roughen and breakdown, making cleaning even more difficult.

Avoid the following:

  • Household bleach
  • Very hot or boiling water
  • Detergents
  • Methylated spirits
  • Other strong chemicals.