Denture wearers know that their ability to smile and chew depends on maintaining good oral health, but often ask us which practices are best to follow. From TV commercials to product packages to articles online, the amount of tips can be overwhelming. These can be broken down into a few simple things to remember. Here are the top tips and when to call the dentist for help with your dental appliance.
Taking Care of the Gums Underneath
Just as with your original teeth, keeping dentures clean by brushing them and using cleaning products makes the dentures look and smell good, while working to keep bacteria from infecting the gums beneath. Gum disease can lead to more serious dental and overall health problems.
Here are a few basic steps to follow, but be sure to refer to the hygiene procedures recommended by your dentist for the specific type of denture or dental appliance you have.
- Keep Dentures Clean: For removable dentures, carefully remove and rinse both the dentures and your mouth after eating. Use warm, not hot, water to ensure the material doesn’t warp.
- Once a day, give them a brush. Most dentures should be brushed with a soft toothbrush and some denture cleanser, not toothpaste. Regular toothpaste is too abrasive and will damage the denture material. If there is denture adhesive used, wipe or soft brush it off and also make sure it is out of your mouth. Implant dentures affix to an implant in the jaw instead of sitting on top of the gums. The same rules apply. They need to be lightly brushed and removed at bedtime for a good soak.
- Soak dentures overnight in mild denture cleaning and storing solution. Rinse well before replacing in your mouth. Taking dentures out at night ensures they get a good cleaning, and also to gives your mouth and gums a rest from the strain of supporting them. If you end up wearing dentures overnight, be sure to take the time to properly clean and soak them the next day.
- Don’t try to whiten dentures: Whitening toothpastes will not affect the denture material and stronger bleaches will only weaken the denture material. Keeping up with the daily cleaning will keep the dentures as white as they can be. If you are concerned that your dentures have turned color, talk to your dentist about options.
- Schedule dental checkups and pro-cleanings. Ask your dentist how often you will need to come in for exams. The dentist will check the fit of your dentures and do a professional ultrasonic cleaning of your appliance. Loose dentures can cause sores, tears, and pain. If you find the denture is starting to slip or be unusually uncomfortable, it’s time to go in for an appointment. The dentist will also examine your mouth and gums to make sure they are healthy.