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Denture Care: Your Complete Guide

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An older woman smiling to show off her new dentures

If you have many missing teeth, dentures may be recommended for you. They can be a great substitute, but how do you effectively maintain dentures? Whether you have complete or partial dentures, regular care is required for your oral health. 

If you’re new to dentures, caring for your artificial teeth can seem difficult and a bit confusing at times. Denture cleaning requires more than standard brushing and flossing. Regardless of your experience, consider this your complete guide to proper denture care. 

Your Dentures & Proper Care

You may get dentures if you have missing teeth due to an accident, disease, or severe tooth decay. Based on your oral situation, your dentist may recommend one of the different types of dentures, partial or complete

No matter the type of dentures you have, proper maintenance and care can help your dentures last. Both partial and complete dentures can be taken care of using the same methods. 

Three steps to properly care for your dentures

Proper Denture Care

Dentures are artificial teeth, but they still need to be taken care of properly to ensure your oral health. Plaque, debris, and other bacteria can linger on your dentures and negatively impact your health. With daily care, consistent maintenance, and regular visits with your denture specialist, you can help your gums, mouth, and dentures stay clean and healthy

You can provide yourself with proper oral and dental hygiene by following three main methods of denture care: 

  • Denture removal
  • Daily cleaning 
  • Denture maintenance 

Dentures are made to look, feel, and act like ordinary teeth, but they need different care to function effectively and stay clean. This care goes beyond your regular brushing and flossing, and you should be removing and maintaining your dentures daily. 

Denture Removal

You need to remove your dentures for more than regular brushing. Removing them at night allows your gums and mouth to rest after being covered throughout the day and it promotes cleaning from your tongue and saliva. Unless instructed otherwise by your denture specialist, remove your dentures at night to soak and you can reinsert them in the morning. 

Your denture team can teach you how to remove your dentures, but follow these steps as a reminder: 

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm water or mouthwash
  2. Fill your sink with water to avoid damage if you drop your dentures 
  3. Remove your top dentures by placing your thumb against the front teeth while pressing upward and outward towards your nose
  4. Remove the lower denture by slowly pulling on it while using a rocking motion

Whether you’re performing daily cleaning or going to sleep, remove your dentures with care to avoid any potential damage. 

A person cleaning their dentures with a denture brush

Daily Cleaning 

Daily cleaning is essential for good oral hygiene. Your dentures may not be natural teeth, but they can hold plaque and bacteria. Irregular cleaning can leave your dentures looking less white as well. 

Daily cleaning is not only brushing your dentures but also soaking them with a dental cleanser. Proper rinsing after eating can help wash away debris from your dentures. For effective cleaning, consider the following tips

Rinse Your Dentures After Eating

Remove your dentures and run water over them to remove food debris. Fill your sink with water to prevent damage in case you drop your dentures. Handle them carefully to prevent bending or damage. 

Effectively Clean Your Mouth & Dentures

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean any natural teeth if present, and utilize gauze or a soft toothbrush for your cheeks, tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Clean your dentures by soaking and brushing them with a denture brush and cleanser. Conventional toothpaste, vinegar, bleach, or soap are not designed for denture cleaning. 

If you use dental adhesive, make sure to clean any leftover material from your dentures. Never clean your dentures while they are still inside your mouth, and rinse your dentures carefully before reinserting them. 

Denture Maintenance 

Consistent maintenance can help ensure the long-term integrity of your dentures. Properly taken care of dentures can last for several years. You can never guarantee perfect dentures, but the following tips can help you maintain them: 

Soak Your Dentures Overnight 

Soak your dentures whenever you’re not wearing them. Place them in cool water or a cleaning solution to keep them moist. Your denture specialist can give you the proper soaking and care instructions for your dentures, but do not soak them in warm water to avoid warping. 

Visit Your Specialist Regularly 

Regular visits with your denture specialist can ensure your appliances stays comfortable and continues to meet your needs. Your mouth can change with time, so your dentures may need to be readjusted or relined. Loose dentures can cause irritation, sores, or possible infection, so contact your denture team if you notice any issues. 

Dental care can feel overwhelming and there are a couple of things to avoid if you want your dentures to last. These may not be common knowledge unless your denture team informs you, so it’s important to know the major “no’s” of denture care. 

The 4 “No’s” of Denture Care

Your dentures are great alternatives to natural teeth, but they are not as naturally strong. Everyday aspects can damage or alter your dentures, and these should be avoided. To keep your dentures looking and feeling great, avoid the following: 

Regular Toothpaste 

Regular and whitening toothpaste may be too abrasive for dentures and can damage them. Use warm water or a denture paste to safely clean your dentures. 

Hot Water

Warm water can be helpful when brushing your dentures, but you should never rinse or soak them in hot water. This can potentially alter the shape of your dentures and cause them to warp. 

Abrasive Material or Hard-Bristled Toothbrushes

Abrasive toothpaste or hard-bristle toothbrushes can potentially permanently damage your dentures. Use a denture brush to effectively and safely clean your dentures. 

Fixing Your Dentures by Yourself 

If your dentures become damaged or altered, never attempt to fix the problem yourself. This can cause permanent damage. 

Consider these tips as your guide to properly cleaning your dentures. If you’re having difficulties or issues with your dentures, contact your denture specialist and they can work towards a solution with you. 

Ensure Your Oral Health

No matter the type of dentures you have, proper care can help them last for years. If you’re having issues with your dentures, need a regular appointment, or a consultation, book an appointment

Written by Wade Klimpke

Wade Klimpke is a past President and long-standing member of the College of Alberta Denturists. Wade leads a number of industry working groups which help advance and monitor old, current, and new industry developments. This has allowed him to gain a number of industry relationships with implant dentistry suppliers in Canada and the United States.
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