Acknowledging the fact that you need dentures is never particularly pleasant. Irrespective of your age and lifestyle, it would of course be preferable to hold onto your natural teeth for a lifetime. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the reality of things for the vast majority of people.
No matter how meticulously you care for your teeth, what happens further down the line may be completely out of your control. Even with the most advanced electronic toothbrush on the market and a dentist-recommended water flosser, there are dozens of reasons why you may end up needing dentures at some point.
The good news being that things have come a (very) long way over recent years. The uncomfortable, unsightly and generally unpleasant dentures of decades gone by have been confined to the history books. Today, quality dentures are not only comfortable to wear, but can be largely undetectable from the real thing. Whether you need a relatively modest denture to fill a gap or a complete set of false teeth, you might be surprised just how convincing today’s dentures can be.
Care and Maintenance
If you do find yourself dealing with dentures, it’s important to remember that the similarity to natural teeth doesn’t end with their appearance. Just as you need to effectively and consistently care for your teeth and gums, you need to do exactly the same for your dentures. Plaque, tartar and stains can all have a huge impact on dentures, just in the same way they can build up on your natural teeth.
As with teeth, it’s far better to prevent problems from manifesting in the first place than to attempt to correct them at a later stage. The good news being that with a little everyday care and attention, it’s pretty easy to keep dentures looking great indefinitely.
So for new and experienced wearers alike, here’s a brief rundown of some of the most important tips and guidelines for effectively cleaning and caring for dentures:
1. Rinse thoroughly after eating
First up, it’s important to get into the habit of giving your dentures a good rinse after eating. The idea being that you get rid of as much residual debris as possible, before giving you the opportunity to cause you any further problems. Simply giving your dentures a good rinse under running water after eating really can make all the difference.
2. Always handle your dentures carefully
When rinsing, cleaning or in any way handling your dentures, you need to do so with extreme care and attention. Certain components that go into the manufacture of modern dentures are surprisingly easy to bend, break or damage. Try not to be too aggressive with them, as doing so could compromise their quality, appearance and performance.
3. Clean your mouth thoroughly
When you have removed your dentures, you will need to give your mouth a gentle yet thorough clean using a soft toothbrush. This is particularly important if you have used any kind of denture adhesive, which has a habit of sticking around somewhat stubbornly. Any residual denture adhesive in your mouth must be removed for both hygiene and convenience purposes.
4. Brush your dentures twice daily
As mentioned above, the best approach to cleaning your dentures is to do so in the same way you would your natural teeth. You brush your normal teeth twice a day, so you should be getting into the same habit with your false teeth. Remove your dentures from your mouth, rinse them thoroughly and give them a good brush with a soft toothbrush. Use an approved toothpaste for dentures to get the job done and take your time.
5. Soak your dentures overnight
There are two important reasons why you must soak your dentures overnight. First of all, most types of dentures need to be kept moist at all times, in order to keep their shape. If they are allowed to dry out, they may warp or shrink to such an extent that they become uncomfortable or unusable. In addition, soaking overnight using an approved cleaning product can make it so much easier to keep your dentures clean and hygienic. Always use an approved product as recommended by your dentist.
6. Rinse thoroughly before replacing
Always ensure that whatever cleaning product you have used, you have removed as much of it as possible before placing your dentures back in your mouth. While most cleaning products are designed to be safe, there are some that contain the kinds of harmful chemicals and toxins that could irritate your gums or make you sick. Once again therefore, it’s a good idea to follow the recommendations of your dentist or pharmacist, sticking with safer and gentler cleaning products where possible.
7. Arrange regular checkups
From time to time, it may be necessary to adjust or even replace your dentures entirely. The shape of your mouth will continue to change as part of the natural ageing process, which could result in your dentures fitting in correctly and becoming uncomfortable. This is just one of many reasons why you need to schedule regular checkups with your dentist, in order to note and correct any problems before they become more serious.
8. Avoid anything abrasive
Be sure to stick exclusively with soft toothbrushes, gentle cleansing products and toothpastes designed specifically for dentures. Anything that is unnecessarily abrasive is only likely to do more harm than good. If in doubt, speak to your dentist.
9. Don’t attempt to whiten your dentures
The vast majority of whitening kits and toothpastes on the market right now have absolutely no effect whatsoever on dentures. They are not designed to work with the materials dentures are made of, though could easily have a detrimental effect on their physical properties. Under no circumstances should you attempt to whiten your dentures, without first speaking to your dentist.
10. Don’t use hot or boiling water
Last but not least, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that hot or boiling water will to a superior job cleaning your dentures. If the temperature of the water is too hot, it will simply result in your dentures becoming warped and misshapen. Whichever cleaning products you use, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter.