When your natural teeth get damaged or had to be removed, it’s time to use dentures. And just like natural teeth, dentures need proper care to ensure they last long. This is also necessary to keep your gums and mouth healthy.
Here are the top 10 steps to take care of your dentures and help keep your radiant smile long after you lose all your permanent teeth.
1. See your dental prosthetist at least once a year
Both partial and complete dentures require regular check-ups. Have your dental prosthetist clean and specially polish them. The yearly visits to your dental prosthetist allows him or her to check your mouth and review the effectiveness, cleanliness and fit of your dentures.
The dental prosthetist often examines your oral tissues for changes as well as for sores that could become cancerous. This is also your opportunity to seek advice regarding oral hygiene and proper denture care.
2. Be aware of any change in how your dentures fit
You’ll want to check with your dental prosthetist if your dentures no longer feel right or are not fitting well. Dentures may often fail to fit properly over time due to gradual changes in our bones and gums. Periodontal disease can also affect your dentures. It’s important therefore to see your dental prosthetist not only for denture cleaning but to have him check and fix them as well.
Wearing poorly fit dentures may cause burning sensations, sores, pain and a few other avoidable problems. In case you get sores in your mouth from wearing dentures, take out the denture. Rinse your mouth with warm, salty water many times a day.
3. Clean them daily
Dentures need the same care as your teeth. Be sure to clean them twice a day and after meals. They build up stain just like natural teeth. Regular cleaning of your dentures will help prevent tartar development..
Use a specially designed soft-bristled toothbrush and a liquid solution that is not abrasive – liquid soap or dishwashing liquid will do. Do not brush too hard as doing so may leave grooves on the surface. Such grooves create space for stains and tartar to build up.
Apart from brushing, clean your dentures using a soaking solution over a folded towel of a bowl of clean water to protect them in case you drop them. The folded towel can catch droplets of the solution and your dentures in case you drop it.
Plaque can lead to problems such as irritation and infection in the tissues underneath your dentures. To remedy this, you may need a new set of new dentures.
4. Stick to recommended denture cleaning products
Do not use toothpaste to clean your dentures. There is now a variety of new denture cleaning products available in the market. You can get these from your local chemists or the grocery store. You can as well pick some recommendations from your dental prosthetist.
An effective denture cleaning solution normally contains active ingredients that break down plaque and remove debris. It’s also important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Let your denture cleaning be a whole mouth activity
You should always brush your gums to improve blood circulation. A good massage with a washcloth is equally effective, and always rinse your mouth well with water each time you take out your dentures.
Your gums should get proper care even if you have complete dentures. And if you only have partial dentures, don’t neglect your teeth. Take care of them by properly brushing and flossing them each day.
6. Handle dentures with care
Do not use toothpicks when wearing your dentures. This can damage them. Equally discouraged is the use of hard brushes or strong cleaners. As rule of thumb, never leave your dentures where pets or young children can reach them.
We saw a lady today where the dog mauled their denture next to their bed. Thus, it’s best to keep yours in a denture bath when not in use.
7. Keep them from bleaching products
Some people tend to rely on hot water, bleaching products or ammonia based cleaners for their denture cleaning. Don’t!
Bleaching weakens your dentures and may damage the appearance of new dentures. Hot water may distort your dentures and affect their fit. Like abrasives, ammonia based products also destroy the glossy surface, making your dentures vulnerable to stains and plaque build-up.
8. Take time for stained dentures
Everyday habits such as smoking, drinking a lot of red wine, tea or coffee may stain your dentures. Spend more time to remove such stubborn stains from your dentures. Your dental prosthetist should be glad to offer some valuable advice on this.
9. Discuss cleaning options with your dental prosthetist for metal dentures
For metal dentures, discuss your denture cleaning options with your dental prosthetist. Metal dentures require particular care when cleaning. Don’t just use any product to clean metal dentures, as this may cause undue damage. Avoid using Milton solution or bleach when cleaning metal dentures.
10. Give your dentures a break
Caring for your dentures means caring for your mouth as well. It’s recommended that you take your dentures off before you go to bed. That will give your mouth tissues time to recover from wearing them during the day. In case you are uncomfortable sleeping without your dentures on, be sure to remove them at least twice during the day.
For dentures with metal clasps, rinse them well with water and soak in warm water. Otherwise, use either a half-water, half-vinegar solution, or a special denture cleanser. Soaking will help remove plaque, stains, tartar and bacteria.
Follow these tips and your dentures will last up to seven years before needing a replacement.