Caring for Dentures | Must Have Tips

Caring for dentures is extremely important because it ensures that your dentures look neat and clean, helps to prevent unpleasant mouth odor and also prevents the accumulation of food debris that can compromise the overall health and hygiene of your mouth. Here is a brief but detailed rundown of tips that will come in handy in helping you with caring for dentures.

Always remove your dentures immediately after eating and rinse them thoroughly.

Food debris easily accumulates on dentures. Therefore, to prevent accumulation to the point of bacterial infection, it is necessary to thoroughly rinse dentures after every meal. Run flowing water over your dentures to remove any loose food debris particles that have accumulated.

Handle your dentures with utmost care.

Dentures are vulnerable to breakage and bending, so to ensure durability of your dentures, it is necessary to handle them with extreme care.

Every time you remove your dentures, ensure you clean your mouth before putting them back on.

Caring for dentures and putting them back into a dirty mouth defies logic. This is because your mouth will re-contaminate the dentures. So to keep your dentures clean, use a soft bristled toothbrush to brush your natural teeth your cheeks, tongue and the palate (the roof of your mouth).

Thoroughly brush your dentures at least twice daily.

Clean your dentures two times a day by gently soaking them in a non-abrasive denture cleanser for around five minutes. After soaking, the dirt will be easy to brush off. Gently brush the surface of your dentures to remove any accumulated food particles. If you use denture adhesive then it is necessary to gently but thoroughly clean the grooves that fix against the gum. This will ensure that any remnant adhesive is completely removed. Always adhere strictly to manufacturer’s instruction on cleaning dentures and on which cleaning solutions to use.

Ensure you soak your dentures overnight.

Most denture types need to be soaked in water so that they can remain moist in order to retain maintain their shape. To be absolutely sure, check with your dentist and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to storing dentures.

Before putting the dentures back into your mouth, ensure they are thoroughly rinsed in clean water especially if you soak them in denture-soaking solution

Denture soaking solutions contain chemicals that are unfit for human consumption. These chemicals can cause burns and pain if swallowed. Thorough rinsing removes every trace of denture-soaking solution.

Schedule regular visits to your dentist to get professional advice on caring for dentures.

Your dentist will not only advise you on how to clean your dentures, but will also ensure your dentures fit perfectly to avoid discomfort and slippage. This is a common complaint among people who wear dentures. Additionally, your dentist will also check your mouth to ensure that it is healthy and free from bacteria accumulation.

Visit your doctor immediately you notice that your dentures are loose.

Loose dentures are not only uncomfortable but can also cause infection, irritation and even lead to painful sores. Your dentist will either recommend new dentures or identify the problem and resolve it.

Here are a few things you should avoid to take care of your dentures:

Desist from using abrasive cleaning materials.

Dentures need to be cleaned using gentle materials to avoid permanently damaging them. Therefore, avoid using stiff-bristled brushes, cleaners that are too strong and harsh tooth paste. Seek advice from your dentist to know which cleaning materials are safe to use for cleaning your dentures.

Avoid using whitening toothpaste.

Toothpastes that have whitening agents are very abrasive and should not be used to clean dentures.

Products containing bleach are an absolute NO.

To avoid damaging your dentures, it is advisable to desist from using cleaning products that contain bleach. Apart from weakening dentures, bleach can also change the color of dentures. If your dentures have metal attachments then they should not be soaked in solutions that contain chlorine; chlorine tarnishes and corrodes the metal in the dentures. Also, avoid using hot water to clean your dentures because it can alter the shape of your dentures.

Common questions about caring for dentures:

Can dentures be repaired or adjusted?

Avoid repairing or adjusting dentures by yourself and instead schedule an appointment with your dentist in case any adjustment or repair is necessary. Attempting to bend or repair any part of the clasp or metal attachments by yourself can weaken the metal structure and alter the shape of your dentures. Although there are many over-the-counter DIY denture repair kits, avoid using them because they may contain harmful chemicals that can damage your dentures.

How regularly am I required to replace dentures?

Part of caring for dentures is getting them relined, rebased or remade, either because of normal wear and tear or to adapt to the aging-related changes to the jaw bones, gums and facial structure that can cause the dentures to loosen. Relining or rebasing the dentures will require a dentist to refit the denture base or make a new one. Dentures are generally used five to seven years before replacement.

How regularly should I see a dentist if I have dentures?

Talk to your dentist about how regularly you should schedule your visits. Generally, you should visit your dentist at least every six months unless there is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention.

Can I wear my dentures at night?

You should avoid wearing your dentures at night unless advised otherwise by your dentist. Night time should be reserved for cleaning and soaking and caring for dentures in preparation for the next day. According to experts, removing your dentures for at least eight hours daily allows your gums to rest. Additionally, the eight hours also allow the normal stimulation and cleansing of your mouth using the tongue and saliva. The bottom-line is removing your dentures for at least eight hours daily promotes the long-term health of your mouth and gums.

Is there an alternative to wearing dentures?

A great alternative to dentures is permanent dental implants; they are artificial tooth roots surgically anchored on a person’s jaw to hold replacement teeth or bridges in place. Implants and bridges resemble real teeth and are more expensive as compared to dentures. If you are extremely uncomfortable with dentures or you cannot handle the daily care, then talk to your dentist about a treatment option that is most suitable for you.

What procedures should I follow to clean my dentures?

There are different types of dentures and every type should be cleaned differently. Most people have no idea what procedures are suitable to clean the kind of denture they wear. Here is a brief but detailed guideline of procedures that will give you an idea of how to clean different types of dentures.

1) How to Clean Acrylic (Plastic) Dentures:

-Remove any accumulated food debris by rinsing and brushing your dentures with a soft bristled brush. You can either use liquid soap or any other cleaning solution recommended by your dentist or the manufacturer.

-Soak your plastic dentures for at least 20 minutes every day in a solution of alkaline hypochlorite. Dilute the soaking solution according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. After the 30 minute soak in soaking solution, leave the deture soaked in clean plain water overnight.

2) How to clean metal-based dentures:

-Start by removing any accumulated food debris by rinsing the denture in a solution of liquid soap or washing detergent. Gently brush the dentures using a soft-bristled brush.

-Soak the metal-based dentures in an alkaline hypochlorite solution such as Milton or Dentural for exactly 10 minutes. Alternatively you can soak the metal-based dentures in an effervescent peroxide such as super efferdent for exactly 15 minutes.

-Remove from the soaking solution and rinse thoroughly using fresh water and leave the dentures in clean but cold water overnight.

3) How to clean dentures that have a permanent soft lining:

-There are some dentures that are fitted with a permanent soft lining. This soft lining acts as a comfortable cushion between the denture and your gums.

-Start by removing accumulated food debris from the dentures by gently brushing the dentures using a soft-bristled brush and a liquid soap solution or washing detergent as recommended by the manufacturer or your dentist.

-Soak your dentures in a hypochlorite solution such as Milton or Dentural for exactly 20 minutes. If your denture has a metal strengtheners then soak it for only 1o minutes to avoid corroding the metal. Avoid using an effervescent cleaner on this kind of denture because it will harden the soft lining.

-Remove it from the soaking-solution and rinse it thoroughly using clean water. Soak the dentures in cold water overnight.

4) Caring for dentures that have a temporary soft lining:

-There are special cases when dentists place a temporary lining in your denture to keep you comfortable. In order for the soft lining to function effectively, it must remain flexible and soft. To keep this temporary lining soft and flexible you must avoid using effervescent peroxide cleansers. Here is how you should clean these dentures-

-Start by removing any accumulated debris by soaking the denture in liquid soap or washing detergent then gently cleaning using a soft-bristled brush.

– Soak the dentures in a solution of alkaline hypochlorite such as Milton or Dentural for only 10 minutes daily. Remove the dentures from the soaking-solution and rinse thoroughly using clean cold water. Leave the dentures in cold water over night.

Maintaining your normal diet after you have traded your original teeth for dentures can be very challenging. However, caring for dentures does not mean you have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. It only means you need more patience and creativity in order to find new ways of enjoying foods that are difficult to chew while wearing dentures. Here are a few tips that will help you decide what you can eat, skip and what can be tweaked for problem-free munching:

Consider cutting down on caffeine and switching to decaf.

-If you have to have coffee then ensure you also drink a large amount of non-diuretic fluids to help in the flow of saliva. This is because denture wearers need to keep their mouths moist with plenty of lubricating saliva. Otherwise, the friction caused by the dentures will irritate the gums and make you uncomfortable.

-Also avoid try and avoid popcorn because a piece of popcorn remnant lodged in dentures can be extremely hard to remove. Hard bits of food stuck in your dentures are not only difficult to get rid off but are also extremely painful. If you are craving for a snack then go for veggie chips that don’t get sticky when chewed. These are easier to chew and are equally as delicious as popcorn. If you are indulging in salty snacks then drink a lot of water to increase the production of saliva.

-Eating steak while wearing dentures is quite tricky; this is because biting tough foods creates additional pressure which can create sore and painful spots under the dentures. If you love your steak and cannot do without it then cut it into tiny pieces and chew slowly. Alternatively, instead of steak go for softer meats such as chicken, seafoods and ground meat.

-Although raw fruits and vegetables are essential for a balanced diet, they can be very hard to chew if you have dentures on, particularly hard fruits such as carrots, apples and corn-on-the-cob. Biting into these hard foods puts a lot of pressure on the front teeth and  can dislodge dentures. Go for a whole fruit smoothie instead. A whole fruit smoothie is a puree of the entire fruit including the skin to ensure you still get all the essential nutrients. It may not be easy to give up eating raw vegetables but with a little research, you will be able to get many creative and delicious fruit smoothies that will be a great alternative to raw fruits.

Caring for dentures can be challenging especially if it is your first time. With these tips and regular advice from your dentist, you will be able to take care of dentures so that they can be comfortable to wear and durable too.

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