Knowing how to clean your dentures is imperative if you want them to look good and feel comfortable for as long as possible.
You might think caring for your dentures is the same as caring for natural teeth, when in fact there's a little more to it. Cleaning your new set of pearly whites is critical for good oral health, but it's not as simple as just using toothpaste.
Let's take a look at how to make cleaning dentures a part of your daily dental cleaning routine.
Table of contents
Types of dentures
There are several different types of dentures, and it is important to know which type you've got because the cleaning method can change depending.
- Traditional complete full dentures: Completely replace all of the teeth and sit on the gums. They are removable and use a denture adhesive to stay in place.
- Partial dentures: Used when the patient has one or more natural teeth in the upper and lower jaw. A gum-coloured base is secured with metal attachments to the jaw. They are removable and help the other teeth from shifting around.
- Implant-supported dentures: A dental implant is set to secure the denture to the jaw. It provides a solid foundation but is not removable.
- Snap-in dentures: These are similar to implant-supported dentures. They are attached to implants drilled into the jaw bone. What makes them unique is attachments on the denture's tissue side, which snap onto the implants, thus making them removable and convenient.
- Overdentures: Similar to snap-in dentures, these sit on the gum and attach to implants; they can be made to be removable.
- Economy dentures: These are generic devices that are not made to fit your mouth specifically. They sit on the gums and are attached with an adhesive; they are generally very uncomfortable.
- Flexible dentures: Unlike all the other dentures, these are made from a flexible material such as nylon. These are said to be more comfortable than normal dentures although they aren't as durable either. Flexible dentures, like traditional dentures, are removable.
Easy to clean
Caring for dentures
Denture care is just as important as regular dental care. It's good to know the proper care for your specific type of denture to avoid damaging the device with bad products or methods or practices. It's safe to say that there are certain things you need to avoid and more things to consider when you wear dentures.
Above all, you should follow the advice given by your dentist for care and maintenance, and also any instructions from the manufacturer of your particular dentures. Some, like flexible dentures, might have slightly different requirements so the following is just a rough guide.
What to avoid
You probably already know not to chomp on boiled sweets while wearing your denture set, but there are other foods such as popcorn, apples, carrot sticks, and corn on the cob—the hard nature of these foods will cause damage to the denture itself as well as wear down on the gums.
Foods with small, hard pieces such as seeds and nuts or popcorn kernels should be avoided because they can get stuck underneath implanted dentures or in between the teeth on a denture set.
Tough meat puts unnecessary stress on dentures and should be avoided. Sticky foods such as gummies and peanut butter should also be avoided because they tend to move dentures out of place, allowing food to get under them and irritate the gums.
When cleaning your dentures it is important to avoid cleaner with bleach, abrasive cleaning materials, and teeth whitening toothpaste as these can damage the integrity of the device. Avoid using hot water when cleaning your dentures as it can warp the acrylic.
How to clean dentures
The process for cleaning removable dentures is a little bit different than for implant dentures. See below for the best way to look after a removable denture set:
- Remove and rinse dentures after eating to remove food debris. Be sure to handle them carefully to avoid damage and warping.
- Always brush your mouth before putting dentures in place using a soft-bristled toothbrush on your natural teeth, tongue, cheeks, and palate.
- Make sure to brush your dentures daily if not more. Remove them from your mouth and gently brush your device with a non-abrasive cleanser and a soft toothbrush for dentures. Scrub the grooves to remove any remaining adhesive and food debris.
- Soak your set overnight. The NHS recommends keeping your device moist to keep its shape. Place them in a mild denture-soaking solution with water overnight and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Make sure to wash your dentures thoroughly with water before putting them back in your mouth as some of the chemicals can cause vomiting, pain, and burns.
In the video below you can see denture expert Paula Morrell's instructions for cleaning dentures:
For non-removable dentures, the rules are a bit different. Obviously, you cannot clean your dentures by soaking them in a cup overnight or remove them to brush the gums underneath. That's why it's important to get a good water flosser to remove debris in between the device and the gums. Find out more in our article about how to clean all-on-4 dental implants — which are a lot like implant-retained dentures.
There are a few different things that can help you clean your dentures. The best way to clean dentures is to first brush them with denture toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, then soak them overnight in the cleaning solution. Some recommended products include:
- Efferdent Denture Cleanser Tablets: This effervescent tablet cleanser is almost too easy to use. Simply drop a tablet into a cup of water with your dentures and let the bubbles do their part in removing plaque and food debris.
- Polident 3 Minute Triple Mint Antibacterial Denture Cleanser: This cleanser is very similar to the previous one. This brand boasts denture friendly non-abrasive cleaning agents, so you never have to worry about damaging your pearly whites.
- Dentu-Creme Denture Cleansing Toothpaste: Use this paste to brush your dentures daily and have a fresh minty taste left in your mouth!
- Polident Dentu-Creme Denture Cleaner Cream: It seems as if Polident is the top brand in dentures daily cleaning. This non-abrasive cream is useful for brushing off the daily dirt from complete dentures and cleaning flexible dentures a breeze!
Other denture products
- Fixodent Ultra Max Hold Dental Adhesive: Use this adhesive cream to keep your removable dentures set in place. Fixodent has become somewhat of a household name in the dentures care department due to its reliability.
- Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser: This water flosser is as good as they come. It is essential to have a water flosser when it comes to implant-supported denture care. This device will make sure you have clean dentures for as long as you use it.
Knowing how to care for your dentures is the best way to make sure your denture set lasts for many years to come. When using non-abrasive cleaning agents and gentle techniques, your device will never need to be repaired or replaced. Denture cleaning ensures the health of your gums and the integrity of your device.
Remember that using regular toothpaste that is too abrasive will damage the device and using cleaners that are too harsh can be dangerous to your health. Make sure you don't use cleaning agents with bleach or other whiteners as these are also harmful to health and erode the materials.
All of the products mentioned in this article are non-abrasive, gentle and suitable for cleaning your dentures. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions with any products that you choose to clean your dentures with. If you still have any concerns or questions about how to care for your dentures, make sure you speak to your dentist on your next visit.
What is the best way to look after my dentures?
The best way to care for your dentures is to make sure you wash your device every day gently, using non-abrasive cleaning products and avoid eating foods that can cause damage. Brushing with special denture toothpaste or soap and a soft-bristle toothbrush and soaking overnight in a specially formulated cleaner will help you care for them properly.
How do I take care of my dentures at night?
Brush them with denture toothpaste using a soft-bristled brush. Then soak the device in a solution of water and tablet cleaner overnight to make sure they stay moist and disinfected.
Can I use toothpaste on my dentures?
Yes, but look for special denture cleaning toothpaste. It is best to clean your dentures with products made specifically to clean false teeth that that won't cause any damage.
Oxford Health NHS: Looking-after-your-Dentures. Accessed April 28, 2021.
NHS: Denture Care and Maintenance. Accessed April 28, 2021.
NCBI: Flexible denture base material: A viable alternative to conventional acrylic denture base material. Accessed May 5, 2020