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Denture Care: How to Clean and Care for Your Partial and Full Dentures

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flexible partial denture care
Take care of your dentures

Proper denture care is imperative when it comes to the success of your new dentures. You might think caring for your dentures is the same as caring for natural teeth, but then you'd also be wrong. Cleaning your new set of pearly whites is critical for good oral health, just like natural tooth care, but it's not as simple as toothpaste, or even soap and water. So let's take a look at how to make cleaning dentures a part of your daily dental cleaning routine.

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 atop 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-colored 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 are attachments on the tissue side of the denture which snap onto the implants, thus making them removable and convenient.
  • Overdentures: Similar to snap-in, these sit atop 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 atop 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.
Type Removable Comfort Easy to clean Durability
Complete full Yes High Yes Mid
Partial Yes Mid Yes Mid
Snap-in Yes High Yes High
Economy Yes Low Yes Mid
Implant No High No High
Flexible Yes High Yes Low

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.

What to avoid

Avoiding certain foods is important for proper denture care
Certain foods can put your dentures at risk of damage.

You probably already know not to chomp on jawbreakers candy 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 as well as sticky foods such as gummies and peanut butter because they have a tendency 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 in denture cleaning as it can warp the device.

Cleaning procedure

For removable dentures, the process for cleaning is a bit different than for implant dentures. For the best way to look after a removable denture set, see below:

  • 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 American Dental Association (ADA) 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 one dentist'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.

Cleaning products

efferdent denture cleaner
These dissolvable tablets are easy to use

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:

Denture cleaners

  • Efferdent Denture Cleanser Tablets: An effervescent tablet cleanser that is almost too easy to use. Simply drop it into a cup of water with your dentures and let the bubbles do their part in removing plaque and food debris. The very first cleanser to be recommended by the ADA, this also makes for a great flexible denture cleaner.
  • 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.

Toothpaste

polident denture cream
Denture creams should be non-abrasive

Other denture products

fixodent denture adhesive
This will keep your dentures in place
  • 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.

Conclusion

Proper denture care is the best way to may sure your denture set lasts for many years to come. When using non-abrasive cleaning agents and gentle techniques, your device will never need replacement or repair. Denture cleaning ensures the health of your gums and the integrity of your device. 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 of the set.

FAQ

What is the best way to look after my dentures?

The best way to care for your device is to make sure you are avoiding foods that can cause damage as well as wash your device every day. Also, 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?

Soaking the device in a solution of water and tablet cleaner is the best way to make sure that the device stays moist and disinfected.

Can I use toothpaste on my dentures?

Yes, but look for special denture toothpaste. It's best to clean your dentures with formulas made specifically to clean false teeth.

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Sources
Mayo Clinic: Denture care: How do I clean dentures? Accessed May 5, 2020. American Dental Association: Denture Care and Maintenance. Accessed May 5, 2020. NCBI: Flexible denture base material: A viable alternative to conventional acrylic denture base material. Accessed May 5, 2020    
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