Dentures, or removable artificial teeth, are a very useful device for people who are missing some or all of their natural teeth. While dentures may be the answer to many otherwise untreatable oral health problems, such as extensive cavities or missing teeth, denture-wearers still need to maintain good oral hygiene.
One might be tempted to think that wearing artificial teeth permits a person to be more lax with their brushing habits, however this is a misconception. Bacterial plaque accumulates on the surface of dentures just like it does on regular teeth and left unchecked, can cause oral health problems like bad breath, gum disease, and bone loss. Thus, dentures should be brushed gently at least once a day using a denture toothbrush (different from a regular toothbrush) and a cleaning agent. Cleaning agents that can be used include baking soda, mild soap, or a mild dishwashing liquid. Denture toothpaste, which does not contain any of the abrasive agents found in regular toothpaste, can also be used.
Soaking and rinsing
A very important part of caring for one’s dentures is soaking them daily in a glass of denture-soaking solution. These specialized solutions help destroy germs that cause odor, thereby ensuring that dentures retain their fresh smell, and they also preserve the whiteness of the dentures. Additionally, soaking is necessary since dentures lose shape if they become too dry. Dentures should be placed in a glass of soaking solution at bedtime and left to soak overnight. Dentures should never be soaked in hot water which can cause them to lose their shape, or in chlorine-containing solutions which can damage the metal attachments. Dentures that have been soaking in denture-soaking solution should always be rinsed with water before reinserting them in the mouth. Dentures should also be removed and rinsed with water after meals.
Dentures should always be handled carefully since most are made of ceramic and can break if dropped (the metal attachments can break off as well). Lining the sink with a washcloth or filling the sink with water is a good way to protect dentures from accidental drops while brushing them. When not in use, dentures can be stored in a glass of denture-soaking material, or in a store-bought denture container.
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