How to Care for Your Dentures

Five Parts:Handling Your Dentures ProperlyBrushing Your Dentures RegularlyPreventing and Removing StainsCaring for Your Mouth and GumsHandling Problems with Your Dentures

Dentures replace missing teeth in your mouth, fixing aesthetic problems and allowing you to speak and eat normally. On average, dentures will last five years, but they need proper cleaning and maintenance to reach that lifespan. There are a variety of ways to keep them looking and feeling great for as long as possible.

Part 1
Handling Your Dentures Properly

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    Handle dentures with care. Dentures can warp and break easily, so treat them gently and take care not to drop them: they can get damaged if dropped from even a few inches. Don’t ever bend or squeeze them.
    • Take care not to leave your dentures in the reach of children or pets. It won’t matter how carefully you’ve handled your dentures if your toddler or puppy manages to grab them.
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    Guard against potential damage. Whenever you will be handling your dentures – to clean them, for example – do so over a basin of water or a thick towel or cloth. This will protect your dentures if you accidentally drop them.
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    Remove dentures correctly. There is a proper technique for removing dentures, which many people overlook. Remove them by using both thumbs or index fingers to feel the borders of the dentures, then pulling gently on the acrylic areas (the parts that are colored pink). For upper dentures, pull gently downward; for lower dentures, pull gently upward. Do not bend or squeeze the dentures when removing them.
    • If your dentures are large (or if you have a small mouth), try stretching your cheeks and rotating the dentures, removing one side first and then the other.
    • Never pull or exert too much force on the metal parts of your dentures. Doing so will cause distortion or breakage.
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    Insert dentures properly. As with removing your dentures, there is a specific technique for inserting them correctly. Using the edge of the dentures, stretch one side of your cheek outward, allowing enough room on the other side to insert the denture. Insert the opposite end, then insert the side stretching the cheek. Check placement, then press toward the tissue surface from both sides simultaneously.
    • Always use both hands when inserting your dentures. This technique is a precautionary one: if you accidentally let go with one hand, your other hand will be available to catch the dentures.
    • Always press on the left and right side at the same time. Doing so prevents fractures, the denture being dislodged, and pain.
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    Remove dentures at night. Your gums need to recover from a day of chewing and grinding with artificial teeth. Remove your dentures when you go to bed, and leave them to soak in a container filled with lukewarm water.
    • Never use hot water, as it can warp the dentures. Avoid wrapping your dentures in tissue or other paper, as they may get thrown away by mistake.

Part 2
Brushing Your Dentures Regularly

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    Choose the right tools. Dentures need to be cleaned regularly, just like natural teeth. It’s important, however, to brush them without causing damage. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush (harder bristles will damage the dentures) or a soft cloth, and either buy pastes made specifically for dentures or use mild soap or dishwashing liquid.
    • Never use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes, regular toothpaste, strong detergents, household cleansers, acids, bleaches, or anything abrasive on your dentures.
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    Brush daily. Dentures accumulate bacteria, tartar, plaque, and stains, just like natural teeth do. Failing to brush regularly will cause irritation, burning, infection, and gum disease.
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    Rinse with water first. Before brushing or cleaning, rinse your dentures thoroughly with plain water. This step will wash away any remaining debris or food particles.
    • If you do not have the tools or time to brush your dentures thoroughly after eating, at least take the time to do this step. A quick rinse is much better than nothing at all.
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    Wet your brush or cloth. Dry brushing will damage your dentures, so get your toothbrush or soft cloth wet before you start.
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    Brush gently. Using smooth, even, gentle pressure, brush all of your denture’s surfaces with the mild soap or denture paste. Do not scrub.
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    Remove any remaining denture adhesives. When you clean your dentures, be sure to remove adhesives. Otherwise, they will accumulate in a thick layer on your denture and cause problems with shape and fit. If you leave adhesives on your dentures for a long time, they become very difficult to remove.
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    Rinse well. After cleaning, rinse the dentures thoroughly to remove any excess soap or paste.
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    Brush your tongue, gums, and natural teeth. Using a soft toothbrush and regular toothpaste, brush your mouth and gums, as well as any natural teeth you may have. It’s important to remove any debris and plaque from the inside of your mouth before you insert your clean dentures.
    • If you wear partial dentures, you should also floss. Don’t neglect your natural teeth just because you also have dentures.
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    Insert your clean dentures. Using the proper technique described above, insert your clean, fresh dentures.

Part 3
Preventing and Removing Stains

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    Try ultrasonic cleaners. Ultrasonic cleaners are available at drugstores and online. They are small bathtub-shaped devices filled with a special cleaning solution; using tiny vibrations, they dislodge debris, tartar, and stains from the microscopic pits on your dentures. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, place your dentures in the tub to clean them thoroughly.
    • Note that ultrasonic cleaning is not a replacement for daily brushing. It is, however, very effective and preventing stains when used in combination with daily brushing.
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    Use denture cleansing agents. There are a variety of products on the market that will clean your dentures chemically to disinfect and prevent stains. They come in powders, tablets, solutions, gels, and pastes, and they make a good addition to your regular brushing routine. Follow manufacturer’s instructions, and always rinse well – residual cleansing agents can cause burning and gum irritation.
    • Overnight soaks in products designed for the purpose will effectively sterilize your dentures.
    • If your dentures have metal clasps, they should not be placed to soak in any kind of cleansing solution, as the metal will tarnish.
    • Never use hot water with denture cleaning products, as hot water will warp your dentures and cause an improper fit.
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    Make a homemade stain remover. You can also mix equal parts of vinegar and water and leave your dentures to soak in the solution.
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    Do not use materials that can damage your dentures. If you notice stains and deposits on your dentures, you may feel tempted to use toothpicks, knives, stiff brushes, bleaching agents, abrasive scrubbers, and/or strong chemicals. Do not use these items. They can scratch, fracture, stain, or warp your dentures.

Part 4
Caring for Your Mouth and Gums

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    Give your gums a break. Removing your dentures at night in crucial because it allows your mouth and gums to recover from the strain of the dentures. You should also take your dentures out periodically during the day if your mouth or jaw bones feel strained or tired.
    • If you feel uncomfortable sleeping without your dentures, you can substitute rest time during the day. In any case, though, you really should allow your mouth six to eight hours of time per day without your dentures inserted.
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    Don’t neglect gum care. Clean your gums and natural teeth whenever you remove your dentures.
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    Try rinsing with warm water and saline. Rinse your mouth with water and saline, then massage your gums with your fingertips (or a washcloth or soft brush) to increase blood supply and keep your oral tissues healthy.
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    Eat a healthy diet. Proper nutrition reduces gum problems and keeps your oral tissues healthy, so eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Part 5
Handling Problems with Your Dentures

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    Never adjust dentures on your own. If you feel that your dentures aren’t fitting properly, or if you develop pain, sores, or irritation, you need to see a dentist.
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    Use dental wax for temporary relief. If you feel painful sharp edges on your dentures, you can purchase dental wax to cover sharp areas and protect your mouth, gums, and tongue. Simply run your finger along the edge of the denture, mark any areas of sharpness, and apply dental wax to those areas.
    • Reapply dental wax as often as necessary, but remember that this solution is a temporary one. Ultimately, you will need to see your dentist.
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    Buy adhesives to deal with looseness. If your dentures feel too loose, you can buy denture adhesives, which come with simple instructions. Dab three or four pea-sized amounts of adhesive to the tissue surface of the denture, then insert.
    • Adhesives are also a temporary solution. You’ll need to see your dentist for a more permanent fix.
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    See your dentist regularly. Whether you have full or partial dentures, you should see your dentist every six months. He or she will check for damage to the dentures and for changes in your mouth or gums; if there are any problems, they can be addressed during these appointments.
    • If your dentist notices any changes in your face, jaws, gums, or bones, he or she may need to reline / rebase your dentures. Relining / rebasing is a process in which you dentist adds material to your denture base to make a new denture base with the existing teeth. Additionally, if your dentist notices a lot of wear and tear, he or she may recommend new dentures.
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    Make additional appointments as needed. If you have any trouble with the fit or feel of your dentures, schedule additional appointments between your regular check-ups.

Tips

  • With proper care, dentures should last five to seven years.
  • Remember that you dentures need to stay moist. When you take them out, place them in water.
  • Try to chew your foods on both sides of your mouth; this will help your dentures wear evenly.

Article Info

Categories: Teeth and Mouth