If you’re like most dentures wearers, your dentures are a vital part of life. They are literally your smile and everything that goes with your smile.
And even though they are made of durable materials, all dentures are susceptible to wear and damage.
So in order to preserve the fit and function of your dentures, there are four simple yet powerful habits that will maximise the life of your dentures.
Denture Prolonging Habit #1 – Denture Hygiene
Just like natural teeth, failure to regularly clean your dentures will result in staining, bad breath and even disease.
However, unlike natural teeth, because you can take your dentures out there are two distinct phases of denture hygiene, namely day-time care and over-night care.
Day Time Care
It’s recommended that you brush your dentures after every meal, so typically twice a day.
To clean your dentures, first rinse your them under tepid water to remove loose food particles. Avoid hot water as this will distort your dentures.
Next, using either a toothbrush specifically designed for dentures or a regular toothbrush with soft bristles , gently brush every surface of your denture with an acceptable denture cleaner. An acceptable denture cleaner can be a hand soap, mild dish-washing liquid or a commercial denture cleaning paste/creme. Never use powdered household cleaners, regular toothpaste or hard bristled brushes as these are all very abrasive and will scratch your dentures almost instantly. Furthermore, you should never use bleach or denture pastes containing bleach as not only will bleach whiten the pink portion of your dentures, it will also make the resin significantly more fragile.
At night, you should leave your dentures out of your mouth and immersed in a denture soak.
Denture soaks come in a variety of forms and are designed to disinfect the bacterial particles that remain on your denture even after brushing as well as prevent staining and odour.
However, most denture soak products contain high concentrations of bleach (chemical name is hypochlorite) which in addition to killing bacteria also significantly weakens your dentures. As a result, soaking your dentures in a bleach-containing soak will result in more frequent breakages, fractures and a much shorter life-span. Therefore, in order to preserve the durability of your dentures you should only use denture cleaning products that are bleach-free (i.e. they do NOT contain hypochlorite).
Denture Prolonging Habit #2 – Denture Protection
The most common causes of denture deterioration and breakage are…
- Bleach-induced weakening;
- Dropping on to hard surface while cleaning;
- Letting dentures dry out;
- Soaking dentures in hot water.
Looking at this list, there are four simple habits that will minimise the risk of damage and deterioration to your dentures.
- Always clean and soak your dentures with NON-hypoclorite containing products.
- Always ensure you fill the sink with tepid water BEFORE you start cleaning your dentures.
- Whenever you’re not wearing your dentures, make sure you keep them in water or a denture soaking solution.
- Never wash or soak dentures with hot water.
If by chance you do happen to break or damage your denture you should never try to repair it yourself! Instead, you should immediately seek out a clinical denture technician who can professionally repair your denture in the shortest time possible.
Denture Prolonging Habit #3 – Oral Hygiene
What you may or may not realise, we all have small amount of a fungus called candida living in our mouths. Normally, our saliva keeps these fungi at bay. However as soon as you insert a denture in to your mouth you provide a protected environment where these fungi can multiply in the relative absence of saliva. So if leave your dentures in your mouth overnight you’ll very quickly develop a fungal infection known as candidiasis. Know although candidiasis is a painless condition, it causes your gums to swell which in turn can lead to sore spots and ill-fitting dentures.
As such, in addition to the denture hygiene measures already described, after you remove your denture at night, use a clean soft toothbrush and gently massage your gums for about two minutes. Then, after you rinse out with water you should should rinse with a mouthwash that contains an anti-bacterial agent called chlorhexidine. The only commercial mouthrinse on the market that contains chlorhexifine in New Zealand is Savacol.
Denture Prolonging Habit #4 – Professional Examination
The final habit for prolonging the life of your denture is to attend regular denture check-ups. For understandable reasons, many people believe that it’s only necessary to see you dentist or clinical denture technician when you encounter a problem with your denture. This is not true!
In the same way as we outgrow clothes, the progressive shrinkage of your gums causes your mouth to outgrow your dentures. As a result your denture will inevitably need adjusting from time to time to ensure it maintains the most comfortable and accurate fit. As your oral and denture needs are unique to you, only your dentist or clinical denture technician can recommend how often you need a denture examination.
Of particular importance, if you’re a diabetic, if you smoke or if you’ve previously had oral cancer you should have a comprehensive dental examination at least every 12 months.
By following these simple steps not only will you enjoy the benefits of your dentures, you’ll also save a considerable amount money as well.