Just like normal teeth, it is just as important to keep your dentures clean to eliminate food particles and bacteria. Failure to clean your dentures properly can result in poor oral health as well as general health problems.
What Happens When I Don’t Clean My Dentures?
Dentures should be removed and rinsed daily after eating to get rid of any food particles found on the surfaces of dentures or food lodged between the metallic parts of partial removable dentures. Accumulation of food particles on dentures promotes the growth of biofilm (bacteria) which can lead to the formation of plaque and calculus on dentures. Fungus such as candida Albicans has a high affinity for the acrylic base of dentures. These microorganisms together can cause bad breath and denture stomatitis. Denture stomatitis mild inflammation and redness of the oral mucous membrane occur beneath a denture that is usually painless. Treatment of denture stomatitis involves the use of topical antifungal medication, antimicrobial mouthwash and improving denture and oral hygiene.
How Do I Clean My Dentures?
As with your natural teeth, brushing your dentures daily is strongly advised. Use a soft toothbrush to remove food, plaque, and other deposits. If you use a denture adhesive such as Fixodent or Poligrip, be sure to pay close attention to the grooves that fit against your gums to remove any adhesive. Cracks in dentures allow for the accumulation of bacteria that are almost impossible to remove
Dentures should not be worn overnight. Sleeping in dentures reduces salivary flow, which allows for the accumulation of plaque as well as creates an environment suitable for the growth of Candida, which causes causing denture stomatitis and cracking of the mouth corners (angular cheilitis). Dentures should be removed and soaked overnight in a denture cleaning solution, which helps to disinfect the denture. Alternatives to denture cleaning solutions include handsoap, mild dishwashing liquid and bleach. It should be noted however that bleach, while it is an affordable option, it can discolour as well as affect the integrity of the denture.
Soaking your dentures overnight not only helps in the removal of microorganisms but also keeps them moist to retain their shape.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Mouth!
After the dentures are removed, as per usual, brush your teeth and continue your usual recommended oral hygiene routine. Be sure to remove any remaining denture adhesive from your mouth.
What Happens When I Don’t Take Out My Dentures?
Wearing dentures for 24 hours daily increases resorption and accelerates bone loss, resulting in inadequate support and adaption to denture bearing tissues causing dentures to easily fall out. Removing your denture is important to give the gums and other denture-bearing tissues a chance to rest, recover and receive beneficial exposure to the antibacterial agents naturally present in saliva.
If you wear dentures, be sure to schedule regular dental check-ups to have dentures examined and professionally cleaned. It is also important to note that dentures should be replaced every 5 to 8 years as dentures get worn out due to regular use, and your gums may change shape or shrink over the years.
Steven Moore is a General Dentist practicing in Jamaica. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 2015 and completed a Dental Residency (AEGD) with the NYU Lutheran Medical Centre in 2017. He enjoys playing video games and practicing judo.