Most of us would prefer to keep all of our natural teeth for the duration of our natural lives, but unfortunately, a number of things could happen that make this impossible. Factors like heredity, illness, medication, and lifestyle choices (athletic pursuits, smoking, poor oral hygiene habits, etc.) could all contribute to instances of tooth loss that ultimately lead to partial or even full dentures.
This isn’t the end of the world. In fact, dentures can be a saving grace, helping patients regain the sparkling smiles that boost their confidence and allow them to enjoy normal functions like biting and chewing. Dentures will take some getting used to however, and cleaning and maintaining them is a little different than your normal oral care routine. If you want to keep your dentures in good shape for years to come, there are several cleaning and maintenance tips you’ll want to observe.
Clean Your Mouth before Putting in Dentures
As you probably know, our mouths are full of bacteria, which is why oral hygiene is so important. Your dentures are going to sit against your gums, probably for the majority of the day, so you want to make sure to remove as much harmful bacteria as possible before putting dentures in place.
This should help to prevent bacterial buildup between your dentures and oral surfaces, along with the irritation and oral health issues that can stem from such buildup. Brush your teeth and gums normally, floss around remaining teeth (if any), and finish with mouthwash to ensure a clean environment prior to inserting dentures.
Clean Your Dentures Daily with Approved Products
Dentures are not teeth, and this means you need to use appropriate products to clean and sanitize them. On the upside, you can remove them for cleaning, which means you’ll never miss a spot, as you can easily do when cleaning natural teeth.
So, which toothpaste should you use? The answer is none. Most toothpastes contain ingredients or properties (whitening agents, abrasives, etc.) that are great for natural teeth, but potentially harmful to dentures. You’ll want to avoid them altogether.
Instead, you can simply rinse your dentures after meals and clean them twice a day with a soft-bristled brush designed specifically for the purpose. When you take your dentures out for an extended period of time (say, when you’re sleeping), you can soak them in a specialized cleanser that will keep them looking clean without doing any harm.
Just keep in mind that soaking isn’t going to do the whole job, any more than rinsing is enough to clean food and bacteria off your natural teeth. Brushing is an essential component of your denture care routine as it removes harmful particulates that could lead to plaque and tartar buildup.
Remove Dentures at Night
Denture fixatives aren’t designed to last forever, which means your dentures are going to come loose eventually. You probably don’t want that to happen while you’re sleeping. In addition, you could clench or grind in your sleep, potentially damaging dentures. More importantly, however, you could damage your gums if you wear dentures day and night. It’s always best to remove them at night for your oral health and the safety of your dentures.
Handle Dentures with Care
Your dentist can teach you how to safely install, remove, and clean dentures, as well as how to use them for functional purposes like chewing. Careful use will ensure that your dentures remain strong and attractive and serve you well for many years.
Contact Your Dentist with Problems
If your dentures are slipping, rubbing, or coming dislodged when you chew, you could end up doing damage to your mouth and your false teeth. New dentures will take some getting used to, and they may require some adjustment over time as the geography of your jaw changes to account for missing teeth. However, they are designed to fit you and when utilized properly, they shouldn’t slip and slide, cause you pain, or pop out of place when chewing.
If you’re experiencing ongoing issues with the fit and function of your dentures, you need to contact your dentist for consultation immediately to address the issue before harm is done. It could be that you simply need some pointers on using dentures or you might need a new set commissioned. Either way, dental professionals can help you to determine the cause of the issue and how to correct it.