Dentures 101: Proper Care and Maintenance
The Do’s and Don’ts of Denture Care
Dentures can last a maximum of 10-15 years—but not without proper care and maintenance. Without a good cleaning routine, your artificial teeth are at risk of developing stains and plaques. What’s worse is that you can get inflamed gums and bacterial or fungal infections. You can prevent these from happening with these helpful tips:
- Rinse Dentures After Every Meal
Running your dentures over water after every meal will help remove any debris or food particles that have accumulated while eating. This will also ensure a comfortable fit when you put them back on. Just be sure to handle them with care to avoid damaging the plastic or clasp.
- Use Proper Cleaning Tools
Similar to natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed at least twice a day—in the morning and before bedtime. This helps prevent bacteria and plaque buildup, as well as increases the lifespan of your artificial teeth. When brushing them, be sure to use a soft-bristled brush to prevent scratches.
- Soak Them Overnight
Dentures are made of acrylic, which can dry out and break over time. Soaking them overnight can prevent this from happening. Simply place your artificial teeth in cold/warm water, or use a soaking solution. If you prefer the latter, be sure to follow the instructions on how to properly use the product.
Give your dentures a thorough rinse before wearing them again in the morning. You can use mild soap and warm water, or a denture cleanser. Soaking solutions contain harsh chemicals that can cause vomiting and burns when swallowed.
- Schedule Routine Dental Checkups
Schedule regular visits to your doctor at least every 6 months, or when they ask you to come in. This will ensure that your dentures are in optimal condition. Your dentist can check if they’re properly fitted or if they need adjusting. They can also rule out other problems that can compromise your oral health. Additionally, you can take this time to get your natural teeth professionally cleaned.
If you’re feeling any form of discomfort or pain, you should also call your dentist. Other cases to consider include emitting noises when chewing, not fitting properly, bleeding gums, developing mouth sores, and having bad breath.
- Soaking Dentures in Hot Water
Avoid submerging your dentures in hot or boiling water. This can deform them and cause discomfort when you put them back on. Most likely, you’ll have to get fitted for new ones.
- Using Harsh Cleaning Products
Avoid using a stiff-bristled brush and toothpaste when cleaning your dentures. These products can be too harsh and may cause damage to your artificial teeth. Bleach-containing products should also be avoided, as they can weaken and alter their color. Additionally, dentures with metal components should not be soaked in products with chlorine as it can corrode and tarnish the material.
- Doing DIY Repairs
If your artificial teeth are uncomfortable or feel loose, do not attempt to do damage control at home. Even the slightest adjustment can alter the structure of your dentures. More importantly, this procedure requires the right tools and should only be performed by a highly-trained dental specialist.
- Eating Tough or Hard Foods
You can eat almost anything you want even after getting dentures. However, you should still be cautious when consuming sticky and tough foods as well as items that can easily get stuck between your teeth. Some examples include steak, pork chop, popcorn, nuts, seeds, chewing gum, and toffee candy.
- Wearing Dentures Overnight
Keeping your dentures on during bedtime can cause dental and oral problems like plaque formation, gum disease, and yeast infection. Get into the habit of removing and storing them properly as soon as you take a bath and change into your pajamas.
For people with missing or damaged teeth, dentures make it possible to eat and speak with comfort. It has also helped them regain their confidence in their smile. But to keep them in excellent condition, users must ensure they are properly maintained. This is possible by simply following dentist instructions, observing good oral hygiene, and scheduling follow-up checkups. With consistent effort, you can expect your dentures to last a long time, and you won’t have to face the costs of getting a new pair anytime soon.