It is important to treat your dentures like you would treat your natural teeth. You should keep them as clean as possible so that you don't lose any more teeth, or have inflamed gums or bacterial and fungal infections. We usually recommend that you clean them thoroughly last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, and after eating if you need to.
The general rule is: brush, soak and brush again. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking them, to help remove any bits of food. Using an effervescent (fizzy) denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your dentures feeling fresher. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth. Be careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.
Most dentists advise using toothpaste and a small- to medium-headed toothbrush. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which fits against your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative.
It is important not to use any type of bleaching product to clean your dentures. Bleaching can lead to weakening of the dentures as well as making them look unsightly. Do not use very hot water to soak your dentures. Again, it can weaken the dentures causing them to break.
Some people have sensitive gums and may need a softer lining made for their dentures. If you have one of these special linings, it is important to check with your dental team before using any cleaning products or fixatives, as some products can damage the lining.
Some cleaning products can damage metal dentures, so talk to your dental team about how to clean them. If your denture has clasps, you need to take particular care when cleaning to avoid damage.
Dentists often recommend removing your dentures at night to give your mouth a chance to rest. If you remove your dentures, it is important to leave them in water to prevent any warping or cracking.
Some people get a build-up of tartar on their dentures just as they would on their natural teeth. If plaque is not removed properly, it can react with your saliva and harden into tartar. As with your own teeth, you will not be able to remove this tartar completely by yourself, and eventually it can make the denture uncomfortable and unsightly. Your dental team will be able to remove this tartar using a professional cleaning machine.
Like natural teeth, dentures can pick up staining every day. This is especially true if you smoke, or drink a lot of tea, coffee or red wine. In most cases you should be able to remove this staining with regular cleaning. However, more stubborn stains may take a little more cleaning, which your dental team should be able to help with.
Smokeless tobacco is linked to a variety of oral health conditions. Because it is held in one area of the mouth for a long time, the risk is very high.
Like people who smoke, if you use smokeless tobacco you are more likely to have gum disease. Using tobacco causes more bacteria to grow in your mouth and can also cause your gums to become swollen. Smokeless tobacco also causes your gums to shrink (‘recede'), uncovering the roots of your teeth.
Smokeless tobacco users may also be more likely to have tooth decay. This is because the sugars, acids and other ingredients in some chewing tobacco products harm the tooth enamel, and cause holes (‘cavities'). Tooth staining and bad breath are other common problems linked to smokeless tobacco.
It is important to visit your dental team regularly even if you don't have any of your natural teeth. Dentists do not check just your teeth, but also the soft parts of the mouth, including the tongue and cheeks. These examinations are just as important, so the dental team can spot any infections, mouth conditions or even mouth cancer at the earliest stages. Your dental team will be able to tell you how often you should visit.