If your dentist or prosthodontist has informed you that you need dentures, then you probably think that you know all about the false teeth. However, there are many things you probably do not know. In fact, you likely know very little about cleaning your dentures and this can lead you to make a variety of mistakes that can actually destroy your false teeth. To avoid damage, keep reading to learn about some of the more common denture cleaning mistakes.
Using Your Toothbrush to Clean
Many people treat their dentures like they would their regular teeth, and this means they use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste to clean them. However, this will cause damage. Regular toothbrushes are made from hard nylon bristles that are meant to force food and sticky plaque from the teeth. Since dental enamel is the hardest substance in the body and the teeth are able to withstand bite pressure that exceeds 5,000 pounds per square inch, nylon bristles are too soft to scrape the teeth. The same is true of toothpastes that contain aluminum oxides, silica, or calcium materials.
However, dentures are made out of resin, acrylic, and porcelain materials. Porcelain is by far the strongest and hardest of these three materials, but it is still not nearly as strong as the highly mineralized dental enamel. This means that nylon toothbrush bristles and toothpaste ingredients will likely wear away the base and tooth parts of the dentures over time.
Good Cleaning Practices
Dentures do need to be cleaned daily to remove food and plaque, so do not avoid cleaning them altogether to reduce damage concerns. Instead, use a denture brush or find a natural and soft toothbrush made with boar or neem tree bristles. Also, purchase either a denture cleaner paste or a non-abrasive toothpaste. A paste that is marketed as gentle or for sensitive teeth is a good option. Also, toothpastes that contain sea salt, seaweed, or baking soda are gentle enough for dentures.
If you do not want to use toothpaste at all, then dish soap can be used. In fact, dish soap is the most gentle option and likely to clean better than toothpaste will. Place your cleaner of choice on your brush and use light pressure to clean both the base and tooth part of the denture. Do this at least once a day.
Soaking Dentures in Mouthwash
It is wise to remove your dentures at night so they can be soaked in a cleaning solution. Not only will this help to kill the bacteria and fungi that have adhered to your false teeth, but it will also give your gums a break from the pressure and stress of the denture base. However, you need to soak your dentures in the right material. Some people think that mouthwash is a good soaking agent.
Unfortunately, mouthwash contains alcohol that can dry out the acrylic base of the dentures and lead to cracks. Also, mouthwash will generally only kill a small portion of the microorganisms that lie on the dentures. This means that a stronger cleaner is needed that will kill microorganisms but not damage the dentures.
The Best Cleaning Solutions
Both bleach and vinegar can be used to kill denture bacteria and fungi. Bleach should only be used if you do not have any metal attachments on the dentures because the cleaner can cause corrosion. Vinegar is safe for all kinds of dentures though, so consider mixing about one quarter cup of vinegar with one cup of water and soaking your dentures in the mixture overnight.
Also, make sure to keep your false teeth in a cup of water if you take them out during the day. Dentures that are allowed to dry out may shrink and feel tight in the mouth. Plaque can also harden and bacteria can thrive if the dentures are dry for too long.