Hygiene and Cleaning of Your Dentures

Hygiene and Cleaning of Your Dentures

Good oral health is vital!

When gums, dental prostheses and remaining teeth are not properly cleaned, bacteria accumulate at the edge of the gums and can harden into tartar. Tartar contributes to bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. In addition, recent studies have linked gum disease to other more serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and pulmonary disease.

Dentures: a perfect environment for the accumulation of bacteria

Our immune system generally controls the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria on our mouth tissues. However, it is not the case for acrylic dentures since they do not have antimicrobial properties. Bacteria can reproduce and spread easily on them.

What you need to know:

  • Partially or entirely made of acrylic, dentures have a porous surface that is ideal for the proliferation of bacteria.
  • Several bacteria that can cause serious diseases have already been identified on the surface of acrylic dentures: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Escherichia coli.
  • 87% of people who wear dentures are complaining about odours from their prosthesis (night soaking helps to reduce the presence of these odour-causing bacteria).
  • People with mouth dryness (often caused by medication) should particularly worry about the cleanliness of their prosthesis. The saliva acts as a first line of defense against bacteria, which proliferate more quickly in a dry mouth. Dental hygienists may recommend an oral moisturizer allowing a better retention of the dentures as well.
  • The older the patient, the higher the level of bacteria in the mouth: this is due to the decrease in the production of saliva and the weakening of the immune system with age.

We now understand why a perfect oral hygiene is required when wearing dentures.

The basic rules of good oral hygiene with dentures

After each meal:

  • Remove, rinse and brush the dentures with a denture brush to prevent the build-up of tartar;
  • Use a non-abrasive toothpaste designed for prostheses (regular toothpastes are not suitable);
  • It is recommended to massage the gums, the palate and other soft tissues (with fingers, a gauze or a soft-bristled toothbrush);
  • If you have partial dentures, brush your natural teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush (2 to 3 times per day) and floss (once per day);
  • Rinse the prosthesis with clean water before putting it back on;
  • If it is impossible to do a thorough cleaning after a meal, rinse your natural teeth and dentures with water.

At night:

  • Remove and soak the dentures overnight in a cleaning solution (e.g.: Polident, Novadent) or a half water half-white vinegar solution (no bleach). Night soaking can remove 99% of microbes that are present on dentures.
  • If the prosthesis is equipped with metal hooks, just soak in warm water (cleaning products can dull the metal).

Caution: Handle your dentures over a folded towel or a sink filled with water because they are fragile and may break if dropped on a hard surface.

Once a year:

  • Plan an annual visit at the denturist for cleaning and polishing of the dentures. Polishing will make your dentures smoother and shinier and remove any stubborn stains. It only takes a few minutes.
  • During this visit, the denturist will also conduct an examination of the oral tissues to prevent and reduce inflammation and bone or tissue loss.
  • You should also visit the dentist who will examine your natural teeth and gums and carry out a screening to detect mouth diseases.

In the United States, it has been reported that 57% of people with a dental prosthesis rarely or never undergo a routine examination. This has the potential to cause serious problems which could be easily prevented through regular visits.

Important: If you have painful gums, chewing difficulty, bad breath or if you notice any changes in the way your dentures fit, don’t wait until the annual visit: make an appointment with your denturist now!

Why remove dentures overnight?

  • To oxygenate the mouth tissues and give them a rest;
  • Because the movements of the tongue, cheeks and saliva have a self-cleaning effect on teeth and soft tissues;
  • To avoid the damaging action of fluids and debris trapped under the dentures;
  • When dentures are worn around the clock, bone resorption is faster (because the bone undergoes continuous pressure);
  • People who keep their removable dentures at night can double their risk of pneumonia (this data comes from a Japanese study conducted over a 3-year period and involving 524 elders with dental prostheses);
  • Wearing the dentures while sleeping increases gum inflammation;
  • A prosthesis worn day and night would promote the development of oral candidiasis, a fungal infection that grows on the lining of the palate due to a lack of contact with salivary flow (manifested by erythema or edema in the oral cavity).

According to researchers, the presence of inflammation and microbes in the oral cavity is more important at night.

In what cases should I wear my prothesis day and night?

It is advisable to wear dentures at night if the fact of putting them back on causes nausea. On the other hand, if putting on your dentures and removing them does not produce a gag reflex, it is better to take them off at night.

If you cannot remove the dentures overnight, they should at least be removed for 2 hours at another time of the day.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends removing dentures overnight.

Why should we store dentures in water?

When the prosthesis is not in the mouth, always soak it in water or a cleaning solution to prevent the acrylic part from drying and becoming deformed.

In addition, you should never put it in hot water.

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