It’s got to be a thorough cleaning, nothing less will do.
I don’t want to scare my patients, but when I perform routine denture recall exams, it’s easy to tell between patients who perform a quick brushing of their dentures and an occasional 5 minute soak and those that have a stringent cleaning routine that includes an overnight soak in an antiseptic solution. That later have much better oral hygiene.
What’s the big deal?
In many cases poor oral hygiene has been a contributing factor not just in tooth loss and gum disease but in other more serious diseases. Good oral hygiene not only prevents unnecessary exposure to bacteria and microbes but can extend the life of your dentures.
The problem is getting my patients to develop rigorous denture cleaning practises. I thought if we reviewed some basic facts about dentures, it will illustrate how good oral hygiene practices can make a difference.
Acrylic dentures have pores
Hard to see with the naked eye but under a microscope the pores are easy to see and look like little pockmarks. Getting those denture pores thoroughly clean can be problematic. Even the most rigorous brushing may not reach the bacteria hiding the microscopic crevices.
Everyone’s mouth is filled with germs. But unlike our mouths, dentures aren’t equipped with germ fighting properties making them the perfect place to launch a bacteria playground. Research has found nasty bacteria found on dentures from Streptococcus mutans to E-coli and other garden-variety germs.
Nothing beats a good soaking
In fact, it’s estimated that an overnight soaking can kill 99.9 percent of denture germs. Some denture wearers even use the quick-soak method, 3-5 minutes just before a social event. It doesn’t achieve the same success of bacteria removal but does freshen up the dentures.
But not all denture cleaning options are equal, and purchasing the least expensive over-the-counter cleaning solution doesn't necessarily give the same results. Your denturist will be able to make a recommendation for you.
Reduced salivary flow + Unclean dentures can pose a potential health risk
Dry mouth starts to occur in an aging population and often increases with the number of medications a person takes. Under normal conditions, saliva provides a variety of protective functions and may be considered the mouth’s first line of defense against harmful bacteria.
Denture wearers with dry mouth and reduced salivary flow should pay special attention to the cleanliness of their dentures. Increasing the amount of liquids particularly water will do a lot towards reducing dry mouth.
High Bacteria Count
Seniors tend to have a higher oral bacteria count, whether or not they are wearing dentures. Research shows that seniors tend to have higher counts of yeasts in their saliva particularly those wearing dentures.
So there you are, great reasons to practise good oral denture hygiene, which include:
Give your dentures a good brushing top and bottom,
Since your there, give your gums and tongue a good brushing to stimulate blood flow,
Soak them overnight in an antiseptic solution,
Leave them out overnight to give your gums a rest.
In addition to good denture care, dentures should be replaced every five to seven years. Many patients feel that new dentures are not necessary or not worth the investment at their age. Having poorly fitting dentures can lead to more harm than good. So don't risk it - take care of your dentures and your oral hygiene and enjoy wearing your dentures.