What's the best way to care for removable dentures?
Answer From Cindy Zhou, D.M.D., M.S.
Partial or full dentures that can be taken out need proper care to keep them clean, free from stains and comfortable. For good denture care:
- Take out and rinse dentures after eating. Run water over your dentures to get rid of food debris and other loose particles. You may want to place a towel on the counter or in the sink or put some water in the sink. Then the dentures won't break if you drop them.
- Handle your dentures carefully. Be sure you don't bend or damage the plastic or clasps when cleaning.
- Clean your mouth after taking out your dentures. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on natural teeth and gauze or a soft toothbrush to clean your tongue, cheeks and roof of your mouth. Take off any dental adhesive that is still on your gums.
- Brush your dentures at least daily. Take out your dentures and gently clean them daily. Soak and brush them with a soft-bristled brush and a denture cleanser that isn't too harsh or abrasive. This helps get rid of food, plaque and other deposits. If you use denture adhesive, clean the grooves that fit against your gums to get rid of any leftover adhesive. Don't use denture cleansers inside your mouth.
- Soak dentures overnight. Most types of dentures need to stay moist to keep their shape. Place the dentures in water or a mild denture-soaking solution overnight. Check with your dentist about properly storing your dentures overnight. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning and soaking solutions.
- Rinse dentures thoroughly before putting them back in your mouth, especially if using a denture-soaking solution. These solutions can contain harmful chemicals that cause vomiting, pain or burns if you swallow them.
- Schedule regular dental checkups. Your dentist will recommend how often you should have your dentures looked at and professionally cleaned. Your dentist also can make sure that your dentures are comfortable and don't slip, and your mouth is healthy.
- See your dentist if you have loose-fitting dentures. See your dentist right away if your dentures are loose. Loose dentures can cause irritation, sores and infection. They may be relined to ensure a proper fit. Your dentist may recommend a new denture if relining does not resolve the concern. Speak to your dentist to see if relining is right for you.
Typically, you should stay away from:
- Abrasive cleaning materials. Don't use stiff-bristled brushes, strong cleansers and harsh toothpaste, as they are too abrasive and can damage your dentures.
- Whitening toothpaste. This type of toothpaste often contains peroxide that does little to change the color of denture teeth.
- Products with bleach. Don't use products that contain bleach because they can weaken dentures and change their color. Don't soak dentures with metal attachments in solutions that have chlorine. These solutions can tarnish and wear away the metal.
- Hot water. Don't soak your dentures in hot or boiling water. This will keep your dentures from getting bent out of shape.
Cindy Zhou, D.M.D., M.S.
Jan. 19, 2024
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See more Expert Answers
- Denture care and maintenance. American Dental Association. https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/dentures. Accessed Dec. 22, 2023.
- Denture cleaning. Oral Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/denture-cleaning. Accessed Dec. 22, 2023.
- Dentures partial. American Dental Association. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/all-topics-a-z/dentures-partial/. Accessed Dec. 22, 2023.
- Mylonas P, et al. Denture cleanliness and hygiene: An overview. British Dental Journal. 2022; doi:10.1038/s41415-022-4397-1.
- Zhou C (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Jan. 10, 2024.
- Felton D, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the care and maintenance of complete dentures: A publication of the American College of Prosthodontists. Journal of Prosthodontics. 2010; doi:10.1111/j.1532-849X.2010.00683.x.