How to Care for and Maintain Dentures

May 19, 2020

Reviewed and approved by Dr. Matthew Parker, D.M.D. and Dr. Justin Ewell D.M.D.

Dentures provide a sturdy row of teeth to help you chew food and smile with confidence. This durable solution also supports your facial muscles and improves speech. Our team of qualified dentists at AZ Family Dental has the tools and knowledge to give you a brand new smile while sharing best practices about how to clean and maintain dentures.

How to Clean Dentures

You can avoid bacteria buildup in dentures and prevent permanent staining by cleaning them daily. In addition to soaking dentures each night, you should:

  • Brush them daily with a bristle brush and denture-specific cleaning paste.
  • Rinse them under clean water at least twice a day.
  • Rinse the dental plates with clean water each time you eat to guard against plaque and tartar buildup.

Follow these steps as you clean your dentures every day:

  1. Before you start, fill a sink with water. This can help protect your teeth from impact damage if you drop them during the cleaning process.
  2. Remove the top denture from your mouth by pulling up and out with your thumb.
  3. Pull the lower denture in a rocking motion to take it out of your mouth.
  4. Using a denture cleaner, gently brush your dentures with a soft bristle brush.
  5. Brush your gums, tongue, and natural teeth with fluoride toothpaste before you return the dentures to your mouth.
  6. If you use adhesive for your dentures, completely clear away the old paste when you brush your teeth.
  7. For a fresh, clean feeling, rinse your mouth out with mouthwash.

Instructions to Care for Your Dentures

Like natural teeth, dentures can develop plaque and tartar buildup, and they are vulnerable to breaking or discoloration. Along with cleaning your teeth, you can practice safe habits to make sure they last as long as possible. Dentures can break if you drop them, so we recommend you handle them over a towel, cloth, or sink filled with water.

Here are some helpful tips for how to care for dentures:

  • Let your mouth adjust: If you’re newer to dentures, eating soft foods and avoiding meals with extreme temperatures can help you adjust to the teeth. Easing in with foods like eggs and applesauce can help you maintain comfort while taking care of your mouth and dentures.
  • Eat and chew carefully: Be careful to avoid damaging your dentures and hurting yourself when eating. Chew on both sides of your mouth to stabilize your teeth. Before you swallow, chew slowly and thoroughly to prevent choking. Instead of biting into a whole hamburger, cut your food into smaller bites. You could also eat bite-sized foods, like berries or tangerine slices, to help with chewing.
  • Replace hard food with softer alternatives: You should be careful about eating food that can damage your dentures. Sticky foods, like gummy candies and peanut butter, can get stuck under your artificial teeth and move them out of place. You can eat smooth hummus in place of peanut butter and chocolate or fruit instead of sticky sweets. Replace popcorn or sesame seeds that are difficult to remove from dentures with soft, ripe fruits and vegetables. Instead of indulging in tough steak, try slow-cooked or ground meats to get your daily dose of protein. You could also eat chicken, turkey, or fish if you’re craving meat.
  • Be careful how you clean: For your safety, only use dentist-recommended products to clean your dentures. Follow the instructions on the label, and consult the dentist about the proper use of your cleaners and brushes. Avoid using abrasive brushes, toothpicks, and whitening toothpaste that could damage your new teeth. A paste containing peroxide creates microscopic scratches in your artificial teeth that could discolor and harm them. Using products with bleach or chlorine can turn your pink gums to white and deteriorate your false teeth. When you wash your dentures, rinse them with room temperature water to prevent warping. Be careful not to bend the metal or plastic pieces when handling your artificial teeth.

How to Maintain Dentures and Prolong Their Lifespan

There are several steps you can take to prolong the lifespan of your dentures. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your set to make sure it fits and works properly. Here are the ways you can maintain optimal denture function and recognize when you’re ready for a replacement:

  • Schedule regular visits with your dentist: Visiting the dentist will help keep your dentures clean and in good shape. After you first receive them, you will need to visit the dentist a little more often to adjust your new teeth. It may take a couple of weeks to get used to them, but the dentist will walk through the process with you, examining your comfort levels and making recommendations. During your visits, the dentist will check your dentures for the proper fit and inspect your mouth for any scrapes or sores.
  • Soak them overnight: When they’re out of your mouth, you need to keep your dentures moist to maintain their shape. Soak your teeth in clean, room temperature water, since warm or boiling water can cause them to warp. If your artificial teeth contain metal pieces, prolonged exposure to water could tarnish them. The dentist can recommend another method for soaking your dentures, if necessary.
  • Replace them as necessary: The American Dental Association recommends denture replacements if a set of dentures causes chronic inflammation, is no longer stable in the mouth, is broken, or is more than five years old. You should also seek a new pair if there are any changes in the teeth that support your dentures.

Make an Appointment at AZ Family Dental to Care for Your Dentures

Even when you do your part to clean and maintain your dentures, you may need dental assistance to ensure optimal comfort and functionality. Dentures that are too tight or loose could irritate your mouth and cause sores to develop. Trying to fix them yourself can result in damage to the metal or plastic pieces around the teeth. If you experience any discomfort, denture experts like the dentists at AZ Family Dental can fine-tune the fit or give you advice about your eating or cleaning habits.

The dentists at AZ Family Dental are fully equipped to help you take care of your dentures. If you want to restore your smile and improve your self-confidence, we offer full dentures and partial denturesContact us today to schedule an appointment or find out more information.

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