After getting your first pair of dentures, you need to relearn how to chew and speak, but you also need to relearn how to properly clean your teeth. While it's common knowledge that natural teeth require twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing, denture care doesn't get as much attention, and it's normal to be unsure about what do to. Here are four denture-cleaning mistakes you should never make.
Not cleaning your dentures
It may seem like common sense that dentures need to be cleaned, but surprisingly, this is a major mistake that denture wearers make. According to NBC News, many people with dentures either don't clean their dentures or don't clean them well enough.
Your new dentures can't get tooth decay or toothaches, but there are other reasons that you need to clean them every day. Cleaning your dentures helps to keep them from getting stained from foods and drinks. Regular cleaning also helps to keep odors under control and prevent you from getting bad breath. Finally, bacteria build up on your dentures, and if these bacteria aren't cleaned, you can develop oral health problems like denture-induced stomatitis.
Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
The enamel that covers natural teeth is the strongest substance in the body—even stronger than bone—and can withstand brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. While your new dentures are strong, they're not that strong! Dentures are usually made of acrylic or porcelain, substances which scratch easily. If you brush your new dentures with a hard-bristled brush, you could damage the surface of your dentures.
To keep your new dentures safe, switch to either a soft-bristled toothbrush or a specially designed denture brush. Denture brushes are similar to regular toothbrushes, but instead of having one head, they have two. One head is used for cleaning flat areas of your dentures, while the other head is smaller and can be used for cleaning around the teeth and in grooves.
Using abrasive cleaners
You may want to clean your dentures with powdered household cleaning products. While these products are great for cleaning up tough messes in your kitchen or bathroom, they're not a good choice for your dentures. Remember, your dentures are very delicate. These abrasive cleaning products can scratch or damage your dentures and should never be used.
Instead, use nonabrasive cleaners. Products like hand soap, dish soap, and nonwhitening toothpaste are all acceptable cleaners for dentures. It's important to choose nonwhitening toothpaste, as whitening toothpaste is abrasive. This abrasiveness helps to remove surface stains from natural teeth, but when used with dentures, it can cause scratches.
Not disinfecting your dentures
Brushing your dentures everyday with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a nonabrasive cleaner is essential, but if you're not also disinfecting your dentures, you're missing a crucial step. Bacteria can hide in parts of your dentures that your brush can't reach, so to keep your gums from getting infected, you need to disinfect your dentures.
Fortunately, disinfecting your dentures is fairly easy and won't add much stress to your daily routine. Simply fill a cup or bowl with a commercially-available denture soaking solution and submerge your dentures overnight. There are many brands of soaking solution available and your dentist can recommend an appropriate product for the type of dentures you have. Soaking your dentures overnight will kill up to 99.9% of the germs on your dentures, so it's an easy way to keep your mouth healthy.
Not cleaning your dentures, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, using an abrasive cleaner, and not disinfecting your dentures are all easy mistakes to make for new denture wearers. These mistakes can damage your health or your dentures, so make sure to avoid them. For further questions and advice, contact an office like Image Dentistry.