If you’re one of the many people who use dentures (also known as a dental appliance), you probably know that it’s important to care for them.
But if you’re uncertain about how to keep your dental appliance clean and comfortable, you’re not alone. Follow the tips in this article to keep your dentures – and your mouth – healthy and clean.
Dental appliances include full and partial dentures that can be made of metal, acrylic, or hard or soft resin, and will fill in the gaps where there has been tooth loss. There are also “overdentures,” which fit over the natural teeth roots.
The two most important components to proper care for appliances are:
- Daily cleaning, and
- Storing in water or denture solution when not in use.
Cleaning Your Appliance
No matter what kind of device you’re using, you should use a soft toothbrush (or denture brush) and water to remove food debris, plaque and stains each day. Do not use toothpaste on your dental appliance, as it may cause the denture to deteriorate over time. Rinse your appliance first, then brush to clean.
For devices with metal frames, you will also want to brush the sides of the frame and rinse again in warm water.
There are many different types of over-the-counter cleaners that may help keep your appliance clean. To pick the best one for your appliance, look at what it is made from (acrylic, metal, etc.) and carefully check the product labels to find a good match.
Storing Your Appliance
For proper storage of your device, remember:
- Store your appliance in fresh, clean water whenever you aren’t wearing it
- Always rinse the appliance before wearing it again
- Keep your storage container empty, wiped dry and open when not in use
Dealing with Slick or ‘Slimy’ Appliances
If you notice that your appliance is still slick or “slimy” after cleaning, it may be a sign that yeast is growing on the denture. If the yeast is allowed to grow in the cup used for soaking, it may create an unpleasant odor or even lead to infection. If this happens to your appliance, make an appointment to see your dentist so it can be resolved.
To help avoid yeast growth, you can also follow these steps:
- Soak your appliance in warm water with a denture cleaning tablet for 15-30 minutes
- Always rinse your appliance with lots of water before putting in your mouth
- Always rinse your storage container with clean water, then let it air dry