How to Properly Care For Your Dentures in 2023

Start your year off right by knowing how to properly care for your dentures.

That’s why you’ll want to make your denture care a top priority this year. You’ll want to consider everything including how often you should clean and what problems to look out for. Each is essential to keep your dentures clean and maintaining a healthy mouth. 

The better you care for your dentures, the longer they’ll last, and you’ll be less likely to experience pain or infection. This is true no matter what type of denture you have, whether you are using a full set or a partial. 

To help you better understand the importance of year-round denture care, we’ve compiled a list of what you need to know to properly care for your dentures. By following these care guidelines, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the care topics we’ll cover: 

  • How to properly handle and clean your dentures
  • How often you should be cleaning your dentures
  • Things you should avoid when cleaning your dentures
  • How often you should be wearing your dentures
  • Foods you should avoid when wearing your dentures
  • How to properly take care of your gums
  • Risks of not properly caring for your dentures
  • When to contact your dentist about denture problems
female dentist standing in front of aspen dental office with arms crossed and smiling

How to Properly Handle Your Dentures

The first thing you need to know about denture care is how to handle them. Anytime you handle dentures, you need to be very careful. This is especially important during cleaning when you’re handling your dentures for an extended period of time.

Proper handling techniques are important to consider no matter what type of denture you have. Whether it’s a full set or partial denture, you need to take the same care either way. 

Dentures are delicate and if they are dropped onto a hard surface, they could easily break. 

close up view of dentures
It’s important to know how to handle your dentures to prevent breaking them. The material they are made of will easily break or crack if dropped onto a hard surface, such as a countertop. Image courtesy of European Denture Center

That’s why anytime you are handling your dentures, you should hold them over a soft towel. Doing this will reduce the risk of dropping them on the hard counter, resulting in cracking or breaking the denture.

If you do drop your dentures and they break, you’ll need to visit your dentist for a repair or replacement. But by properly handling your dentures you can avoid having to visit your dentist more frequently for repairs or replacements. 

How to Properly Clean Your Dentures

Many people aren’t sure where to start when it comes to denture cleaning and care. Keeping your dentures clean and free of plaque and debris is essential to keep them well maintained. 

When properly cared for, your dentures should last between five to seven years. To ensure the longevity and high quality of your dentures, it’s vital to start a daily cleaning habit from day one.   

Proper care will allow you to avoid extra visits to the dentist and extend the life of your dentures. But if you’re like many who are new to the world of dentures, you may be wondering what the cleaning best practices are -- well, look no further! 

We’ll discuss everything you need to know, from handling your dentures to how and when to clean them. You can then feel more confident and give your new dentures the care they need. 

Steps to Cleaning Your Dentures

There are four main steps when it comes to denture care and cleaning. Those include: brushing your dentures, soaking your dentures, leaving your dentures out overnight, and staying up-to-date with your dentist visits. 

diagram illustrating how to clean dentures in four steps
Following these steps will help you keep your dentures in good shape and keep you from having mouth sores and bad breath. It might seem like a lot at first, but once you make it part of your daily routine, your denture care will come naturally. Image courtesy of Oral Health Foundation.

Following this daily routine will keep your dentures in tip-top shape, but there are a few more things you need to consider when cleaning your teeth. 

Here are the things you’ll need to keep your dentures clean, including: 

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Water
  • Denture cleaning solution or mild soap
  • A soft towel

Now, let’s take a look at each step to set you up for success when it comes to your denture care routine.

Step 1: Remove Your Dentures and Brush Them 

Place a soft towel on your counter before you remove your dentures. Remember to be careful when handling them. A soft towel will help keep them intact just in case they slip out of your hands. 

Once you’ve removed your dentures, you’ll want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean them and remove any plaque or debris that may be on them. 

how to brush dentures step by step diagram
Knowing how to brush your dentures is important and will help you avoid damaging them. Using the right equipment and brushing the entire surface will clean your dentures and leave them feeling fresh. Image courtesy of Brighter Smiles

When it comes to brushing your dentures, it’s essential to use the right type of toothbrush. If you use a typical toothbrush that you used on your natural teeth, it could damage your dentures. That’s why a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for dentures is recommended.

Another important thing to note is that you don’t want to use toothpaste. The toothpaste brands you’re familiar with include too abrasive ingredients for dentures and will eventually start to wear them down. 

You should be completing this first step at least once a day to keep your dentures clean and free of plaque and leftover food particles. 

Step 2: Soak Your Dentures 

To keep their shape, most types of dentures need to stay moist. This is why you should be soaking your dentures each day. 

Most people choose to do this overnight when they’re not wearing their dentures for an extended period of time — but it’s important to keep them hydrated even if you only have them out for a short time. 

diagram of illustrations showing how to soak dentures in a cup
Soaking your dentures overnight is the best practice to keep them moist and retain their shape. You can also add a denture-soaking solution to the water to help further clean and disinfect them from a long day’s wear. Image courtesy of Dreamstime.

When soaking your dentures, you should place them in water or a denture-soaking solution. Never put your dentures in boiling or extremely hot water. This could cause them to lose their shape and will no longer properly fit in your mouth. 

Step 3: Leave Your Dentures Out at Night

You should be taking your dentures out every night. As mentioned in the last step, this is a great time to soak your dentures and clean them with a cleaning solution. 

Leaving your dentures out at night will help you avoid bacteria build-up and give your gum tissue time to rest. But these are not the only benefits of taking your dentures out each night. 

Here are a few additional benefits to taking your dentures out at night

  • Preventing bone loss  ****Not true
  • Keeping a tight fit
  • Preventing gum inflammation
  • Prolong the life of your dentures ****Not true

By leaving your dentures out at night, you’ll be giving your mouth the rest it needs and keeping your dentures in the best shape possible. 

Step 4: Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular trips to your dentist are an important part of your denture care to make sure they continue working well for you. 

Unless otherwise instructed by your dentist, you’ll want to continue your six-month check-ups. During these visits, your dentist will check the soft parts of your mouth such as your tongue and cheeks, as well as your gums and denture fit.  

These visits are also important to stay ahead of any potential health concerns such as sores, infections, or other mouth conditions. With regular check-ups, you can be assured that your dentures and gums remain healthy and clean. 

You may find that you need to visit your dentist before your next six-month appointment. These are a few common signs that you should contact your doctor: 

  • Frequent irritation
  • Uncomfortable fit
  • Dentures moving around or falling out of the mouth
  • Sores or cuts on your gums

Anytime you have discomfort with your dentures, it’s best to reach out to your dentist to find the best plan of action. 

How Often You Should Be Cleaning Your Dentures

It’s important to clean your dentures daily. 

A good practice is to brush your dentures twice a day — once when you wake up in the morning and once before you go to bed at night. Working these steps into your daily routine will make caring for your denture part of your daily regime. 

You’ll also want to clean your dentures after eating. While this cleaning doesn’t necessarily need to be a complete brushing, you’ll want to take your dentures out and at least rinse them after a meal. Doing this will remove any food particles or debris that may have gotten stuck in your dentures. 

Things You Should Avoid When Cleaning Your Dentures 

There are a few things you should avoid when cleaning your dentures. We’ve hit on a few of these things throughout this article, but it’s important to know what can harm your dentures and steer clear of them. 

Things to avoid when cleaning your dentures

  • Abrasive cleaning materials such as stiff-bristled brushes, strong cleansers, and harsh toothpaste
  • Whitening toothpaste that will do more damage than good when trying to whiten your dentures
  • Products containing bleach can weaken your dentures and cause them to change colors
  • Hot or boiling water can change the shape of your dentures and result in discomfort and a poor fit 

Making sure to avoid some of these common denture enemies is just another way to keep your dentures in high quality and at top performance. If you have any questions about what products to use and what to avoid, ask your dentist.

How Often You Should Be Wearing Your Dentures

We’ve already talked about how important it is to take your dentures out at night to allow your mouth time to relax and recover, but how often should you really be wearing your dentures? 

The good news is, as long as you leave your dentures out at night for at least six to eight hours, you can wear your dentures all day without concern. 

But if you occasionally forget to wear your dentures on a regular basis, you’ll want to try to break that habit. If you don’t wear your dentures frequently enough, they can easily become deformed or dried out if they’re not properly stored. 

So it’s best to wear your dentures on a regular basis and to store them properly when not in use to keep them in the best shape possible. 

Foods You Should Avoid When Wearing Your Dentures

Another thing to consider when it comes to denture care is the food you’re eating. While there aren’t necessarily any foods you have to avoid completely, there are some that may be better off in moderation. 

Here are a few foods you may want to avoid and why: 

  • Coffee and tea in large amounts can dehydrate you and cause your mouth to become drier
  • Popcorn can get stuck in your dentures and cause havoc 
  • Sticky candies can be difficult to chew and dislodge your dentures 
  • Nuts can get stuck under your dentures and make them unstable
  • Seeded bread and crackers can cause seeds to get stuck under your dentures
  • Steak can also dislodge your dentures and cause sore spots from having to chew extra hard
  • Raw fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples can be hard to bite and put a lot of extra pressure on your dentures
  • Nut butter can be hard to get off once they’re on your dentures 

When it comes to foods to avoid, there are plenty of alternatives out there and you don’t have to avoid this list all the time. If you love a nice steak from time to time, eating it in moderation and taking smaller bites will allow you to still enjoy your meal. 

How to Properly Take Care of Your Gums

Taking care of your gums is just as important as keeping your dentures clean for your mouth health. Without proper care, your gums could become infected or worse. 

Even without your natural teeth, your dentures and gums will still build up plaque and bacteria. These things are what cause gum disease, and by ignoring gum care, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable. 

on the left is a graphic of the gums and to the right is a graphic of dentures
Gum care is just as important as denture care. If you’re not actively caring for your gums and cleaning them as part of your daily routine, you could be leaving them vulnerable to sores and infection. Image courtesy of Omega Dentists

Luckily, gum care doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking for you. In fact, you can easily integrate it into your denture care routine. 

The biggest thing to remember when it comes to gum care is to brush them daily when you remove your dentures. You’ll also want to make sure to brush your cheeks, tongue, and the roof of your mouth to remove any lingering plaque or bacteria. 

By adding an extra minute to your denture cleaning routine, you can ensure your mouth is healthy and free from infection or disease by keeping your gums clean.  

Risks of Not Properly Caring for Your Dentures

Just because you no longer have your natural teeth doesn’t mean your mouth health can go to the wayside. If you decide to skip your daily mouth cleanings, you could be in for a rude awakening.

Let’s look at just a few of the potential health concerns you could experience by ignoring your denture care. 

Denture Stomatitis

Denture stomatitis, also called thrush, is a common fungal infection that can affect someone who does not keep their dentures and mouth clean on a regular basis. This infection is most often found on the roof of the mouth, underneath where your dentures sit. 

diagram outlining the causes of denture stomatitis
Denture stomatitis is a common infection that can be avoided with the right type of dental care. By taking your dentures out, practicing proper oral hygiene, and making sure your dentures fit properly, you’ll be on your way to healthier gums. Image courtesy of YouTube

If you experience thrush, you’ll likely experience bright red gums that are sore and tender. Your dentist can help determine the best treatment path for you if you experience thrush, but it will likely require medication and time for your gums to recover. 

Sickness and Illness 

Poor denture care can result in poor health outside of your mouth as well. 

By not correctly cleaning your dentures every night, you could be putting yourself at risk for infections like pneumonia and MRSA. 

Luckily, to avoid these two illnesses, all you have to do is keep up with your daily cleaning routine. Doing this will help you avoid unnecessary sickness and keep your mouth and body healthy for years to come. 

Mouth Sores

Without the proper cleaning and mouth hygiene, you may also experience mouth sores. These can be caused by bacteria that have built up on your gums and begun to irritate the skin. Proper cleaning and maintenance of your dentures can help you to avoid mouth sores. 

It’s also important to note that just because you are experiencing mouth sores doesn’t mean it’s hygiene-related. If you’re actively cleaning your dentures and giving your gums a break every night, there could be other reasons why you’re experiencing mouth sores. 

When to Contact Your Dentist About Denture Problems 

Outside of your regularly scheduled visits, staying in contact with your dentist is another great way to keep your dentures in the best shape possible. 

female dentist working with patient in chair
Knowing when to see your dentist for problems with your dentures is important. Poorly fit or broken dentures can cause havoc on your mouth and result in cuts, sores, or worse. It’s always best to keep an open line of communication with your local dentist. Image courtesy of Pexels

There are a few signs that you should be on the lookout for. If you’re experiencing one of these problems, you’ll want to call your dentist to have your mouth and dentures looked at. 

Here are a few common denture problems you may experience that could require a trip to the dentist: 

  • Gum and mouth irritation
  • Problems eating and speaking
  • Dentures moving around in your mouth
  • Mouth infections 

Anytime you notice the fit of your dentures has shifted, reach out to your dentist to determine whether you need a realignment. Many people notice that their dentures aren’t fitting quite right when they start to feel uncomfortable or slip and make noise when talking or eating. 

Another sure sign you need to call your dentist is if your dentures are worn, cracked, or broken. If this is the case, it’s best to call in the professionals rather than try to make a repair on your own.

When in doubt, consult your dentist to determine the best solution for your denture problems. 

Make Your Denture Care a Top Priority This Year

As we move into a new year, now’s the perfect time to start taking your denture care seriously. 

Set yourself up for success this year by knowing the ins and outs of denture care. From how to handle dentures and perform daily cleaning to identifying potential issues and keeping up with your regular dental visits -- it’s all important for your dental hygiene. 

Choosing to make your denture care a top priority this year will keep you looking and feeling your best. So why not start out the year on the right foot! 

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