Maintaining the cleanliness of false teeth, or dentures, can prevent dental and gum problems by eliminating bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Unclean dentures can also cause bleeding, swelling, burning, and fungal infections that cause white or red mouth sores. Which false teeth cleaning method is best varies, depending on which study results are used to make a determination. However, several methods combined with proper daily care can help keep your false teeth clean and bacteria-free.
Brushing and Soaking
Reuters Health reported that brushing might be better than soaking false teeth in an enzymatic or effervescent solution, according to a review of medical literature conducted by Dr. Raphael Freitas de Souza of the Ribeirao Preto Dental School at the University of San Paolo in Brazil. Dr. de Souza and his team studied six controlled denture-cleaning trials. The trials studied manual brushing methods and inactive soaking methods with various solutions.
While Dr. de Souza was not able to prove that brushing was more effective than soaking, he did state that brushing false teeth with toothpaste seemed to be more effective at removing plaque and bacteria compared to soaking. The trials studied by Dr. de Souza also showed that for short soaks of about 15 minutes, enzymatic and effervescent denture-cleaning solutions appeared to have the same effectiveness.
Solutions with enzymes are better for longer soaks of eight hours or more. Solutions with a high enzyme count can be as effective at removing plaque as brushing. If you have trouble brushing your dentures thoroughly, long soaks with an enzyme solution are best. Check with your dentist or prosthodontist for a recommendation about what solution to use.
According to a 2003 study published in General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, soaking dentures combined with a two-minute microwave treatment is more effective at killing bacteria and germs on false teeth than brushing or soaking alone.
Do not use microwave treatments if your dentures have any metal parts, and check with your dentist to make sure the method is safe for your particular set of false teeth before trying to microwave them.
To microwave your dentures, place them in a microwave-safe container at least twice the height of the dentures, and make sure the lid is vented. Fill the container with water and one tablet of denture cleanser. Drape a towel over the cover of the container and microwave it for two minutes.
Let your false teeth cool completely, and rinse them thoroughly before wearing them.
Daily Care and Maintenance
Daily care and maintenance are just as important as cleaning your dentures to prevent oral problems and diseases. According to Mayo Clinic prosthodontist Dr. Alan Carr, removing and rinsing your dentures after eating can help remove food particles that cause plaque build-up. Rinse your dentures before putting them back in your mouth, especially if they just came out of a soaking solution.
Dr. Carr recommends brushing your false teeth daily with a soft toothbrush and a mild soap or denture paste. He also recommends soaking your dentures in water or denture-soaking solution overnight to keep them moist and clean.
Do not use products that contain chlorine if your dentures have metal attachments, as chlorine can cause the metal to tarnish.