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Denture brushes vs. toothbrushes

Updated February 21, 2017

Dentures must be cared for in ways almost identical to real teeth. Food particles and mineral substances can cause plaque to form on dentures. Bacteria can also grow on false teeth. Many types of brushes can be used for dentures, but a soft-bristled nylon brush is best. Denture surfaces can become easily scratched with a hard-bristled brush, creating space for bacteria to hide.

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Choose Your Own Size and Shape

A brush designed for false teeth typically has more bristle surface than a standard toothbrush. Elongated denture brushes about 3 inches long work best for most people. Some dental brushes have longer bristles about an inch in length. It's OK to brush false teeth with any type of brush that fits your hand. Just as on real teeth, use gentle circular motions. Since dentures have more surface area to brush than real teeth, a standard toothbrush will wear out faster if used on false teeth.

Brush to Protect Smooth Surfaces

Gouging and scraping at dentures with a coarse brush of any type will make scratches on the surfaces. Some dentists recommend a standard toothbrush for just that reason. Bristles of denture brushes tend to be coarser. Dentures must always be mechanically cleaned and then soaked daily or overnight in a cleaning solution. This prevents staining.

Think Twice about Expensive Brushes

Buying a costly natural-bristle brush for false teeth is probably a bad idea. Germs will grow more easily in natural bristles. Instead, focus on purchasing a brush that fits your hand well. The grip of the brush is really a major concern, since the grip gives control to speed up cleaning time. The grip helps you regulate more even pressure on all false teeth surfaces.

Regular Toothbrushes and Electric Brushes

Some people who wear dentures use an ordinary toothbrush when they travel, so travelling companions won't know they have dentures. Ordinary toothbrushes work fine on denture surfaces if you prefer using them. Buy one with a larger handle for easy gripping, and a large bristle surface to make the job easier. You can also use an electric toothbrush on dentures with a good cleaning agent to help remove stains. Don't press too hard, since rotating bristles can cause scratching.

Products for Use on False Teeth

You can use mild dish soap and water on false teeth. But it's best to use ordinary toothpaste or solutions made especially for cleaning and soaking. Household bleach in any form should be used carefully. Overexposure to bleach turns the gums of dentures a lighter pink. Never let false teeth dry out, or they will become warped. Soak them in a solution made for dentures when you aren't wearing them.

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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.

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