Denture Care

Proper Denture Care – How To Prolong Oral Denture Health

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With the Academy of Periodontology estimating that close to 25 percent of people older than 65 suffering from total tooth loss, correct denture care is becoming a concern for more and more people.

This estimate does not even include the number of people who have lost some of their teeth and are wearing partial dentures. Combine these numbers together and you have a significant segment of the adult population whose lack of correct denture care know-how makes them vulnerable to poor dental health.

The Importance of Denture Care to Maintaining Good Overall Health

Caring properly for dentures is not only important for keeping them in good condition and prolonging their use. It is also necessary for avoiding bad breath, gum problems and for maintaining better overall heath.

Statistics from a study published in the American Family Physician journal links proper dental care with low incidences of pneumonia in the elderly. Other studies have also shown correlations between poor oral health and increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and oral cancer.

Clearly, good oral health and proper denture care play significant roles in ensuring good overall health. Follow these denture care recommendations for great oral health:

Remove Your Dentures at Bedtime

Although removing dentures daily before going to bed might seem inconvenient, it is extremely important for preserving good fit and better oral health. Wearing dentures all the time contributes to accelerating the deterioration of the gums that support them and will change the way they fit so removing them every night is important for ensuring that they fit better longer.

In addition, removing the dentures also allows the gums and any surrounding teeth to rest, which prevents decay.

Practice Careful Handling

Dentures tend to break very easily so always practice safe handling.

Dropping them even a couple of inches on a hard surface can cause them to break or chip. Avoid this possibility by placing a folded towel in the sink counter or any work area before removing dentures from the mouth or a denture container.

Be careful that they do not fall to the floor either.

Clean Dentures Regularly

It is best to rinse food particles from dentures after every meal. They also have to be brushed at least once daily to prevent plaque build up, although twice daily is ideal.

Special denture brushes are the best type of toothbrush to use, but regular toothbrushes may also be used as long as the bristles are very soft. Vigorous brushing, hard toothbrush bristles, abrasive cleaners, and toothpaste can all damage the enamel surface of dentures.

Mild hand soap, dishwashing liquid, or a dentist-recommended denture cleaner may be used to clean all denture surfaces gently.

Ultrasonic cleaners may also be used, in addition to brushing, but should not replace daily brushing. Rinse off the cleaning solution thoroughly in cool water.

Keep Dentures Wet

Dentures should never be allowed to dry out because they can warp and lose their shape. Keep them in a denture case at night, completely immersed in water or a special soaking or cleaning solution.

Use only cool or warm water, since exposure to very hot water will also cause warping. Never put dentures by themselves in a drawer on a nightstand. Put away the dentures in a safe place, where children and pets cannot get to it.

Remember To Care for the Rest of the Mouth

Remember that caring for the rest of the mouth is also as important as proper denture care. This is true even if tooth loss is total.

After removing the dentures, clean tongue, palate, gums, and the inside of the teeth using fingers, a toothbrush, or a tongue cleaner.

Brush and floss any remaining teeth.

Massage gums for a couple of minutes to stimulate blood circulation and promote good gum health.

Rinse the mouth with a warm saline solution or a mouthwash after brushing.

Do the same thing in the morning before re-inserting the dentures. Brushing the gums before re-insertion reduces plaque build up and stimulates circulation in the mouth tissues.

Good eating and chewing habits also prolong the lifespan of dentures. Avoid eating food that can easily stain dentures to avoid prematurely aging them. Make it a habit to use both sides of the mouth when chewing to avoid abrading only one side of the dentures.

Also, remember that front tooth dentures are not designed for chewing, so food must be moved to the back of the mouth.

Use Only ADA Approved Denture Care Products

There are a lot of denture care products that are available in the market today, but the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends only products that have its seal of approval because they have been tested safe and effective.

These include denture cleaning tablets, creams, powders, and solutions, denture adhesives, brushes, and denture whitening products.

Denture adhesives in particular, should only be used on a case-to-case basis and only on the recommendation of a dentist. They are only meant to provide additional security for well-fitted dentures and not to compensate for poorly fitted dentures.

Dentures whose fit have become loose or have started to move will need to be refitted or replaced. Continuing to use them even with denture adhesive will cause sore gums and worsen the problem.

Schedule Regular Visits to the Dentist

Dentures can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years with proper denture care. This does not mean never having to visit the dentist for the entire lifespan of the dentures though. Visits to the dentist or prosthodontist should be scheduled every six months so that the dentist can evaluate the fit of the dentures and make any necessary minor adjustments.

On the average, dentures have to be rebased, relined, or completely remade after about five years, although excellent denture care can significantly delay this.

In addition, dental visits must also be made if there are any problematic oral signs such as bleeding, swollen, or painful gums, unexplained weight loss, bad breath and loss of taste.

Despite excellent denture care, dentures may become stained, chipped, or damaged and must be brought to the dentist for evaluation and repairs. Do it yourself repair can worsen the damage and result in more expensive denture repair or replacement costs.

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