Whether you have partial or full dentures, it is important to take care of them. Good denture care helps prevent stains, bad breath, and gum disease. As with natural teeth, dentures and gums need to be brushed at least once a day. This helps remove food particles and a sticky film called plaque.
Here are some more steps for good denture care.
Cleaning Your Dentures
Taking care of dentures is different than caring for natural teeth. Here is what you should know:
- Dentures are usually made of a plastic resin. Some contain metal parts. They can break easily if dropped—even a short distance. When cleaning dentures, hold them over a folded towel or a sink of water. This will help protect them.
- Rinse dentures thoroughly in water. This will help remove loose food pieces from them. But remember, rinsing alone is not enough to clean your dentures.
- Moisten a soft-bristled brush. It is best to use a denture cleaning brush. Hard bristles will scratch your dentures.
- Apply denture cleanser (choose one with the American Dental Association seal). If you do not have any, use a mild hand soap or dishwashing soap.
- Gently scrub all surfaces of your dentures.
- Thoroughly rinse dentures. Traces of cleanser or soap may irritate your gums.
- Before placing dentures back in your mouth, brush your gums. Also brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue. Use a separate soft brush. Rinse your mouth well.
- Remove your dentures overnight (6 to 8 hours)—unless your dentist advises you not to. During this time, store dentures in water. This will keep them from drying out and losing their shape. Keep your dentures away from children and pets.
Treating Your Dentures Gently
To make sure your dentures last as long as possible:
- Do not try to adjust dentures yourself. Do not sand, file, or bend them.
- An adhesive may be advised when you first get dentures. This helps prevent the dentures from moving. After that you may use adhesives once in a while for old or poorly fitting dentures. Ask your dentist about options. Look for adhesives with the American Dental Association seal.
- Do not use hot or boiling water or bleach on your dentures. Do not use rough products or items. These things cause dentures to warp and/or discolor.
- Do not try to scrape off plaque or tartar with a sharp instrument.
- You can use regular toothpaste to scrub dentures, but do so gently.
- You can also use an ultrasonic cleaner to care for dentures. However, it does not replace daily brushing.
When to See Your Dentist
Keep regular fitting appointments when you get new dentures. Be sure to call your dentist if you have:
- Mouth sores
- Problems chewing food with your dentures
- Chronic cheek biting
- Cracks at the corners of your mouth
- Gums that bleed easily
- Dentures that become loose in your mouth
Remember the 3 main steps to keep your mouth and dentures in good shape. First, brush your dentures and gums daily. Second, clean dentures in a denture solution daily. And third, see your dentist on a regular basis. You can also add a fourth step: a confident smile!
American Academy of Periodontology
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
Canadian Dental Association
Dental Hygiene Canada
Denture care and maintenance. American Dental Association website. Available at: https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/dentures. Accessed October 14, 2021.
Dentures. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/Dentures. Accessed October 14, 2021.
Gingivitis and periodontitis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gingivitis-and-periodontitis-in-adults. Accessed October 14, 2021.
What are common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease? American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: https://www.perio.org/node/258. Accessed October 14, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board