Modern dentures are a marvel of dental technology and are now worlds away from their historical predecessors. In the ancient world, Egyptians and Etruscans fabricated artificial teeth from bone and repurposed animal or human teeth bound together with wire. Though they worked, they could hardly be called comfortable.
Fast-forward to the 18th century, and dentures still included teeth but also added ivory and metal alloys to the mix. By the mid 19th century, ivory and repurposed teeth were replaced by porcelain, and denturists stopped using various materials for the base plate in favor of hardened rubber. But regardless of these advances, one thing has remained: you need to regularly clean and maintain your dentures.
Denture Types: Partial and Complete
Partial dentures, also known as dental bridges, replace one or up to a few adjacent teeth. These dentures are also removable in some cases, but usually, they are a permanent fixture. For partials and other non-removable restorations, you clean and maintain them by brushing and flossing, the same way you care for your natural teeth.
Complete dentures are what most people picture when they think of dentures. As the name suggests, they replace one or both full arches and, in most cases, are removable. They usually consist of a soft acrylic plate that adheres to your mouth, topped with a set of replacement teeth. Complete dentures fit tightly because of this design, but food particles may still accumulate both on and underneath the denture.
Why Keep Your Dentures Clean
When food particles stick to your dentures, they begin to decay, attracting bacteria that will proliferate unless you remove their food source. As a result, the most common side-effect of poorly maintained dentures is that the wearer will have bad breath. Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine reports that up to 87 percent of denture users are concerned about bad breath due to its prevalence.
Another complication from unclean dentures is inflammation and irritation of your gum and other soft oral tissues. Along with discomfort, this condition can lead to advanced gum infections and even mouth sores. These sores result from denture stomatitis and can even appear outside your mouth at the corners of your lips.
Finally, if your dentures lead to infections in your mouth, they may threaten the health of your entire body. Numerous studies have connected poor oral health with serious, chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Guidelines for Proper Denture Care
Your denture care routine in Vallejo, CA, should have daily aspects and more procedures you perform once or twice a week. Each day, you should remove your dentures and brush them thoroughly with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove all food particles. In addition, you should brush all surfaces, including under and around the base, to dislodge any stubborn remnants of your last meal.
Then, we also recommend you brush the inside of your mouth, your gums, cheeks, and tongue with toothpaste to clean and stimulate tissue regeneration. This is also an excellent opportunity to check for emerging mouth sores and treat them with a medicated rinse.
Each night while you sleep, you remove your dentures and place them in a safe place overnight. Some people soak their dentures in clear water overnight. However, dental hygienists recommend using an overnight soaking solution made especially for dental appliances. These solutions can kill 99 percent of the bacteria that threaten to contaminate your dentures.
Finally, we suggest that wearers periodically use a deep-cleaning solution to address any accumulations that resist your daily routine. These products are specifically intended to clean dentures without damaging them.
What to Avoid When Caring for Dentures
After using a denture cleaner to soak your appliance overnight or for a deep clean, you should avoid replacing your denture until you've rinsed them thoroughly with clear water. Some of the cleansers in these products may irritate your gums and other soft tissues.
Many dental products not specifically intended for dentures may damage them, so be careful. For example, you should stay away from stiff-bristled brushes and products containing abrasive materials such as whitening toothpaste. We also recommend that you avoid using any bleaching products which are bad for acrylic plastics. Finally, we discourage the use of hot water that can cause warping and completely ruin your denture.
Denture Maintenance in Vallejo, CA
As great as modern dentures have become, they still require the same care and cleaning as those made from bone, ivory, and repurposed teeth. In addition, dentures that suffer from food debris build-up can endanger your health while giving you bad breath and even more severe symptoms.
At Morgan Nordstrom, DDS, our team of dental professionals can help you with your denture care routine. We encourage you to reach out any time to arrange a consultation and ensure a lifetime of clean denture health.