ROCHESTER, Minn. — Dentures deserve careful handling and, in many ways, taking care of them is more work than caring for natural teeth. The November issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers tips to care for these precisely crafted and relatively delicate items.
Prevent breaks: Dentures can break if dropped only a few inches. Cleaning should be done over a folded towel in case they are accidentally dropped.
Clean gently: Dentures should be gently scrubbed every day with a soft-bristled toothbrush using a denture cleaner, mild soap or dishwashing liquid. Aggressive scrubbing can damage or bend metal clasps or other components.
Soak overnight: Most dentures need to remain moist to keep their shape. Soaking them in water or mild denture solution is usually fine. A dentist may offer specific recommendations for soaking.
Choose products wisely: Abrasive cleaners and harsh toothpastes such as whitening pastes are abrasive enough to damage dentures. Soaking dentures in bleach can cause the pink part of the denture to whiten. Placing dentures in hot or boiling water can cause the plastic to warp.
Avoid do-it-yourself repairs: All dentures need periodic adjustment by a dentist to ensure a comfortable fit and avoid problems. Repairs should not be undertaken at home because they will likely cause damage. Repairing a cracked denture with glue from the hardware store is a particularly bad idea, as glues contain harsh chemicals not suitable for the mouth.
Brush the mouth, too: Good oral hygiene helps avoid problems such as soreness, irritation and infection. Brushing the gums, tongue, palate and any remaining teeth helps remove bacteria and stimulate blood flow to these soft tissues.
Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today's health and medical news. To subscribe, please call 800-333-9037 (toll-free), extension 9771, or visit Mayo Clinic Health Letter Online.
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