A lack of proper mouth and denture hygiene can lead to problems such as gum and mouth irritation, infections and problems eating and speaking, so it’s very important to follow an effective daily cleansing ritual and store dentures away properly.
Here are six tips for keeping your mouth and dentures in excellent condition:
1. Brush gums and tongue daily
Even if you don’t have any natural teeth, it remains important to brush your gums and tongue in order to remove plaque and bacteria. Brush your gums and tongue twice daily with a soft bristle toothbrush and use a gentle fluoride toothpaste to kill off any germs. The brushing also helps to stimulate circulation in your gums, which improves oral health.
2. Clean dentures daily
Dentures need to be cleaned and rinsed every day before being stored away. To clean them, use a special denture brush (a regular toothbrush could damage them) along with denture paste or a mild soap and lightly brush them to remove any debris from food or plaque.
Always use lukewarm or cold water to clean and rinse dentures, as hot water could cause them to warp.
3. Use a mouthwash after meals
Because it’s not always possible to brush your mouth after every meal, carry a small bottle of mouthwash with you to use after you eat. Swish your mouth for at least one minute to prevent bacteria buildup on your gums and tongue.
Remove dentures after meals as well, and rinse them before replacing them to ensure that all food particles have been removed.
If commercial mouthwash is too harsh for you, try using warm water with a bit of salt. Salt is known to keep gums strong and health and has the same cleansing effect as commercial mouthwash and toothpastes.
4. Store dentures correctly
Dentures should be removed every night in order to give your gums a chance to heal. After cleaning, store your dentures in a cup or bowl with denture cleansing solution or, if you don’t have any, warm water and baking soda.
This will remove any stains and prevent plaque, tartar and bacteria from building up. Never leave them out without water or cleansing solution, as dentures need to be kept moist to prevent them from losing their shape or drying out.
5. Eat a balanced diet
Believe it or not, your diet also has a big effect on the overall health of your teeth and gums. Eating a well-balanced diet prevents decay and gum disease. Aim to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to get your daily dose of vitamin A and C.
6. Don’t ignore discomfort
If your dentures are causing you any discomfort, it is important to have them checked by your oral health care provider. Of course, some discomfort when you have just started wearing dentures is normal, but dentures that don’t fit well can cause gum irritation, mouth sores and infections, so don’t ignore signs that your dentures may need adjusting.
Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and aged care courses. When not working, you can find her on Google+ or spends the day with her baby boy.