Today, 1 in every 7 adults above the age of 45 years wear a denture in India. Dentures (also called as artificial teeth by people) improve quality of life of denture wearers as they help restore smile, lifestyle and comfort. However, little focus is given to health & hygiene of dentures. It is important to maintain a daily routine of denture hygiene to prevent a multitude of problems like malodor (unpleasant smell), poor aesthetics and the accumulation of plaque with its severe effects on the mucosa.
Denture care is very important aspect of lifestyle & there are various ways to take care of your denture:
Ensure a comfortable fit with denture fixative
Some denture wearers face uneasiness and discomfort due to fitting of their dentures. A denture fixative or adhesive helps in these cases by providing a good fit and comfort to denture wearers. Denture fixative / adhesive are agents that stick readily to both the tissue surface of the denture and gums. When saliva mixes with adhesive material, it expands and fills voids between the denture base & gum tissue – thus providing a good retention force. Denture fixatives result in the following:
Reduced denture movement and improvement in chewing function
Increase in maximum biting force, retention, stability
Improvement in oral hygiene for denture wearers by reducing or preventing dental plaque
Reduction in mucosal irritation due to reduced food entrapment beneath the denture base
Facilitates the psychological well-being of denture wearer
Brush and rinse dentures daily
Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food and plaque – this also helps prevent the development of permanent stains on the dentures. However, hard bristle toothbrushes may be abrasive in nature and sometime create microscopic scratches on dentures where food and plaque can build up. Use a brush with soft bristles that is specifically designed for cleaning dentures. Rinse the denture after every meal.
Clean with a denture cleanser
Only 7% of denture wearers in India have used a specialized denture cleansing solution in the last one year. Daily soaking in a denture cleansing solution delivers extra chemical breakdown of the remaining plaque and some level of disinfection of the denture. Denture cleansing solutions should only be used outside the mouth. Use a cleanser which is nontoxic, easy to remove, harmless to denture wearer if accidentally spilled and harmless to denture base material.
Take proper care of dentures when not wearing them
Dentures need to be kept moist when not being worn so that they do not dry out or lose their shape. When not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Dentures should never be placed in hot water, which can cause them to warp.
To avoid accidentally dropping dentures, stand over a folded towel or a full sink of water when handling them.
It is essential for adults wearing dentures to brush gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush every morning before putting the dentures in. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay. Clean, rest, and massage your gums regularly.
The fitting of dentures should not be considered the final stage of tooth replacement, but the beginning of a long relationship between denture wearer and dentist to maintain the health of oral tissues. It is important that the dentist explains and motivates the denture wearer to maintain oral health. At the same time, attitude of the denture wearer is important to maintain a daily routine of denture hygiene too. Daily care of oral hygiene, cleaning and proper use of dentures, use of denture fixative / adhesive are all a lifelong commitment. It might sound a lot to begin with, but eventually it results in making you smile ☺
Happy World Oral Health Day!