Complete Dentures and Dental Hygiene
No matter how old you are, no matter how few teeth you have—you will always need a dental hygiene routine. This can even be said of the edentulous patient, or the patient with no teeth. If you are going to need a complete denture in the near future, it’s imperative to have a good hygiene routine. Here’s why.
Cleaning Your Complete Denture
When someone has lost all of their teeth, most likely they’ll have a complete set of dentures made. Dentures need to be cared for in much the same way as real teeth. There are specific ways to care for your dentures, though, because of the materials they’re made out of.
Dentures are made out of plastic. They aren’t as strong as the enamel of real teeth. Therefore, toothpastes can actually be too abrasive. If you use toothpaste, you could end up creating tiny scratches in the plastic. This might not seem like a big deal but it is. Besides the fact that the scratches can take away from the esthetics of the denture, they’re also a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria can cause bad breath and even damage your oral tissues. Therefore, follow the instructions from your dentist and/or hygienist and use products specifically designed for cleaning dentures.
Cleaning your dentures doesn’t simply consist of letting them soak in cleaner over night. Dentures need to be brushed with a special denture brush. A regular toothbrush is too abrasive. Many people think if they wear dentures they’ll never have to worry about plaque or tartar again. This isn’t the case. Plaque and tartar are caused by the foods we eat and the enzymes and bacteria in our mouth. Therefore, when you have dentures, you will get plaque build up on them, just like with real teeth. Plaque and tartar contain bacteria which cause bad breath and can cause problems (like irritation or infection) with your oral tissues. So make sure to brush your dentures at least once a day, if not after every meal, in addition to letting them soak in denture cleaner.
Keeping Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine
You may no longer have teeth, but you still have tissues that need to be cared for. The first step in caring for them is to remove your dentures at night. Your oral mucosa needs air to be healthy and it doesn’t get this by being covered in plastic twenty-four hours per day. Imagine it like this: how would your skin look if you wore heavy, movie-grade makeup every day and never washed it off? Your skin would definitely suffer; it would feel awful and look even worse. It is similar with oral tissues. Plastic dentures must be removed at night to promote oral health. Failure to remove them could result in sores, fungal or bacterial infections, and tender gingival tissue.
It’s also a good idea to gargle and swish your mouth out after every meal and before bed. Manual removal of plaque and food particles is important. You may want to gently brush your gums with an extra soft toothbrush and make sure to rinse with an antibacterial mouth rinse.
Whether you have no teeth at all or a mouth full of all 32 teeth, oral hygiene is vital. Talk to your dentist or hygienist about the tools to use for your specific needs. Find out the proper way to use them and then make sure to use them on a daily basis. Good oral hygiene promotes good overall health. So even if you’ve lost your teeth make sure to take care of the rest of your mouth.