Proper Denture hygiene is very important and often overlooked. Most denture soaks do not kill off bacteria. And using just plain vinegar in water is not sufficient.
Try one of these:
A solution of 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water has been shown to kill microorganisms harboured on the surface of dentures. It will also help to remove discolorations and staining. A soaking duration of no more than 10 minutes is typically recommended.
This solution on its own is not effective in removing tartar build up. However, the addition of one teaspoon of Calgon® water softener, not soap or oi,l per glassful does make it an effective tartar-removing agent.
Precautions to keep in mind when using bleach as a part of your denture care.
A denture must be thoroughly rinsed off after soaking. Any residual bleach that remains on it may irritate or damage the wearer’s gum tissue.
Bleach-based solutions, especially when used over the long-term, may cause pink denture plastic to fade. Not all people will find this change objectionable. In many cases, the degree to which this effect takes place may not be readily noticeable.
The metallic portions of partial dentures may corrode (darken) if placed in a bleach-based soak or using food grade hydrogen peroxide. This is more likely to occur in those cases where the duration of the soaking is more than ten minutes per day. Ask your dentist for their recommendation on this matter.
B) Vinegar-based soaks –
Household vinegar can be used to make a denture-cleaning solution. It has been demonstrated to be effective in killing microorganisms that reside on the surface of dentures, however, less so than the bleach solution described above.
The acid nature of vinegar makes it especially effective at removing tartar. In some cases, it may dissolve away all that is present. In those cases where it doesn’t, it should at least soften up the remaining bit so most of it can be brushed away. Repeated soaking and brushing can help too.
A cleaning solution is created by mixing vinegar (household white vinegar, the stuff you find in your kitchen) with an equal amount of water. A soaking period of twenty to thirty minutes is typically recommended.
Precautions to keep in mind when using vinegar as a part of your denture care.
Most dentists don’t recommend the use of vinegar with partial dentures (at least not for long-term soaks) because it may be corrosive to the metal portions of the appliance.
Consider using a multi-solution approach.
Wendt et al. (1988) compared a number of different soaks commonly used to decontaminate dentures and came to the conclusion that the best results were obtained when a combination approach was used.
While the list below is not the precise regimen that this study outlined, each step is similar in nature. Overall, the idea here is that it takes using a series of solutions to reach maximum denture cleanliness.
1. A bleach solution (as described above) combined with enzymatic dishwasher soap (Cascade).
2. A vinegar solution (as described above).
3. A sodium bicarbonate solution (one teaspoon of baking soda to eight ounces of water).
While it’s not expected that a person would take the time and effort to perform this routine each day, they might choose to use it on selected days. Another approach would be to continually rotate through each of these cleaning solutions, a different one each time.
Due to the variety of soaking solutions available and the number of materials that can be used to make a denture, determining which type of soaking solution is suitable for use with your appliance can be an issue of some concern.
Here are some of the issues of which we are aware. You may want to quiz your dentist about them when discussing the denture cleaner you plan to use.
a) Always run some test trials.
The plastics used to make false teeth are chosen, in part, because they typically don’t absorb tastes and flavours.
This makes it unlikely that cleaning solutions that have a bad taste (i.e. bleach, vinegar) will create a problem. But because it is such a simple step to take, you should perform some short-term trial soaks just to make sure.
b) Beware of damaging soft-lining materials.
Some dentures have a “soft” (spongy) internal surface (the side that touches the wearer’s gums.) This can either be a short-term treatment material or a permanent part of the denture.
It’s possible that some types of these linings may be damaged by, or absorb the taste of, some denture-cleaning solutions. In all cases, you should ask your dentist for specific recommendations about what type of cleaner to use.
c) Some cleaning solutions may corrode metal parts.
Some false teeth have metal components. And it’s possible that the oxidizing agents contained in a denture cleaner, either homemade or commercial, may corrode them.
As an example, the use of food grade hydrogen peroxide H202, bleach- or vinegar-based solution may cause metal staining. Some commercial products state this same type of precaution in their instructions too. Always ask your dentist for a recommendation about what type of cleaning solution is appropriate for use with your appliance.
The exact same types of bacteria and debris that accumulate on natural teeth and soft oral tissues will tend to accumulate on dentures too.
And since this includes the types of bacteria that produce the volatile sulfur compounds that are responsible for causing bad breath, people who wear false teeth (either a partial or full set) can find themselves having problems with denture halitosis.
What’s the cure for denture breath?
Treatment for malodor associated with wearing dentures must approach the problem on two fronts.
A person must clean their dentures more effectively.
They’ll also need to more thoroughly clean those parts of their mouth where bacteria tend to accumulate. (This includes both the tissues their dentures rest on and especially the posterior region of their tongue.)
Many people don’t remove and clean their dentures often enough.
The space between a denture and the gum tissue it rests on is an ideal location for bacterial growth.
This space is relatively protected and therefore makes a cozy home for bacteria.
Food particles easily enter this area and provide a continual food supply for the halitosis-producing bacteria that live there.
As a way of stifling the growth of the bacterial colony that inhabits this space …
Dentures (complete or partial) should always be removed after every meal for cleaning.
They should be brushed both inside and out.
Any denture adhesive that is present should be removed and replaced with new.
The tissue areas covered by the dentures should be wiped with a washcloth or gently brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
B) On its own, just brushing won’t cure denture halitosis.
On a microscopic basis, the plastic surface of a denture is quite rough. And that means that every one offers innumerable locations that the bacteria that cause bad breath can call home.
The problem with just brushing.
While all denture cleaning activities should start with a thorough brushing, the problem with just doing it alone is that the diameter of any brush’s bristles is far larger in size than the microscopic holes in which the offending bacteria live.
As a solution …
1) Use an ultrasonic unit.
One aid that can help is the use of an ultrasonic denture-cleaning unit.
The vibratory motion it generates provides an additional cleansing action. And it’s been found that brushing in combination with ultrasonic cleaning is significantly more effective than just brushing alone.
2) Chemical cleansing and disinfecting.
After mechanically (brushing, ultrasonic) cleansing, a denture should be further cleansed and disinfected chemically.
That’s because many of the bacteria that cause denture breath live in microscopic porosities on a denture’s surface. Places where only chemical treatment can have an affect on them.
It seems most unlikely that anyone’s denture breath can be cured without regular and frequent denture soaking.
Testing – How can you tell if you have denture breath?
Here’s a simple test you can use to see if your dentures (full or partial) are the source of your halitosis.
Take your dentures out and place them in a plastic bag (baggie), then close it.
Let them sit for several minutes.
Open the bag and take a sniff inside.
If things don’t smell good, your dentures are causing at least some part of your breath problems. (We say “some part” because your tongue is probably a fault too.)
Use this as your first step.
Any person making an attempt to improve the quality of their breath should always start off by initiating a regimen of proper tongue cleaning (either brushing or scraping). In most instances, it’s likely that this will be the only cure that’s needed.
Why is tongue cleaning so important?
Cleaning your tongue, especially the back part, gives you an opportunity to rid yourself of what’s probably the largest refuge of odor producing bacteria in your mouth.
Remember the breath tests we outlined at the beginning of this topic?
If you did them, you probably found out that the tip portion (anterior part) of your tongue smelled a whole lot better than the back (posterior region). There’s a simple explanation for this.
a) The anterior portion of your tongue is fairly self-cleansing.
The tip part of your tongue is relatively self-cleansing and therefore unlikely to harbor large numbers of odor producing bacteria.
Many tongue functions (swallowing, speaking) place it in firm contact with your hard palate. This friction creates a cleansing action that prevents any significant build up of bacteria and debris on it.
b) The posterior portion is not.
In comparison, the back part of your tongue only touches (at most) your soft palate. And any contact that does take place is relatively gentle.
As a result, your tongue movements don’t create enough friction to result in any significant cleansing. Debris, including the bacteria that cause bad breath, will tend to build up in this region.
This is why cleaning your tongue in general, and the back part specifically, can be so effective in curing bad breath.
Look for yourself.
This accumulation is easy enough to see. Just stick your tongue out and look for the white, or even brownish, film on its surface, it’s usually triangular in shape with its broadest aspect covering across the back part of your tongue
Choosing a tongue scraper.
If you like the idea of scraping your tongue, you could just continue on using a spoon. A lot of times they really make a pretty good scraper.
If you prefer, the next time you’re out shopping you might look in the dental section to see what type of specially-designed scrapers they sell. You may find that using one is more effective (scrapes off more gunk) or is easier to use.
While there’s usually no shortage of different designs to choose from, there’s no hard or fast rule about how to pick one. Just pick out the kind that looks right to you. The one that looks like it would be most effective or easiest to use