Home remedies for cleaning dentures

Home cleaning products

There are a number of reasons people might choose to use home remedies for cleaning dentures. Among them is their desire to economise on costly cleaning products or to minimise the use of chemicals which may be present in commercial cleansers. In this article we examine the natural home remedies available and how to eliminate the possibility of damage caused by using harmful solutions or practices. We also discuss how crucial good maintenance is for your denture’s appearance and longevity, and the impact this can have on your health.

A cautionary word

A brief survey of online advice offered by denture health care professionals revealed conflicting information on how to clean your denture using home remedies.i For this reason, we offer suggestions with cautionary advice. Before you try any home remedy, it’s best to consult with your prosthetist. Depending on the makeup of your denture, damage can occur. For example, dentures with soft linings or metal dentures can react negatively to seemingly innocuous household substances like bleach or even hot water.

Why would I need a home remedy?

Finding economies in everyday living is essential these days, especially with ongoing costs like denture cleaning. A good hygiene regime is fundamental. This means taking care of your mouth and any remaining natural teeth, as well as your denture. Keeping your dentures in top condition involves both mechanical and chemical cleaning, the objective being the removal of harmful microbes like some bacteria and fungi, as well as food debris. Daily brushing and rinsing under water after eating will remove the food debris and prevent microbial build up, while soaking your denture overnight will remove plaque and harmful bacteria preventing any unpleasant odours or tastes.

Following are some suggestions for inexpensive and easily accessed home remedies to try as well as some to avoid.

Cleaning options to try

Vinegar

Vinegar acts as an anti-microbial agent reducing the presence of yeast infections like candida albicans.ii Soaking your denture overnight in a 10% vinegar and water solution has been shown to reduce the presence of candida albicans, a yeast infection commonly suffered by denture wearers.iii Candida Albicans is positively correlated to denture stomatitis or inflammation of oral mucosal tissues supporting the denture.

Lemon juice

Like vinegar, lemon juice diluted with water is a good disinfectant for dentures and assists in reducing mineral contamination. However, lemon juice can be harmful to metal components on removable denturesiv so reduced soaking time might be wise.

Household soap

While soap may seem innocuous as a denture cleaner, it depends on the kind of soap used. As a temporary measure, antimicrobial bath soaps without the grease cutting chemicals contained in dishwashing detergents, can be effectively used in conjunction with soft brushing without harming the denture.

Baking soda and salt

Table salt and baking powder are abrasive and when applied with a brush, can damage the acrylic resin base of your denture causing fine scratches which will harbour harmful bacteria and compromise your health.v Dissolving salt in water before using to clean your denture can minimise damage.

Ultrasonic machines to clean dentures

While an initial financial outlay is required, you can take advantage of the same technology your denture clinic uses to safely and thoroughly clean your dentures at home using distilled water. There are two vibrational based systems to choose from: The ultrasonic bath and the sonic bath. They both work on the production of tiny bubbles to dislodge debris from the surface of the denture without causing damage to denture components. Compatible with all types of dentures they can also be used to clean jewellery, spectacles and other items.vi


Cleaning options to avoid

Hot water

Boiling water or even hot water should never be used to disinfect or clean your denture as it will warp the denture base and compromise its integrity.

Bleach products

While one study we consulted suggested bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as an effective way to clean and disinfect your dentures,vii the Mayo Clinic among others, warns that using bleach on your dentures can weaken the acrylic base and cause discolouration.viii Bleach can also corrode and tarnish metallic elements like clasps.

Regular toothpaste

Toothpastes designed for natural teeth are too abrasive for dentures and may damage the delicate surface by causing fissures and scratches not visible to the naked eye, thus allowing fungi and bacteria to take hold. 

Whitening toothpastes are ineffective for whitening artificial teeth and may also cause damage to your denture.

Avoiding denture breakages

Regardless of whether you are cleaning with natural remedies or commercial products there are precautions you should take to avoid breakage or damage to your dentures. These dangers can be mechanical and chemical.

Prepare the cleaning area

Use a hand towel in the basin in case you should happen to drop them on the sink.

Use the right brush for your denture

Denture brushes are made for purpose. Unlike the regular toothbrush they have soft bristles and angled heads for access to grooves and corners and delicate clasps. Regular toothbrushes or household brushes like a nailbrush for example, will damage the delicate surface of your denture causing microscopic abrasions and scratches which will harbour harmful bacteria and fungi. For more details on how to clean your denture see here.

Getting rid of glue on my dentures

Denture adhesive and denture glues are a necessity for some denture wearers. While not recommended for long term use, they have a place when a wearer is becoming accustomed to new dentures, or as a temporary measure to fix loose dentures until a permanent solution can be implemented. Cleaning residual glue can be problematic, however. Some wearers recommend using exfoliating gloves under a running water to rub off any stubbornly remaining glue. These gloves can be purchased from our shop.

Getting rid of stains on my dentures

Foods like coffee, tea, wine, or strongly pigmented foods like beets will stain dentures overtime. Your denture clinic can give your dentures a thorough clean to restore their sparkle. However, in between times, try rinsing your denture immediately after consuming the potentially staining food or drink. Whitening toothpastes are designed for natural teeth and are not effective for removing stains from false teeth and have the potential to cause damage.

A final word on home remedies for cleaning dentures

Opinions are divided about home remedies to clean your dentures, even among oral health professionals. Where possible we have sourced evidence-based advice on home remedies for cleaning dentures to help you avoid damage to your health and protect the considerable financial investment that is your denture. Seeking the advice of your prosthetist is essential given they know specifically what materials have been used to craft your denture. Saving money on cleaning products in the short term is pointless if it compromises of your denture’s appearance and longevity, or importantly, your health.

References

[i] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022391315004552

[ii] Pinto TM, Neves AC, Leão MV, Jorge AO. Vinegar as an antimicrobial agent for control of Candida spp. in complete denture wearers. J Appl Oral Sci. 2008 Nov-Dec;16(6):385-90. doi: 10.1590/s1678-77572008000600006. PMID: 19082396; PMCID: PMC4327708.

[iii] Pinto TM, Neves AC, Leão MV, Jorge AO. Vinegar as an antimicrobial agent for control of Candida spp. in complete denture wearers. J Appl Oral Sci. 2008 Nov-Dec;16(6):385-90. doi: 10.1590/s1678-77572008000600006. PMID: 19082396; PMCID: PMC4327708.

[iv] Nowak, J., Steinberg, K., Sokołowski, J. and Bociong, K. (2022) Influence of various class cleaning agents for prosthesis on Co–Cr alloy surface. Open Chemistry, Vol. 20 (Issue 1), pp. 958-969. https://doi.org/10.1515/chem-2022-0201

[v] Žilinskas J, Junevičius J, Česaitis K, Junevičiūtė G. The effect of cleaning substances on the surface of denture base material. Med Sci Monit. 2013 Dec 11;19:1142-5. doi: 10.12659/MSM.889568. PMID: 24326781; PMCID: PMC3867493.

[vi] Mylonas P, Milward P, McAndrew R. Denture cleanliness and hygiene: an overview. Br Dent J. 2022 Jul;233(1):20-26. doi: 10.1038/s41415-022-4397-1. Epub 2022 Jul 8. PMID: 35804119; PMCID: PMC9270218

[vii] Basson, N.J., Quick, A.N. and Thomas, C.J., 1992. Household products as sanitising agents in denture cleansing. The Journal of the Dental Association of South Africa= Die Tydskrif van die Tandheelkundige Vereniging van Suid-afrika, 47(10), pp.437-439.

[vii] https://www.mayoclinic.org/denture-care/expert-answers/faq-20058375#:~:text=Don't%20use%20any%20bleaching,that%20could%20warp%20your%20dentures.


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