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Wearing removable partial or full dentures effectively replace missing teeth to restore your smile beautifully. And while your dentures will never succumb to decay like your natural teeth, your new false teeth still need to get the care and attention they require to serve you properly. Well cared for dentures also look and smell better while keeping harmful oral bacteria out of your system.

There are various ways to clean your dentures. So long as it’s nonabrasive, find what works best for you and keep it up daily– just like your normal brushing and flossing routine. Only use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratching the false teeth and handle them carefully when you take them out. Keeping a towel handy or lukewarm water in the sink can cushion a fall if you accidentally drop them, protecting them from cracking, breaking, or chipping. Avoid bending or damaging the denture material or clasps when you handle them. Never place your dentures in hot water, bleach, or use abrasive toothpaste on them.

Taking your dentures out at night gives your mouth a break from wearing them all day and keeps the false teeth from getting dry and brittle. A long established common, safe denture cleaning method is soaking them overnight in white vinegar, then brushing and rinsing with lukewarm water before reinserting. Others prefer using dish soap, and both methods work well. Commercial denture cleaners also work, and as long as they carry the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval — like Efferdent or Polident — you are good to go. There are also ultrasonic cleansers that dislodge dental debris easily.

Safety is always a concern, whether safe to use in your mouth or safe to use on the dentures themselves. Be sure to store your dentures in a safe place when you take them out and when traveling. Always rinse your dentures before reinserting your dentures after cleaning, and never use denture cleaners inside your mouth.

Clean your dentures like you brush and floss your teeth — in the morning and evening — so basically twice a day. To protect your teeth, gums and dentures from bacterial buildup, we also recommend rinsing dentures with lukewarm water after meals.

Cleaning your dentures is especially important after you consume staining beverages like coffee, tea or wine. Smokers will also find that dentures look better when rinsed after smoking. Even with cleaning, over time, these habits can affect the color of your dentures.

You’ll also want to give your mouth a thorough cleaning when you take your dentures out. You can use a piece of gauze or even a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth, tongue, cheeks and palate, and get rid of any denture adhesive stuck on gums. Follow up with an oral rinse to kill bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

By taking good care of your dentures and keeping up with your dentist for regular checkups, your dentures will fit comfortably, last longer and serve you better!