Getting fitted with new dentures is a life-changing experience for many patients. Whether you've had natural teeth until now and are having a denture fitted directly after extraction, or you've been wearing them previously and are receiving a new set, you're bound to be proud of your new smile.
How long they stay clean and fresh, however, depends on practicing comprehensive oral hygiene. One of the best ways to do this is to use the right products.
What Is a Denture Brush?
This toothbrush is specifically designed for cleaning dentures and has bristles arranged to fit the shape of the denture, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). It usually has two separately configured heads on either side:
- A flat, soft-bristled head for use on the smooth surfaces such as the exterior of the plate.
- A single-tuft head made from tapered bristles, which is ideal for use in hard-to-reach areas.
A good denture brush has an ergonomically designed handle with a textured grip as well. This makes it comfortable for you to give the denture a thorough cleaning – which can take longer than the recommended two minutes.
Why Use One?
There's one very important benefit to using a denture brush for cleaning your full or partial dentures: These brushes have relatively soft bristles, which are useful for removing impacted food particles from the denture without scratching the surface of the dentures themselves. Dentures are typically made using an acrylic plastic or porcelain – or a combination of the two – and both types of material sustain scratches easily. This damage creates a golden opportunity for food to adhere to the material and for bacteria to settle and grow within the grooves. As a result, food particles turn rancid, resulting in halitosis, gum inflammation and similar chronic health conditions.
The uniquely shaped, single-tuft head enables the wearer to use the brush comfortably inside the artificial gum area, which also tends to be a collection point for food.
Are There Disadvantages?
Few denture brushes are a perfect fit for every full or partial denture, in which case your brush just doesn't do much in the way of cleaning the interior of the appliance. If this happens, however, you may be unlikely to see better results from a regular toothbrush. The International Dental Health Foundation suggests you focus on using a "denture bath" between brushing sessions with a specially formulated soaking solution that carries the ADA seal of approval. These are useful for gently removing food and bacterial buildup, but it's essential that you rinse the denture for a full minute after soaking.
It's also necessary to remove residue from the solution itself, which can contain chemicals that are harmful to your system if left to dry on the denture.
Keeping a Fresh Mouth
Of course, it's not always enough to ensure your dentures are clean and free of bacteria; you should do the same for the natural parts of your mouth. Brush your gums daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush just as you would for natural teeth, using a gentle but effective toothpaste such as Colgate TotalSF Fresh Mint Stripe.
It's always helpful to use the right tools for the job, and a denture brush is likely your best bet for keeping full or partial dentures clean and free of foodborne bacteria.