Not caring properly for your dental appliances can lower their lifespan and even lead to health complications. With cleaning and storage differing for specific removable oral devices, it can be tricky to determine which methods are suitable in each instance. Follow this guide to some of the popular removable oral appliances, as well as general tips, to make sure you maintain them correctly.
Caring for Removable Dentures
Removable dentures are a non-surgical solution to missing teeth that fully restore the function of your mouth. Dentures are typically worn at all times, with the exception of sleeping and oral hygiene application.
Just like your natural teeth, you should brush your dentures a minimum of two times a day. Use a denture brush rather than a regular toothbrush for a gentle, non-damaging clean. Toothpaste is also harmful to dentures, as the abrasiveness creates tiny cuts that can accumulate bacteria and food particles, making this cleaning method counterproductive. Instead, opt for a specially formulated denture cleaner or mild soap to cleanse your dentures. Avoid using hot or boiling water for brushing and rinsing purposes, as intense heat can alter the shape of dentures.
Many denture types will change shape if they get too dry, which is why dentures are generally stored overnight in a soak of either water or denture solution. This nightly surge of moisture will help your dentures maintain their shape and flexibility. Be sure to thoroughly rinse dentures before placing them back in your mouth, so you don’t come into contact with any chemicals from the overnight soak.
It should be noted that removable dentures featuring metal attachments may not hold up well in overnight soaks. Ask your dentist about the best way to store and care for your particular denture model to ensure you aren’t inadvertently damaging them.
Caring for Removable Retainers
Removable retainers help keep your teeth properly aligned and may be worn during the day or night, depending on your treatment plan. You’ll want to remove your retainer prior to eating so it stays clean and doesn’t experience plaque and food build-up.
You should wash your retainer at least twice daily. Retainers will also need to be cleaned and rinsed before placed in their protective case to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the storage container. To cleanse your retainer, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and lukewarm water (a mild soap can be added if your retainer is extra dirty). High heat can warp a retainer’s shape, so make sure any water that touches it is the right temperature. Avoid both mouthwashes with alcohol in them and bleach when washing, as these chemicals can harm the retainer’s plastic.
It’s best to keep retainers in their protective case whenever not in use to avoid both loss and damage. Storage containers will need to have holes that allow air to seep through to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. It’s important to cleanse your retainer case regularly so that bacteria buildup doesn’t transfer to the retainer itself. Make a habit of using soap and warm water to gently brush the case, drying it off before placing your retainer inside.
General Tips for Removable Oral Appliance Care
While each individual dental piece comes with its own best practices for maintaining them, the following guidelines are beneficial regardless of your appliance type:
The sooner you cleanse a dental appliance after removal, the easier it will be to rid it of grime. If you forget to wash an appliance for some time and notice a crust film has developed, try soaking it in a solution of white vinegar and warm water for around 20 minutes to loosen up bacteria and plaque before continuing with your regular washing method.
A Comprehensive Clean
Cleansing brushes don't always clarify removable dental appliances fully. You can use wet cotton swabs to reach small crevices missed by rinsing and brushing for a thorough cleaning.
The way you care for appliances can have a direct impact on your oral health. Practicing good hygiene for not just your teeth, but removable dental devices too, is essential to keeping your mouth clean and in good shape. Want to make sure your oral hygiene routine meets the mark? Reach out to Dentistry at East Piedmont today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!