There’s a mystery that exists with some denture wearers we have trouble understanding, and here it is: Since in many cases poor oral hygiene has been a contributing factor to their tooth loss in the first place, why is it then so hard to convince them that regular proper cleaning of their prosthetic is needed?
With some, it’s a significant challenge for the Denture Clinic to get the message across that a stringent, daily routine can help avoid all sorts of oral trouble.
We pride ourselves on our hygiene education initiatives and over the years we have had many ‘converts’, but for those who are still wavering, we’ve written this blog.
Maybe some sound clinical evidence will do the trick, so here are some lesser-known facts about dentures that you should know.
Partial and full acrylic dentures have surface pores
To the eye, the acrylic surface of a denture appears solid and unbroken, but under a microscope, pockmarks are revealed.
What does this mean to denture patients? A quick brushing every day may not be enough to clean the denture thoroughly, and even an extensive brushing may not be sufficient to reach bacteria hidden in microscopic crevices. A denture brush and foaming toothpaste may not penetrate the many hiding places that microbes find in a denture surface.
Research has isolated Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and hundreds of other garden-variety germs in acrylic dentures.
From our point of view, one of the most critical reasons patients should control denture bacteria is to help prevent unnecessary exposure to microbes that could cause oral and systemic disease.
But denture bacteria can also affect one of the most significant everyday problems patients are motivated by – bad breath. Because the body’s scent receptors become accustomed to a smell they are exposed to frequently; patients rightly fear that they may not be able to detect an odour coming from their dentures. Overnight soaking in a suitable preparation can help reduce odour-causing bacteria.
The dangers of dirty dentures – some of the germs found on acrylic dentures
Overnight soaking can kill 99.9 per cent of denture germs
Pharmacy shelves are lined with denture cleaning options, from all-natural soaking solutions to high-end ultrasonic devices. It’s easy for denture wearers to think one cleaning option is as effective as the next, and therefore choose the fastest or least expensive one. But fast may not be best. Check with our principal, Steven Burchell Dip CDT RCS(Eng) and get his advice. We have also looked at this matter in more detail in our blog post about storing your dentures.
Of course, the Denture Clinic offers a professional while-you-wait deep cleansing service for dentures if you wish.
Dry mouth and contaminated dentures
Sometimes as we get older, our mouths get dryer. In normal conditions, saliva provides a variety of protective functions and may be considered the mouth’s first line of defence against harmful bacteria.
Denture wearers with a reduced salivary flow (xerostomia) should be particularly concerned about the cleanliness of their dentures. Older patients – with or without dentures – have higher bacterial counts in their mouths.
Researchers have discovered higher counts of lactobacilli and yeasts in the saliva of older people, particularly older denture wearers.
The dangers of dirty dentures – the simple act of overnight soaking can kill most denture germs
Annual full denture check-ups are essential
As the years pass our mouths change and that’s why the initial harmonious fit of dentures can at times be compromised.
Full denture wearers need at least an annual check-up and those with partial dentures; a twice-yearly examination needs to be undertaken.
With regular monitoring oral health can be maintained, but only if the patients play their part.
Since thorough daily cleaning and routine professional follow-up can prolong the life and comfort of dentures, it has to be worth the effort.