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5 tips from a prosthodontist on denture care for the elderly in your family

Published on:17 October 2020, 15:56pm IST
Dentures are a life-long commitment. Help the elderly in your family lead a quality life with these denture care tips, courtesy a prosthodontist.
Dr Saloni Mistry
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With dentures, come great responsibility. Image courtesy: Pexels
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Our teeth play an inevitable role in your lives. Whether it is to chew our favourite foods, make a warm appearance through a beautiful smile, or converse with clarity—we just can’t do without our teeth.

However, certain factors might lead to loss of tooth. Adults should bear in mind that a permanent tooth that is lost is lost forever. While there won’t be a stand-in tooth sprouting from the gums to replace a missing tooth, a removable replacement can be made to take the place of the absent tooth. This saving piece is called dentures.

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Today, 1 in every 7 adults above the age of 45 years wear a denture in India. Dentures (also called as artificial teeth) improve quality of life of denture wearers as they help restore smile, lifestyle and comfort.

Unfortunately, most denture wearers provide little focus to the health and hygiene of dentures. It is important to maintain a daily routine of denture hygiene to prevent a multitude of problems like malodour (unpleasant smell), poor aesthetics, and the accumulation of plaque with its severe effects on the mucosa.

So if you have someone in the family who wears dentures, then these nifty tips will help you take care of them and live a full life:

1. Brush and rinse dentures daily, but not with toothpaste

Toothpaste is abrasive and creates microscopic scratches on dentures where food and plaque can build up. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food and plaque. This also helps to prevent the development of permanent stains on the dentures.

denture care
Not just your teeth but brush your dentures properly as well. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Use a brush with soft bristles that is specifically designed for cleaning dentures. Rinse the denture after every meal.

2. Clean with a denture cleanser

While cleaning dentures seems obvious, only seven per cent of denture wearers in India have used a denture cleanser in the last one year. Soaking them daily in a denture cleansing solution delivers extra chemical breakdown of the remaining plaque and some level of disinfection of the denture.

Denture cleansing solutions should only be used outside the mouth. Use a cleanser which is non-toxic, easy to remove, harmless to denture wearer if accidentally spilled, and harmless to denture base material.

3. Ensuring a comfortable fit is key

Some denture wearers face uneasiness and discomfort due to the fitting of their dentures. A denture fixative or adhesive helps in these cases by providing a good fit and comfort to denture wearers.

These agents stick readily to both the tissue surface of the denture and gums. When saliva mixes with adhesive material, it expands and fills voids between the denture base and gum tissue—thus providing a good retention force.

4. Take proper care of your dentures even when you are not wearing them

Dentures need to be kept moist when not being worn so that they do not dry out or lose their shape. When not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Dentures should never be placed in hot water, which can cause them to warp.

To avoid accidentally dropping dentures, stand over a folded towel or a full sink of water when handling them.

denture care
Preserve that smile with properly fit dentures. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Brush your gums and tongue and before wearing the dentures

It is essential for adults wearing dentures to brush gums,tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush every morning before putting the dentures in. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth.

Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay. Clean, rest, and massage your gums regularly.

In the end, remember…

The fitting of dentures should not be considered the final stage of tooth replacement, but the beginning of a long relationship between denture wearer and dentist to maintain the health of oral tissues.

It is important that the dentist explains and motivates the denture wearer to maintain oral health. At the same time, the attitude of the denture wearer is important to maintain a daily routine of denture hygiene too.

Daily care of oral hygiene, cleaning and proper use of dentures, use of denture fixative and adhesive are all a lifelong commitment. It might sound a lot to begin with, but eventually it results in making you smile.

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Dr Saloni Mistry Dr Saloni Mistry

Dr Saloni Mistry graduated from GDC Mumbai and completed her Masters from Nair Hospital Dental College. Currently she heads the Department of Prosthodontics at Y.M.T Dental College and Hospital, Navi Mumbai. She has an academic and clinical experience of 20 years to her credit.