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How to clean dentures

How to clean dentures & false teeth

Step by step guide

  1. Remove denture from the mouth.
  2. Rinse denture with water.
  3. Use a soft bristled brush and warm water to remove food and other debris — the denture should have no visible deposits on it.
  4. Denture cleaning cream is optional. Hand soap or washing up liquid are alternatives. Do not use toothpaste.
  5. Brush the outside surface including all the bite surfaces, and in all the nooks and crannies of the denture. 
  6. Brush the fitting surface. This is important as this is the surface that will fit to the gums. 
  7. Remove all adhesive material and all food particles.
  8. Rinse denture and brush with water.
  9. Once daily — soak denture in liquid denture cleaner (liquid, powder or effervescent tablet). Length of time depends on the product used.
  10. Leave dentures out overnight.
Dentures being cleaned with denture brush

How to use denture cleansing tablets and powders

  • Fill glass or pot with lukewarm water.
  • Add liquid solution, one tablet or sachet of powder to the water (following manufacturers guidelines).
  • Brush denture then place the denture in the water. Make sure the denture is fully covered with the solution.
  • Soak following manufacturers guidelines – this could be up to 5 mins, an hour, or overnight.
  • Remove the denture from the solution and rinse well under water before replacing the denture in the mouth.
Denture cleaning solution being added to a denture bath
Denture powder being added to a denture bath

Useful tips and advice for denture cleaning

In the sections below I’ve included important information that will help you to take care of your dentures.

You may also find my post on the best denture cleaners helpful.

Keeping dentures clean reduces the risk of tooth decay and other problems

Dentures are another surface for buildup of plaque and food debris. Leaving this plaque on the denture can increase your risk of dental decay. 

Keeping dentures clean will reduce the risk of tooth decay in any teeth or roots still in the mouth.

Dentures can also harbour other bacteria and fungi which can lead to irritated gums and even lead to oral thrush and denture stomatitis.

Denture cleaning solutions have an even greater benefit if you are at risk of getting oral thrush, for example if you have diabetes. This is because some chemical cleaning is needed to remove Candida, the fungus that causes oral thrush.

There is some evidence that poorly cleaned dentures can increase the risk of developing pneumonia. Wearing dentures overnight has been associated with a 2.38-fold higher increase in pneumonia in older and frail people. Cleaning dentures as thoroughly as possible can decrease this risk.

It is important you clean dentures to remove the plaque and protect your mouth against diseases.

Fully removing plaque from your denture will also help to prevent staining build up on the denture over time.

You should clean your dentures daily

You should clean your dentures everyday.

Dentures should be cleaned thoroughly once per day. This means cleaning them with a brush (with or without paste) and using a chemical soak too.

If the dentures get a lot of food trapping, they should be cleaned after eating to remove food debris.

As a dentist, I advise that the best time for thoroughly cleaning them is in the evening. Take your dentures out before bed, when you brush your teeth. Brush the denture and soak it. Leave your denture out overnight. That way you have a clean denture when you put it back in the next day.

Denture brush being used to clean denture
The small head of the denture brush being used to clean inside a small space

Chemical cleaners are better than just water alone

Whilst there is no evidence to support cream cleaners (similar to a toothpaste), there is a clear benefit of soaking a denture every day.

Denture cleaning creams don’t kill bugs left on dentures. But they can be used if you like the fact that they freshen your denture and leave a nice taste.

Denture cleaning solutions are able to chemically break down any plaque left on the denture after brushing. 

These help to disinfect dentures on top of the physical cleaning from brushing. They can kill bacteria and fungus in a way that denture creams, soaps, salts, vinegar, and sodium bicarbonate can not.

Some aspects of cleaning are more important than others

Physical brushing should be done every day. 

But using a denture cleaning cream doesn’t have any real health benefits for most people so could be skipped. 

Soaking in a chemical solution is more beneficial than not soaking.

Whilst it is okay to occasionally skip soaking, I would recommend you do not skip this stage.

Always make sure dentures are brushed and left out overnight.

How to clean dentures 1
A denture being placed in a soaking solution

Leave your dentures out overnight

You do not need to soak your denture all night, but you do need to leave them out overnight.

Some older denture materials need to be kept damp which is why many people think they need to soak dentures overnight.

Newer plastic dentures do not need to be soaked overnight. Store them in a pot to keep them safe. 

That said keeping the dentures damp will not cause any major damage.

Only overnight soak in solutions designed for that purpose. 

Soaking in water will not have any benefit to your denture. Dentures shouldn’t be stored in mouthwash as alcohol in the mouthwash can damage the denture surface. Soaking overnight in a denture cleaner can help reduce the amount of bacteria on your denture.

For metal dentures, some soaking solutions should be avoided

Metal dentures should be cleaned in the same way as plastic dentures: brush at least once a day, a daily soak in cleaning solution, and leave them out overnight. 

The only difference is that certain soaking solutions should be avoided for metal dentures. This includes denture bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and acid based cleaners. They can tarnish the metal on the denture. 

Other tablets and powders may not be suitable, so check the packaging before use if you have a metal denture.

About Gemma Wheeler

GDC number: 259369. Gemma qualified from Cardiff University School of Dentistry with BDS(Hons) in 2015. She went on to complete her Foundation Training and a further two years in the Armed Forces, primarily based around Wiltshire. She now works in a private practice in Plymouth.

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