A beautiful smile can be a defining feature, and it makes sense that we’d want to preserve it well into our later years. This also puts into perspective how losing our natural dental makeup can affect our confidence and overall quality of life.
Fortunately, you or your older loved ones can regain your allure with dentures and prosthetic devices designed to replace lost natural teeth. Dentures can be partial or complete and are constructed to look exactly like natural teeth.
Even though dentures are usually made from artificial materials, such as acrylic plastic, nylon, and metal, they still require adequate care and maintenance – just like natural teeth.
At Seasons Retirement, we ensure that our residents can access the resources needed to maintain an optimal level in every aspect of their well-being, including their oral health.
It is not enough to brush the dentures; there are other steps your older relatives must take to keep this prosthetic device in good condition. This piece will teach you everything you need about denture care, especially for older adults.
Like natural teeth, removable dentures require adequate care to remain clean and in good shape. Failure to clean dentures can cause plaque accumulation – a sticky film of bacteria that forms after eating or drinking – which increases the risk of oral health issues for your older ones.
Below are some total points on how to clean dentures effectively.
After each meal, users should use water to rinse out and remove food particles and debris from their dentures. As a preventative measure, placing a towel in the basin or sink would also be a good idea to prevent the dentures from breaking if they drop.
Older adults should brush their dentures at least once daily using a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive denture cleaner.
If they use denture adhesive, they should brush the gums to remove any remaining glue. Note that denture cleaners cannot and should not be used inside the mouth.
Dentures are delicate and can break quite easily. Hence, your older loved ones should not bend or apply excessive pressure on the denture’s clasps while cleaning it.
If the prosthetic device breaks, it is best not to attempt to fix it, as this could end up worsening the damage.
After removing their dentures for routine cleaning, users should also engage in their routine to clean their mouth and natural teeth with a soft toothbrush. They could also use gauze to clean the tongue, cheeks, gum, and palate.
If denture adhesive remains in their gums, it should be removed before returning the dentures.
Most dentures need moisture to maintain their shape. Hence, it is advisable for older adults always to put their dentures in a mild soaking solution – or at least water – throughout the night.
They can also check with their dentist on how to store their dentures overnight or refer to the manufacturer’s instructions manual for guidance.
As mentioned earlier, a denture cleaning solution is not safe for ingestion. This is because these solutions may contain harmful chemicals. Hence, older adults should rinse their dentures thoroughly with water before putting them back in their mouths.
Upon visiting their dentist, your parents or grandparents will usually have their dentures checked and professionally cleaned. Their dentist can also help assess the effectiveness of their daily cleaning practices and give them new tips on how to take care of dentures.
In Ontario and Alberta, the provincial governments have made provisions to cover the dental care needs of older adults; your older relatives should consider taking advantage of these benefits if they haven’t already done so.
Just as there are beneficial practices for denture care, specific procedures and materials must be avoided by older adults when caring for their dentures, and they include:
Your older loved ones must refrain from using hard-bristled toothbrushes, strong denture cleaners, and harsh toothpaste because they are too abrasive and could damage their dentures.
Like natural teeth, they can also stain removable dentures. However, using teeth whitening or bleaching products will do nothing to clean stains and may weaken the dentures instead.
Your parents or grandparents should consult their dentist for professional denture cleaning if their dentures become discoloured. Reducing the intake of beverages, such as coffee, tea, and so on, is also essential to caring for dentures while avoiding staining them.
Denture users must avoid using hot water to clean their dentures, as the high temperature could distort the device’s shape.
No matter how tempting the idea may seem when feeling tired, sleeping without removing dentures is never a good idea.
Taking off their dentures at night helps older adults rest their gums, reducing the risk of inflammation. This also serves as the perfect time to let the dentures soak overnight.
Although most dentists recommend that older adults clean their dentures at least once a day, there is no harm in brushing them twice daily. Brushing in the morning and before sleeping at night is the best way to clean dentures.
There is no need to use toothpaste to clean the dentures, as a denture cleaner is more suitable. However, your parents or grandparents should use toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush to clean their tongues and gums twice a day. This practice will help their gums remain healthy and avoid other conditions like halitosis.
In addition, your loved ones can use mouthwash specifically produced for denture wearers to clean their dentures. This will contribute significantly to your older loved one’s oral health.
Besides helping your parents or grandparents gain confidence in their smiles, regular and proper denture care is essential for oral health. The instructions in this article should be an excellent reference for your older ones to follow and keep their dentures in good working condition.