How to Clean Your Dentures at Home (Alternatives)
The XODENT kit is an affordable way to clean your dentures at home. It’s cheap, it’s easy to use, and every kit comes with two basins, 2 strainers, and 2 brushes, ensuring that you have one for both you and your partner. However, there might be times when you’re caught a little short, either because you’re waiting on your first order or you have some replacement tablets on the way.
In such cases, there are a few things you can do to clean your dentures at home, keeping them fresh and bacteria-free with some simple homemade solutions.
Of course, we recommend using denture cleaning tablets whenever possible, as they are specifically designed for this purpose, but using one of the following solutions is better than skipping the cleaning altogether.
Use a Brush
A soft-bristled brush is an essential tool for cleaning your dentures. It removes plaque and pieces of food before they harden and fester, and it does this without damaging your dentures.
We include two soft-bristled brushes in all of our XODENT kits—one for you and one for your partner. You should use these twice a day to clean your dentures. When you use them is up to you, but they can be used even if you run out of XODENT tablets and other tailormade cleaning agents.
Simply run the faucet and make sure the water is warm to the touch. It shouldn’t be hot, as the goal is to gently clean and not to scold—it might work for your dishes, but it will warp your dentures. Put the dentures under the running water to wet them and remove any debris, and then run the brush them lightly.
Dip them under the faucet again, and then repeat. You need to be very gentle because your dentures are not as resilient as real teeth and they will scratch if you brush too hard. We designed our brushes to be small and gentle enough to negate this risk, but if you apply a lot of force you will still scratch them.
Make sure you cover every area of your dentures when brushing them, as opposed to simply focusing on the problematic areas and the places where you can see discoloration and trapped food. You can’t see bacteria, so just assume that every inch of your dentures is covered in it (they probably are) and give them a good brush.
Rinse everything one last time before popping them back in your mouth and then you’re good to go! It’s often best to perform this rinse and brush after every meal, or after breakfast and before you go to bed, but as long as you’re brushing gently, doing a thorough job, and cleaning at least twice a day, it will be sufficient.
If you don’t have an XODENT denture-cleaning brush to hand, you can use a normal soft-bristled toothbrush, but simply being gentle with a hard-bristled toothbrush is not a viable alternative and you should refrain from using electric toothbrushes as well.
Vinegar and Water
One of the simplest homemade denture cleaning solutions is to combine half a cup of vinegar with half a cup of warm water and then simply place your dentures inside.
Your dentures should be fully submerged, after which you can leave them for at least half an hour, giving the vinegar plenty of time to work its magic.
Vinegar is made from acetic acid, which can dissolve grease, grime, and dirt. It’s also incredibly effective at removing stains and killing bacteria. It’s not quite on par with denture cleaning tablets and as it’s not designed for regular use, you may be harming your dentures over the long-term. However, it can help as a short-term fix when you’re in a pinch.
Once an adequate amount of time has passed, just remove the dentures and give them a little brush before running them under the faucet. The brush helps to remove any stubborn stains that the vinegar loosened; the water will wash debris away and ensure that your dentures don’t taste of vinegar.
Mouthwash can be an effective cleaning agent for your dentures. It often contains alcohol, which is great for killing bacteria and will even help to remove stains and food debris, all while imparting a fresh taste. The problem is, alcohol also dries your dentures out, so it’s not advisable to leave them soaking in mouthwash overnight.
If you’re going to use mouthwash to clean your dentures, use it sparingly, don’t soak them for too long, and make sure you rinse them thoroughly afterward to remove all trace of the mouthwash.
You can use alcohol-free mouthwash as well, although it’s still not advisable to soak your dentures in such a solution.
Your dentures should always be soaked overnight. It helps to prevent them from drying out, at which point they become more prone to cracks, chips, and other problems. If you soak them in warm water, you will also lift a lot of the stains and potentially remove some of the plaque.
It’s a good alternative, but it’s not the best solution.
Water is not a disinfectant and it won’t clean your dentures in the same way as a mouthwash or a vinegar solution. Even if you remove some of the debris and get rid of some stubborn stains, that doesn’t mean you have removed the bacteria.
If you can, use distilled or filtered water. If you don’t have access to it, you can simply boil some water, wait for it to cool, and then use that. Just make sure your dentures don’t go anywhere near the water when it is hot.
As we were frequently reminded during 2020 and 2021, you can’t see bacteria and viruses with the naked eye, and yet it can get everywhere, spread with a single touch, and lead to viruses and bacterial infections.
If water is the only thing you can use right now, then it’s better than nothing and, at the very least, it will help to prevent your dentures from drying out. Just make sure you place an order for some denture tablets as soon as you can and keep plenty of these tablets on standby so that you never get caught short again.
What About Baking Soda?
Baking soda won’t do anything to disinfect your dentures, and there is no point leaving them to soak in a baking soda and water solution for a prolonged period. Some people recommend that you create a homemade toothbrush using baking soda and water, before using this to scrub your dentures.
The truth is, baking soda is a very mild abrasive at best, and it’s not really necessary. A soft bristle brush and some warm water should suffice for cleaning your dentures and removing all of those stubborn stains without the need for baking soda. Anything that is more abrasive might suffice at scrubbing away tartar, but it could also scratch your dentures and create furrows in which bacteria can hide and accumulate.
What Happens if they are Discolored?
Your dentures can become discolored if you don’t care for them. Your diet can also impact the levels of plaque and discoloration, and if you’re combining this with a lazy care schedule then your dentures may look decidedly different after just a year or two. In such cases, you may find that no amount of light brushing will help.
It’s unlikely that your dentures will get to this state if you’re using professional denture tablets like XODENT, but if you’ve skipped the dental tablets altogether and rarely rinse or brush, it can happen surprisingly quickly.
In such cases, you should book an appointment with your dentist. They can perform a professional cleaning to scrub the plaque and tartar away, and will also check to see if there are any other issues with your dentures.
Tartar forms when plaque mixes with the minerals in your saliva and forms a hard shell. It’s a major issue in people with real teeth but it can also cause problems in denture wearers, and because you can’t just reach for the teeth whitening kit, it’s a problem that tends to stick around.
Your dentist will also make sure that your dentures fit properly, accounting for any changes in the shape of your gums and mouth. Such changes are common with age. You may also lose some gum tissue and even bone density as a denture wearer, because you don’t have any teeth for your gum and bones to support.
Fortunately, cleaning and realignment are quick and easy, and it shouldn’t cost you much either.
Can You Microwave Your Dentures?
We’ve seen some people recommending that you microwave your dentures to remove bacteria. It is seemingly based on the evidence that a few minutes in the microwave is enough to kill MRSA bacteria, but it’s not without its problems.
Contrary to what you might think, putting your dentures in the microwave doesn’t damage them. Microwaves work by causing water molecules to vibrate quickly, thus generating the heat needed to cook your food. They don’t apply direct heat, and so they shouldn’t warp your dentures, but there are exceptions.
If your dentures have any metal in them, as is the case with many types of denture, you’ll almost certainly destroy them. Metal is bad at absorbing microwaves and the energy remains on the surface, generating immense heat and causing them to spark, warp, and even explode.
If you place your dentures in a bowl of water, you’ll also damage them. The microwaves will boil the water after a few minutes and this will heat and warp your dentures, just like it would if you placed them under a hot faucet or soaked them in boiling water.
Finally, when there are so many better options out there, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth microwaving your dentures at all. Denture tablets, brushing, homemade cleaning solutions—all of these will help to disinfect your dentures. In fact, denture tablets will be just as effective as spending a few minutes in the microwave, and you don’t have to worry about an unknown slither of metal exploding and warping your dentures!
There are a few quick and easy homemade denture solutions that we would recommend, but this is definitely not one of them.
What About Bleach?
Although bleach is a very good disinfectant, it is one of the worst things you can use to clean your dentures. Not only can it damage them, but you’ll also be putting them in your mouth and even small amounts of residual bleach can be dangerous.
We have all gotten a little more liberal with bleach thanks to the pandemic, but it wasn’t necessary then (soap is enough to kill most viruses) and it’s definitely not necessary now. Why resort to something so drastic and potentially harmful when a simple denture tablet will do the same job?
What Happens if I Drop Them?
If you drop your dentures onto the dirty floor, you should first make sure that they aren’t damaged and are still intact, otherwise, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
If they are intact but just really dirty, the methods outlined above will still suffice. Denture tablets will kill 99% of the bacteria on your dentures and the vinegar solution will do the same job, albeit to a lesser extent.
It’s pretty horrifying to think that you’ll be putting those dentures in your mouth after they have been on the floor, and it’s even worse if you were unlucky enough to drop them on the bathroom floor or even the street, but these solutions are still anti-bacterial so they will work.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Dentures?
There is nothing wrong with skipping a single day. It’s generally recommended that you soak overnight, rinse often, and brush at least twice a day, but you’re not going to destroy the dentures or your mouth just by leaving them in for a single day.
However, if you do this often, or you don’t take the time to brush thoroughly or use disinfectant cleaning solutions, then you could face a number of issues:
- Dry Dentures: Your dentures are designed to be worn and to be soaked when they’re not in use. Leaving them exposed to the open air makes them vulnerable and could reduce their lifespan.
- Oral Thrush: When you don’t clean your dentures properly, you introduce bacteria to your mouth, and this could cause oral thrush. It’s a relatively benign issue but it can be more serious in individuals with compromised immune systems. Oral thrush is more common in people with stomatitis, a condition whereby the mucous membranes in the mouth become inflamed.
- Bad Breath: Bacteria stinks, and if you’re not cleaning your mouth and your dentures properly, it will grow, fester, harden, and give you terrible breath! You might not notice it yourself, but other people around you certainly will, and most of them will be too polite to say anything. To check if you have bad breath or not, simply place your dentures in a ziplock bag and wait for a couple of minutes before opening the bag and taking a sniff. The malodourous wall that hits you in the face is exactly what other people are smelling when you get close to them.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: The human mouth is full of bacteria and more is being introduced all of the time. It’s pretty resilient, and although it’s disgusting to imagine all of the things that could be transferred to your mouth from your dentures, most won’t actually cause you any distress. However, there are exceptions, and if a large dose of bacteria finds its way onto your dentures, or you have a weakened immune system, then you could find yourself with some serious intestinal issues.
Summary: Cleaning Your Dentures
When you purchase an XODENT kit, you can add a supply of 180 tablets to your order and make a note to reorder when the time comes. You’ll get a 30-day supply of tablets with your XODENT kit and the 180 tablets will keep your dentures clean for another 6 months. We’ll even send you a friendly reminder 6 months after your order to let you know that it’s time to re-stock.
For those 7 months, your dentures will be as clean as they can be. These tablets kill 99% of all bacteria, including those responsible for bad odors, and they will also remove stains and plaque. You will even get a couple of soft-bristle brushes, which are perfect for removing stubborn particles from your dentures.
If you live alone or you’re the only denture-wearer in your household, you can use the second wash basin, strainer, and brush (included in every kit) to create a travel kit. Just add a few tablets, put everything in a little carrying case or bag, and grab it whenever you leave the house.
You’ll never need to miss another clean, even when you’re at a friend’s house or hotel.