The Disgusting Bacteria on Your Dentures (This Guide Will Shock You!)
Your mouth is a haven for bacteria. There are over 6 billion microbes in your mouth and these encompass over 700 different species. When you kiss someone, you’re not just showing them love and affection; you’re also introducing them to billions of your little friends.
It’s a scary prospect, and a very disgusting one as well. The good news is that most of those microbes are perfectly harmless. The bad news is that some of them can make you seriously ill.
As a denture wearer, you may be more prone to these problems. Bacteria can attach to your dentures and thrive on the surface, using the warmth and moisture in your mouth to grow and flourish. If you remove your dentures and leave them on a surface, you’re introducing bacteria from that surface; if you’re constantly touching them and replacing them, you’re also adding germs from everything that your hands have been in contact with.
In this guide, we’ll look at all of the harmless and harmful bacteria in your mouth and on your dentures, showing you how dangerous these microbes can be and why it’s so important to practice good oral hygiene.
If you’re squeamish, this article isn’t for you. If you’re curious about the bacteria that live in your mouth, read on!
What Bacteria is on your Dentures?
Soaking your dentures overnight using XODENT tablets can remove 99% of bacteria. That doesn’t mean that 1% will always remain, but rather that there is always a minor element of doubt, and so you’ll never find a genuine cleaning solution that claims to remove 100%.
The bacteria that denture tablets kill comes from the food that you eat, the air that you breathe, and even the bacteria that’s already in your mouth. It can also be transferred when you put your fingers in your mouth or kiss someone. Most of these germs are harmless, but there are some very dangerous microbes among them, including all of the following.
Streptococcus mutans is one of the most common and the most problematic strains of bacteria in the mouth. It is a leading cause of tooth decay and can be difficult to clean due to its proclivity for hiding in hard-to-reach areas.
It stresses the importance of cleaning every inch of your mouth and your dentures.
Streptococcus mutans thrives in the warm and moist environment of your mouth and it also feeds on sugars and starches. Streptococcus mutans produces an acid that gradually wears away the enamel and creates a toxic environment in the oral cavity. The more sugar and starches that you consume and the less that you clean your teeth, the more this bacteria will grow and produce harmful acids.
Mutans isn’t the only harmful strain of Streptococcus in your mouth.
Streptococcus gordonii, for instance, can rapidly spread across tooth surfaces, even when they are completely clean. It’s generally not a harmful bacteria when it is in the mouth, but in some cases, it can cause a condition known as acute bacterial endocarditis when it enters the bloodstream. Acute bacterial endocarditis can lead to heart valve damage and is a very serious condition.
Streptococcus bacteria constitute a sizeable percentage of the biofilm that covers your teeth and is a major cause of tooth decay. It is definitely not your friend, so keep those sugars to a minimum, and don’t feed the mutans!
Staphylococcus is a genus of bacteria often found on the skin. It can lead to Staph infections if proper hygiene isn’t practiced and some strains are closely associated with oral infections.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common Staphylococcus bacteria associated with dentures and teeth in general. It spreads from your skin to your dentures and to your mouth. The bacteria embed themselves in the pores of your dentures and that’s where they flourish.
The only way to kill this strain is to practice good hand washing and oral hygiene, making sure that you wash your hands before removing your dentures and that you thoroughly clean your dentures every night.
Lactobacillus is one of the good guys. Commonly found in fermented dairy products, including yogurt, Lactobacillus could help to reduce the damage caused by Streptococcus mutans and make your mouth a more balanced and friendlier place.
Lactobacillus makes it difficult for the bad bacteria to do its thing and if you’re consuming it in the form of dairy products, it could also help to reduce the acidity in your mouth and give you a healthy dose of tooth-friendly calcium.
Lactobacillus also plays an important role in the digestive system and it’s why you’ll see the term being advertised prominently on probiotics. It’s thought that the introduction of Lactobacillus in an individual who has low levels of healthy gut bacteria can help with an array of digestive problems and may contribute to the treatment of diarrhea, constipation, and excessive gas.
That’s not to say that the same bacteria that helps your teeth will also help your gut, though, as there are over 250 species of Lactobacillus.
Klebsiella Pneumoniae is commonly found in the intestines, where it doesn’t do any harm. However, if it finds its way into other parts of the body, including the bloodstream, it can lead to some serious and life-threatening conditions, including pneumonia. The symptoms can differ considerably depending on the site of the infection, but it’s fair to say that Klebsiella Pneumoniae is not something that you want anywhere near your mouth.
The good news is that healthy people generally have nothing to worry about when it comes to Klebsiella Pneumoniae. However, in individuals with a preexisting medical condition, Klebsiella Pneumoniae can cause serious harm. It often infects and harms people who are sick, injured, and have a compromised immune system.
The germs are not airborne and so they can’t be contracted in the same way as the flu or coronavirus. It’s also not commonly found in the mouth. Most infections are caused by contaminated medical equipment and occur in a hospital setting.
You may recognize this bacteria by its abbreviated name, E.coli. It is a very serious bacteria found in the gut of humans and animals, as well as in the environment. E.coli can make you very sick and lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, including symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. In serious cases, it could cause respiratory illnesses and pneumonia.
Most E.coli contaminations occur through fecal contact. It sounds disgusting and even a little hard to believe, but it is very common, much more than you might think.
If you use the toilet and don’t wash your hands thoroughly before touching your dentures, you could transfer E.coli bacteria. If you clean your cat’s litter tray or your child’s bottom and are just as lax with your hand hygiene then you could also be transferring this dangerous bacteria.
That’s not all, either. E.coli bacteria often find their way onto toothbrushes and other dental paraphernalia, as these are typically left out in the open in the bathroom. If there is a toilet nearby and it is flushed with the seat up, bacteria particles will disperse into the air and come to rest on nearby surfaces. If you leave your denture brush on those surfaces or inadvertently place your dentures on them, it could transfer E.coli bacteria.
If you use that brush to scrub your dentures or you simply give them a quick rinse before placing them back in your mouth, all of that E.coli will be entering your mouth.
In young and healthy people, small amounts of E.coli bacteria usually aren’t enough to cause issue. But in large quantities and in people with preexisting health conditions or weakened immune systems, it could cause serious harm.
To avoid any issues with E.coil, make sure you always wash your hands thoroughly before you handle your dentures. You should also clean your dentures if you drop them or place them on a potentially unclean surface, such as your bathroom sink or nightstand.
Treponema Denticola and Porphyromonas Gingivalis
A 2020 study on Treponema Denticola and Porphyromonas Gingivalis described them as, “proteolytic periodontopathogens that co-localize in polymicrobial subgingival plaque biofilms” which, surprisingly, is written entirely in English.
In layman’s terms, it means that these bacteria are commonly found in plaque biofilm (the “film” that rests on the surface of your teeth) and are leading factors in gum disease. Treponema Denticola and Porphyromonas Gingivalis can survive without oxygen and can multiply inside of your mouth, causing inflammation and potentially leading to severe gum disease.
Not only is gum disease a leading cause of tooth loss in the United States and the reason that many people need dentures in the first place, but it’s still a major threat to individuals who have lost their teeth and wear dentures.
These bacteria can disrupt the delicate balance in your mouth and can also work their way under the gumline, where they begin to break down the gums, teeth, and bone. As a result, the teeth may become loose as the bone depletes and the gums recede.
The less attention you pay to your oral health, the more these bacteria will flourish. It’s important to keep brushing your gums every day and to make sure you clean your dentures every night and rinse them several times, thus stopping Treponema Denticola and Porphyromonas Gingivalis in their tracks.
How to Remove Bacteria from Your Dentures
Your dentures might look solid and unblemished, but if you put them under a microscope, you’ll notice a series of small marks and pores, not unlike the surface of your skin. It’s why a rinse under the faucet is enough to remove some surface grime and other marks but isn’t enough to remove all of the bacteria. Even a brush won’t be sufficient to eradicate everything.
The microbes burrow into these little pores and wedge themselves in place. The only way to remove them is to soak your dentures in a denture cleaning solution, just like the ones sold here at XODENT.
Just fill one of our denture cleaning baths with warm water, add a denture-cleaning tablet, wait for it to disperse and do its thing, and then add your dentures. The detergent will kill 99% of the bacteria on your dentures without harming the mechanisms while the effervescent action will lift the stains and germs away.
Your dentures need to remain in this solution overnight. In the morning, just take them out and use the brush provided to give them a light scrub. At this point, you’re removing any food particles that have become trapped in the mechanisms, as well as stains that rest on the surface.
Finish by running the dentures underneath the faucet to rinse away the remaining particles, stains, and tablet residue before popping them back into your mouth.
Not only will this cleaning solution remove stains and bacteria but it will also keep your dentures moist. If you leave them on the nightstand instead of placing them in a denture bath, they may dry out, at which point they can warp and become fragile. A few weeks like this and your dentures might crack and break, greatly reducing their lifespan and leaving you in desperate need of a repair or a new set of dentures.
Can Denture Bacteria Harm You?
Denture bacteria can most certainly cause you harm and if it is allowed to flourish, the harm could be quite serious.
The most common issue is plaque and gum disease. There’s not much you can do to stop these bacteria from entering your mouth and life is a constant battle to keep them to a minimum. Plaque creates stains and decay and it also causes bad breath. If you go several days without cleaning your dentures, your mouth will begin to smell like a sewer. The worst thing is that you don’t always notice these smells yourself, but your friends, family, and anyone who gets near to you definitely will notice.
If gum disease sets in, it could lead to gum recession, which means your dentures won’t fit as snugly as they once did. You will need to pay for a realignment and if the recession continues, you may need an entirely new set of dentures.
Gum disease also greatly reduces your future options for implants and implant-supported dentures, as it’ll eat away at your gums and begin to affect your jawbone, as well.
On a more immediate note, you have to think about bacteria that could cause gastrointestinal distress and lead to problems such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and more. If you have a weakened immune system, those stomach problems could progress to something much more serious.
So, the answer is a resounding “yes”—denture bacteria can definitely cause you harm and if you’re not careful, it could be very unpleasant. However, if you’re careful and clean, and you follow the instructions provided by your dentist and shown on your denture cleaning kit, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
The bacteria will still be there, as it never goes away, but it won’t be serious, it won’t accumulate, and you’ll kill it before it has a chance to cause harm.
Summary: Bacteria on your Dentures
The number of bacteria in your mouth is similar to the entire population of earth in the year 2000, and like the population of earth, all of those germs are living their own little lives and contributing to the bigger picture in their own little ways.
They are born, they feed, they die, and they leave their mark. For the most part, these microorganisms have a positive or neutral impact. They toe the line, do their thing, and they leave new generations behind when they pass away.
But just like the population of earth, there are bad-intentioned microbes that ruin things for everyone else. These reprehensible microorganisms can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and serious illnesses, and the only way to get rid of them is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and to keep using your denture cleaning tablets!
So, remember, whether you’re tired, staying in a hotel, or sleeping at a friend’s house or partner’s house, always remove your dentures on an evening and place them in a denture bath with water and a cleaning tablet. It will remove harmful bacteria and keep your mouth fresh and your dentures clean, greatly reducing the risk of serious harm.
You should also clean your mouth every now and then. You haven’t escaped those daily cleans just because you don’t have any real teeth. You should rinse your mouth after you eat, before you go to bed, and after you wake up. A vigorous rinse with water is surprisingly effective at removing bacteria from your mouth but you can also use a little mouthwash.
It helps to brush your gums with a soft-bristled brush, as well. It stimulates blood flow, keeps your gums healthy, and removes any bacteria that your rinsing may have missed.