One in five Americans wears either full or partial dentures. Cleaning dentures thoroughly is important not only for the sake of appearance, but also to avoid mouth odor and fungal infection. Along with bacteria and stains, denture wearers have to contend with calcium build-up. Like tartar build-up on teeth, calcium build-up on dentures is difficult to remove with normal cleansing and brushing.
Maintain your dentures regularly to minimize calcium build-up. Remove and rinse your dentures after every meal. Make sure all food particles are washed away. Brush your dentures at least once a day with a soft brush and mild soap, dishwashing soap or denture cleaner to remove food and calcium deposits. Soak your dentures overnight, every night, in water or cleaning solution. Brush your tongue, gums and natural teeth with fluoride toothpaste to minimize plaque and calcium formation. Rinse your dentures well before you put them back into your mouth.
If calcium deposits do form on your dentures despite regular cleaning and soaking, you can try adding one teaspoon of Calgon water softener to a glass containing a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts tap water. This solution will disinfect your dentures and remove calcium build-up. Soak your dentures for 20 to 30 minutes. If your dentures contain any metal parts, don’t add the bleach because the metal can become discolored.
If you don’t want to use bleach, try a solution of vinegar diluted 50:50 with water as a way to remove calcium build-up on your dentures. Soak your dentures in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes. The vinegar also disinfects your dentures while it dissolves the calcium deposits. If some calcium deposits remain after soaking, you can usually brush most of the build-up away. You may have to soak your dentures repeatedly if calcium formation is heavy. Don’t use this method if you use partial dentures with metal parts because vinegar can corrode the metal.
If you are unable to remove heavy calcium formation from your dentures after repeatedly using the methods above, take them into your dentist and have them cleaned professionally.
Because dentures can be made of a variety of materials, always ask your dentist which soaking solution is best for cleaning your dentures. Some denture materials can absorb tastes and flavors. The soaking solution you use may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Always perform a test soak of a few minutes whenever you use a new cleaning solution to make sure the solution does not harm your dentures or leave a bad taste.