Keeping a denture or bridge clean

Why is this important?

Just like natural teeth, dentures and bridges collect bits of food, plaque and tartar.

Therefore, it is important to keep your dentures and bridges clean, so that you can help prevent gum disease and stop decay in any natural teeth.

Good denture hygiene can also help to prevent oral thrush, which is an infection that sometimes occurs when people wear dentures. Thrush is more likely to develop if you wear the denture all the time.

It is relatively easy to clean a denture, as you can take it out of your mouth. Although, cleaning all round and underneath a fixed bridge is harder, your dentist will show you the best way to do this.

How do I clean a denture?

  • To ensure that you do not break the denture, you should clean it over a basin of water
  • You should thoroughly clean the denture everyday and ensure that you use a soft-to-medium toothbrush, so that the denture is not scratched. You can use your normal toothpaste or soap and water. Be sure to rinse the denture when you have finished cleaning it
  • There are also denture-soaking solutions available, but you should ask your dentist about using these. Soaking a denture will not clean it completely and it will still need to be brushed. After using the solution, you should rinse the denture before you put it back in your mouth
  • Remember to take the denture out at night to let your mouth rest. When you are not using the denture you should either put it in clean water or a denture-soaking solution

How do I clean a bridge?

It is important that you clean underneath the bridge as well as using the normal proceedure of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at each end of the bridge. However, there are different ways of cleaning a bridge depending on where it is in the mouth and its design. You might need to use:

  • a special floss with a stiff end which you can poke underneath the bridge and pull through;
  • 'bottle brushes' (your dentist will tell you what size and shape to buy);
  • water jets - sending a stream of water underneath the bridge