Remember the post about why you really need to clean your retainers?
The same goes for dentures – any removable appliance or prosthetic, really – for they’re just as apt to harbor pathogenic microbes and provide more surface for them to cover. These “bad bugs” include the microbes involved in dental disease and others such as MRSA. These aren’t just confined to the mouth, either. They can be breathed into the lungs, as well.
So how best to clean them and keep them biofilm-free? (“Biofilm” is the official name of the gunk we used to call “plaque,” which consists of living microbes.)
A recent study in JADA evaluated three methods, two of which the authors found effective: zapping them in a microwave oven (3 minutes at 650 watts) and soaking in chlorhexidine (10 minutes). According to the abstract,
Soaking in chlorhexidine gluconate solution and microwave irradiation resulted in complete disinfection of all dentures contaminated with MRSA in both the short and the long term. Soaking in sodium hypochlorite solution was effective only as a short-term disinfectant.
Keep in mind, though, that “long term” here means a week. Still, once a week disinfection is more convenient than daily, right?
Also keep in mind that nuking a full denture or partial containing metal – NOT a good idea. Seriously. (Likewise with many made from acrylics, as the process is apt to be detrimental to the stability of their chemistry.)
Chlorhexidine is safe, but it also has a tendency to stain. But though this study didn’t look at any herbal rinses, they could have the same cleansing effect, since some have proven to be at least as effective as chlorhexidine in controlling oral flora. But we’re extrapolating here…
And even so, there’s nothing wrong with regular cleaning: a soak in denture cleaner and a good scrubbing. It just needs to be done on a daily basis.(You’ll find the ADA’s denture care tips here.)
Image by xcode, via Flickr