Plaque On Dentures Can Make You Sick
Everyone knows that plaque on teeth can cause cavities and gum disease, but what about the plaque on dentures? The plaque on a denture is what microbiologists call a “biofilm”—a community of bacteria and fungi attached to a hydrated surface embedded in a sugary slime. The germs that make up these biofilms are associated with the most serious infections in the body and because they grow on the surface of the denture and not in the body, they can elude the immune system and antibiotics. The real danger of these biofilms occurs when pieces break off, travel throughout the body, and become a source of infection—like pneumonia in the lungs.
Theses things are essential to keep your denture from making you sick:
- Don’t wear your denture at night. It has recently been shown that people that wear dentures at night double their risk of pneumonia. Store it in water overnight.
- Brush the plaque off in the morning. Use a denture brush and mild soap to clean before putting it in your mouth. It can get slippery, so make sure you take precautions not to drop it on the tile floor.
- Don’t use toothpaste, it scratches the surfaces and makes it more difficult to clean as bacteria adheres easier to a rough surface. Also, there are some denture materials that actually repel bacteria with a special anionic charged surface or coating.
Sometimes it may be necessary to:
- Soak your denture at home in a prescription mouthwash daily for 20 minutes after dinner or once a week with very dilute bleach. Be careful not to do this too often or have the concentration too strong because bleach can make your denture turn white.
- Your denture can be sanitized, disinfected, and even sterilized with ultrasonic, microwave, or concentrated soaking at your yearly check up. If you have an immunocompromised condition, antifungal ointment or tablets may be prescribed.
Dr Rodney Andrus is Southern Utah’s ONLY Board Certified Prosthodontist (an ADA recognized specialist in all types of dentures and oral rehabilitation) and provides expert solutions for Adults with advanced dental needs at St George Center for Specialized Dentistry in St George, UT. For more information you can call his office at 435-674-3100.