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A close up of a soft toothbrush and dentures, as it's important to remove dentures to brush them for correct denture care and cleaning and remove them for repair, even when using Fixodent.

Frequently Asked Questions about Denture Care, Cleaning, and Repair

3 minutes to read

Posted: Jul 16, 2021

It is only natural to think that you might treat your dentures the same way you would treat your teeth, but because dentures are made of plastic, you don’t. Here are some answers to help keep your dentures white and your mouth healthy provided by the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP).

How do I get dark stains off my dentures? Can I whiten my dentures?

Answer: It isn’t advisable to try to “whiten” your dentures the way you might with natural teeth, as they are made of plastic and will not “whiten” in the same way. However, in order to minimize staining, be sure to properly clean your dentures every day to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing will help prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and will keep your mouth healthy. A toothbrush with soft bristles, such as an Oral-B® toothbrush, also may be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes, which can damage your dentures by scratching the acrylic plastic and making the teeth dull and less shiny. The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage. Also, your dentures may be soaked in denture-cleansing solution that is available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Make sure to follow the directions on the cleanser packaging closely. If your dentures have a soft lining layer on the inner surface of the denture, you may not be able to use these denture-cleansing solutions. If you have further questions about exactly how to cleanse your dentures or if you may use a cleansing solution, ask your dentist or prosthodontist. To locate a prosthodontist, a dentist who specializes in denture care, near you, visit www.gotoapro.org online. Learn more about denture adhesive creams here.

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists.

What is the best product for cleaning dentures? The products I use only lighten them a little. Can Clorox® be used in a diluted form? I wish I could get my dentures white.

Answer: Household bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which can severely discolor your dentures over time, and also reduces the strength of the denture base and denture teeth. We do not recommend using bleach products for this reason. It is not possible to whiten dentures like natural teeth because dentures are made of plastic. To minimize staining, properly clean your dentures daily to remove food and plaque bacteria. Brushing with a denture brush or soft toothbrush will prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and keep your mouth healthy. Moisten the brush and apply a nonabrasive denture paste (regular toothpaste is too abrasive). Brush every surface, inside and out, scrubbing gently. A variety of over-the-counter denture-cleanser products may be safely used (by following the manufacturer’s instructions) to remove most stains. However, more stubborn stains may require removal by your dentist or prosthodontist, a specialist in denture care and maintenance. To locate a prosthodontist near you, visit www.gotoapro.org.

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists.

What is the best way to clean and store your dentures overnight?

Answer: To minimize staining, properly clean your dentures daily to remove food and plaque bacteria. Brushing with a denture brush or soft toothbrush will prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and will keep your mouth healthy. Moisten the brush and apply a nonabrasive denture paste (regular toothpaste is too abrasive). Brush every surface, inside and out, scrubbing gently. A variety of over-the-counter denture-cleanser products may be safely used (by following the manufacturer’s instructions) to remove most stains. Do not use toothpaste, as it is designed to be used on teeth, and often contains materials and chemicals that help whiten and strengthen teeth. It may harm dentures, which are made of a very durable plastic. Even though the plastic is strong, it is not as strong as the enamel of teeth and may be scratched by using toothpaste to clean your dentures. After rinsing dentures thoroughly, soak your them in a water-based cleaning solution overnight.

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists.

My mother is 85 and lives in a nursing home. Her dentures are probably 40 years old and very yellow. She will not consider getting new dentures because of her age and health. She uses denture cleaner daily. Is there any type of "whitening" or deep cleaning for old dentures?

Answer: Because the material used to make dentures is a type of plastic, it is very porous and tends to pick up stains. If your mother’s dentures are 40 years old, the stains are longstanding and might be impossible to totally remove. More stubborn stains on dentures, such as those caused by colas, tea, and coffee, might require removal by your dentist or prosthodontist, a specialist in denture care and maintenance. He or she will use effective cleaning solutions in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove many of those tough stains. It is in your mother’s best interest to have her mouth and dentures examined annually to maintain her health. At that time, a dental professional will clean her dentures. If her health prevents her from visiting a dentist or prosthodontist, call the office and ask to bring her dentures in for cleaning after explaining her limitations. To locate a prosthodontist near you, visit www.gotoapro.org.

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists.

My lower dentures broke in half. What is the cost to repair my dentures?

Answer: Dental procedures and costs vary widely based on many factors such as difficulty and the condition of your denture as well as your bone and gums. The best way to determine fees for service is to visit with your dentist or prosthodontist and discuss the care you may need. The best solution is to return to the dentist or prosthodontist who made your dentures and have the broken denture repaired professionally. It may seem easy to fix, but it is important that the repair is done correctly to prevent problems with chewing and to avoid any sore spots. The doctor also needs to check the denture and adjust it after it is repaired. There is also a chance that the denture is too old and no longer fits closely to your gums, and you may need a new one. To find a dentist who is a specialist who has extra training in making dentures, visit www.gotoapro.org.

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists.