Denture Cleanliness Might Be Lacking

Denture hygiene levels low but knowledge high in survey of removable partial dentures wearers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) People with dentures to replace missing teeth need to regularly clean their dentures to maintain good oral health. A new study suggests that some denture wearers may need to learn more about denture care.

The study looked at both denture wearers' habits and a professional opinion on the wearers' denture hygiene.

The researchers found that while almost all participants were educated on hygiene when they received their dentures, less than half had good levels of denture hygiene.

"Ask your dentist about daily denture care."

Led by Paul Milward, of the Cardiff University School of Dentistry in Cardiff, Wales, the researchers behind this new study set out to measure the knowledge and care habits of people who wear dentures.

"Regular good denture hygiene by individuals with removable partial dentures (RPDs) is an important component of oral health and in the prevention of further dental problems," the study authors explained.

Milward and team had 196 RPD wearers complete a questionnaire on denture hygiene during 2012. The participants were all patients at three dental units in Wales and were all non-smokers.

The average age of RPD wearer was 62.8 years old, but participants ranged in age from 27 to 91 years old.

The questionnaire also included a section that was filled out by the clinician or student that saw the patient that day. The clinician provided information on the patient's RPD cleanliness.

The researchers found that 91.8 percent of participants reported being given instructions on denture hygiene and care when they received their current RPD.

However, based on the clinicians' reports, only 39.8 percent of participants were found to have a "good" level of denture cleanliness. The other 60.2 percent of the participants were determined to have a "poor" to "moderate" level of denture cleanliness.

Milward and team found a link between how often participants reported cleaning their dentures and how clean the clinicians reported their RPDs to be. For example, 0 percent of the RPD wearers who reported cleaning their dentures once a day were found to have a good level of cleanliness. In comparison, 86.9 percent of those who reported cleaning their dentures three times a day were found to have a good level of cleanliness.

"A lack of knowledge surrounding denture hygiene was demonstrated among participants," the researchers wrote.

"As a part of the audit process the health education of RPD wearers' hygiene needs to be improved and awareness levels of the whole dental team needs to be raised. All partial dentures should receive information and regular reinforcement of key dental hygiene messages," they wrote.

In an interview with dailyRx News, Dana Fort, DDS, who runs private dental practices in Illinois, explained that without proper care, a build-up of plaque can develop and lead to infection and the loss of more teeth.

"Dentures may be cleaned using a commercial denture tablet or non-abrasive dishwashing soap and scrubbed with a toothbrush. Never use toothpaste to clean dentures as it can create scratches in the denture, providing a place for bacteria to grow," Dr. Fort explained. "It is best to clean the dentures after every meal and remove them before bed."

This was a fairly small study and further research is needed to confirm the findings.

This study was published online November 15 in the British Dental Journal. No conflicts of interest were noted.

Review Date: 
November 20, 2013
Last Updated:
December 30, 2013