By 2050 there are expected to be two billion people aged 60 or older. This is more than double today’s figure. The older you are, the more likely you are to have lost all, or nearly all, your natural teeth.

This means the demand for full or partial dentures is expected to increase.

A comprehensive review of scientific and evidence-based research has found contradictory guidance and a lack of consistency in the recommendations for cleaning and maintaining dentures.

We have therefore developed global guidelines on optimal denture care, so that correct advice can be given to patients.

Key findings

The report, which received an educational grant from GSK, focuses on a number of issues, including; the challenges denture-wearers face, problems with current guidance and the evidence which is available. Some of the main findings include:

  • A lack of denture cleanliness can lead to poorer oral health, as well as general health problems.
  • The general cleaning habits of denture-wearers remains poor.
  • People with dentures are using a variety of ways to clean their dentures. This ranges from soap and water to toothpastes, bleaches and commercial products.
  • Recommendations to both dental professionals and denture wearers vary between countries and within a country, and usually rely on personal experience. Also, opinion leaders provide contradictory guidance for cleaning and maintaining dentures.

Summary of guidelines

The guidelines are supported by best evidence and based on consensus from key international experts.

Four key steps to optimal denture care, summarised in the below graphic and available in full here, were concluded:

  1. Daily cleaning of the dentures using mechanical action – brushing with a toothbrush or denture brush and an effective, non-abrasive denture cleanser (no dentifrice).

  2. Daily soaking in a denture-cleansing solution – this seems to deliver extra chemical breakdown of the remaining plaque and some level of disinfection of the denture. Denture-cleansing solutions should only be used outside the mouth, and denture wearers should strictly follow the manufacturers’ guidelines.

  3. Denture wearers should not keep their dentures in the mouth overnight, unless there are specific reasons for keeping them in. This guideline is even more important for people at a higher risk of developing stomatitis and for frail or institutionalised older people. Soaking in a denture cleanser solution after mechanical cleaning seems to be beneficial for preventing denture stomatitis and the potential risk of pneumonia events in these groups of people.

  4. All patients who wear removable dentures should be enrolled into a regular recall and maintenance programme with their dental professional.

Resources


Useful information


    Acknowledgements

    Funding for the development of these guidelines was provided by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare to the Oral Health Foundation. No editorial control, apart from ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory considerations/requirements, has been exercised by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.