Dental plate hygiene is about more than just quickly brushing and soaking for a few minutes every other day. For many people who need partial or full dental plates, poor oral hygiene may have contributed to tooth loss and may remain challenging even after dental plates are fitted and installed. The following are a few key reasons for adopting stringent dental plate hygiene practices:
Surface pores on dental plates
If you examined your dental plate under a microscope, you would see many microscopic pores, which can entrap tiny food particles and form breeding ground for bacteria. Even thorough brushing may be insufficient to properly clean the denture, especially within these pores.
While you may argue that even your natural teeth are filled with germs, consider that your body's immune system prevents proliferation of these germs – something you don't have with artificial dental plates. Bacteria can therefore reproduce unchecked, resulting in oral and other diseases. In addition, this leaves you vulnerable to bad breath, something that can adversely affect your social life.
Importance of overnight soaking
Pharmacies have many options for soaking dentures, but the best are those that are designed for overnight soaking. Overnight soaks provide sufficient time for the antiseptic solution to reach into the crevices of the dental plate and kill off all the bacteria accumulated during the day. Quick-fix cleaning is not enough, though this can be used for daytime cleaning – to freshen up before a social engagement for instance.
Dry mouth poses additional risk with poor hygiene
Dry mouth is a common ailment among the older population, especially since it is also a side effect of many medications. Research shows that about 21% of elderly people have dry mouth. Saliva production is the mouth's first line of defence against disease-causing bacteria. Therefore, if you have dry mouth and wear partial or full dental plates, you have to take extra care with your dental hygiene. There are different oral moisturizers that can be prescribed by your hygienist to relieve extreme cases of xerostomia. However, thorough cleaning several times a day is mandatory to keep bacteria at bay.
Older patients have higher bacterial counts
Partly because of decline in salivary production and reduced immunity, older patients have higher bacterial counts in their mouths, necessitating more stringent oral hygiene practices. This may be a challenge for patients who need extra support to care for themselves. Caregivers of such patients should oversee their dental hygiene regimens. Your hygienist can also recommend less manual options like stationary brushes and denture wipes if you're experiencing problems with manual dexterity.
For more information about caring for your dental plate and keeping it clean, contact a local dental clinic.