Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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What Can You Do About Smelly Dentures?

Have you noticed an odor when you remove your dentures at night? Maybe friends or family members have begun to shy away from you when you talk because of the noxious smell coming from your mouth. Smelly dentures are a common problem and are nothing to be ashamed of. The issue tends to creep up over time, so it can get pretty bad before you actually notice it. Here are some tips and tricks for getting rid of the odor.

Brush your dentures.

If you're just soaking your dentures overnight, you're not quite doing enough to clean them. Bacteria and food particles can get stuck in the smaller grooves in the dentures. Then, they essentially rot and release smelly odors. To remove these ground-in particles, you'll need to brush your dentures.

Take a toothbrush (you may want to use a different one from the one you use to brush your teeth), and apply some toothpaste. Then, give your dentures a thorough scrub while they are out of your mouth. Behave as though you are brushing actual teeth. Go up and down, side to side, and in circular motions. This ensures you hit grooves in the dentures at different angles, clearing away more of the debris. Rinse the dentures, and repeat this process nightly going forward.

Rinse with peroxide.

Just in case there are some bacteria that the brushing did not remove, try rinsing your dentures with peroxide. Hold them over the sink, and pour the peroxide solution (the 2% strength marketed for wound cleaning and the like) over them. Let them sit for a minute -- the peroxide will foam up. Rinse them with water, and either put them back in your mouth or into their storage solution.

Clean your mouth.

Sometimes the problem is not so much with the dentures, but with your mouth instead. Even though you no longer have teeth to keep clean, it's important to keep your gums clean. Bacteria can get lodged between your oral tissues and the dentures, releasing stinky odors throughout the day.

Brush your gums before putting your dentures in, and do it again after taking them out. Use an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day as this helps kill lingering bacteria.

If you continue to notice smells coming from your dentures, reach out to your family dentist. They may have a hidden crack somewhere that is accumulating smelly bacteria; having them repaired will fix the problem in this case.