If you wear dentures, you probably know to watch for signs of sores, and to have your dentures adjusted whenever they stop fitting properly. However, you might not know that you also need to watch for thrush. If you're not sure what thrush is, it's a fungal infection that's caused by an overabundance of candida albicans, more commonly referred to as yeast. Simply put, thrush is like a yeast infection in your mouth. Unfortunately, dentures provide the perfect environment for thrush to develop. If you're not sure what it looks like, it's a white, patchy rash that develops on the inside of your mouth. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to prevent thrush.
Keep Your Mouth Clean
To prevent thrush, the most important thing you can do is keep your mouth clean. That means you need to remove your dentures at least twice a day, and thoroughly brush your teeth. You should also floss your teeth at least twice a day. While your dentures are out, give them a good cleaning too. Brush them with a clean denture brush and then rinse them well.
Disinfect Your Dentures Weekly
You might not realize this, but in addition to the daily cleaning you'll give your dentures, you'll also need to disinfect them at least once a week. Keeping them disinfected will help keep thrush away, by removing the bacteria that can cause yeast to grow in your mouth. To disinfect your dentures, place equal parts water and distilled vinegar in a bowl. Carefully place your dentures in the solution and allow them to soak overnight. In the morning, remove the dentures, rinse them off well, place them in a clean bowl, and pour a bit of germ-killing mouthwash over them. The mouthwash will kill any germs that were left behind, and leave your dentures tasting minty fresh.
Rinse with Salt Water Daily
In addition to proper dental hygiene, and denture disinfecting, you should also rinse your mouth with salt water once a day. The salt water will neutralize any yeast that's trying to grow on the surface of your mouth, and heal any sores that might have developed. For an effective salt water rinse, put ¾ teaspoon of salt into a cup of water, and swish the solution around in your mouth. Be sure to spit the solution out. To get rid of the salt water taste, rinse with fresh water once you're done rinsing.
See Your Dentist Regularly
If you've had a problem with thrush in the past, it can return without proper treatment. In addition to the preventative steps provided above, be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year. They'll be able to identify problems that could be causing the recurrence of thrush, and help you find additional ways to combat the problem.