Denture soaks and cleaning solutions.

After brushing, your denture should be soaked in a cleaning solution.

Chemical cleansing and disinfecting is the second half of effective denture care.

Why is this important?

Due to the microscopic pitting found in the surface of denture plastic, brushing, even in combination with the use of an ultrasonic cleaning unit, can only go so far in removing the microorganisms (bacterial and fungal). Chemical cleansing and disinfecting is needed.


Effervescent commercial preparations.

Effervescent denture cleaning products offer an effective way to chemically cleanse and disinfect false teeth. (Related page: Common household compounds that can be used to clean dentures.)

While the formulation of each brand will vary, these types of products typically contain the following ingredients.

a) Oxidizing (bleaching) agents.

Alkaline perborate, sodium perborate or potassium monopersulfate. - These compounds remove stains and kill bacteria harbored on a denture's surface.

b) Effervescing agents.

Perborate, carbonate or citric acid. - Effervescing agents help to disintegrate the product quickly. They also create a weak mechanical cleansing action.

c) Chelating agents.

EDTA. - This type of compound helps to remove tartar that has accumulated on a denture's surface.

d) Detergents and enzymes.

Sodium polyphosphate, everlace. - These compounds assist in denture cleansing.

e) Additional compounds.

Dye markers create a color change when the cleansing process has been completed. Flavorings and fragrances.


Denture-cleaning product precautions.

In February 2008, the FDA reported that it had received information about 73 incidences of allergic reactions to denture cleansers. One of these cases resulted in a death.

It's been speculated that the compound responsible for these reactions was persulfate. It is found in most commercial products and serves as a cleaning and bleaching agent.

What you need to know.

It is important to understand that all denture-cleaning products are intended for use in a container only. And upon removal from this container, all residual traces of the product should be thoroughly rinsed off before the appliance is placed back into the person's mouth. Denture cleaners are not designed to be chewed, swallowed or gargled.

Some of the reported incidences above did involve misuse (gargling or swallowing). It is possible, however, for an allergic reaction to take place with normal use of a product, even after years of use with no incidence. (That's one reason why thorough rinsing is important.)

An effervescent denture cleaner.

How do you use a denture soak?

Here's a list of things to do and keep in mind when using a denture cleaning solution.

  • Soaking doesn't replace denture brushing. It's an aid to it.

  • Place your dentures in a glass of water. Only add the amount of soaking powder or number of tablets recommended by your product's instructions.

  • Soak for the duration suggested by your product's instructions.

    In general, studies have shown that most commercial products will kill 99% of the adherent microorganisms found on a denture's surface during a ten to twenty minute soaking. An overnight soaking should effectively sterilize a denture.


  • After removing your denture from its bath, thoroughly rinse away any traces of the cleaner with water.

  • There can be a number of issues and precautions associated with the use of any type of chemical denture cleaner, including commercial soaks. You must take the time to read the instructions that have come with your product. We discuss some of these issues and precautions both above and on our next page.

Mouthwash is not the best choice for soaking dentures.

Does mouthwash make a good choice for denture cleaning?

Some people soak their dentures in mouthwash. Their reasoning is typically twofold.

  1. Some mouthwashes make antibacterial claims.
  2. Mouthwash usually has a pleasant flavor and odor.

There are better choices.

Mouthwashes, in general, have not been shown to be especially effective against those types of microorganisms that are typically found on the surface of dentures. This is true even for those products that make an antibacterial claim.

The other types of cleaning solutions discussed on our pages (either homemade or store-bought) tend to make a better choice.

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