Denture breath: Testing for and curing it.

- A person's false teeth (full or partial) can, without question, be the source of their breath odor. / How to self-test for denture breath.

Graphic showing a denture soaking in cleaner.

To cure denture breath, you need to clean both your mouth and dentures.

The exact same types of bacteria and debris that accumulate on natural teeth and soft oral tissues will tend to accumulate on dentures too.

And since this includes the types of bacteria that produce the volatile sulfur compounds that are responsible for causing bad breath, people who wear false teeth (either a partial or full set) can find themselves having problems with denture halitosis.

What's the cure for denture breath?

Treatment for malodor associated with wearing dentures must approach the problem on two fronts.

  • A person must clean their dentures more effectively.
  • They'll also need to more thoroughly clean those parts of their mouth where bacteria tend to accumulate. (This includes both the tissues their dentures rest on and especially the posterior region of their tongue.)

Details -

A) Many people don't remove and clean their dentures often enough.

The space between a denture and the gum tissue it rests on is an ideal location for bacterial growth.

  • This space is relatively protected and therefore makes a cozy home for bacteria.
  • Food particles easily enter this area and provide a continual food supply for the halitosis-producing bacteria that live there.

As a way of stifling the growth of the bacterial colony that inhabits this space ...

  • Dentures (complete or partial) should always be removed after every meal for cleaning.
  • They should be brushed both inside and out.
  • Any denture adhesive that is present should be removed and replaced with new.
  • The tissue areas covered by the dentures should be wiped with a washcloth or gently brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

B) On its own, just brushing your denture won't cure your halitosis.

On a microscopic basis, the plastic surface of a denture is quite rough. And that means that every one offers innumerable locations that the bacteria that cause bad breath can call home.

The problem with just brushing.

While all denture cleaning activities should start with a thorough brushing, the problem with just doing it alone is that the diameter of any brush's bristles is far larger in size than the microscopic holes in which the offending bacteria live.

Animation of a denture soaking in an effervescent cleaner.

Cleaning a denture in an effervescent denture cleaner.

As a solution ...

1) Use an ultrasonic unit.

One aid that can help is the use of an ultrasonic denture-cleaning unit.

The vibratory motion it generates provides an additional cleansing action. And it's been found that brushing in combination with ultrasonic cleaning is significantly more effective than just brushing alone.

2) Chemical cleansing and disinfecting.

After mechanically (brushing, ultrasonic) cleansing, a denture should be further cleansed and disinfected chemically. (Related content: Homemade soaks.)

That's because many of the bacteria that cause denture breath live in microscopic porosities on a denture's surface. Places where only chemical treatment can have an affect on them.

It seems most unlikely that anyone's denture breath can be cured without regular and frequent denture soaking.

3) How about using mouthwash?

Expecting that the use of mouthwash will be a solution for your denture breath suggests that you don't have a full grasp of what's really required to overcome it.

  1. For anyone with bad breath (denture wearer or not), just using mouthwash alone is seldom an effective cure. What's really needed is more effective cleansing of your mouth (here's why).

    For denture wearers, that means cleaning both the gum tissue your dentures rest on (via gently brushing or wiping it), and especially your tongue.

  2. You'll also need to insure that your dentures are thoroughly cleansed on a regular basis. Soaks can play an important role in accomplishing this but using mouthwash as one makes an ineffective choice.
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Testing - How can you tell if you have denture breath?

Here's a simple test you can use to see if your dentures (full or partial) are the source of your halitosis.

  • Take your dentures out and place them in a plastic bag (baggie), then close it.
  • Let them sit for several minutes.
  • Open the bag and take a sniff inside.

If things don't smell good, your dentures are causing at least some part of your breath problems. (We say "some part" because your tongue is probably a fault too.)

Our next page is our bad breath FYI page. It's an overview of all of the things our topic covers.



Topic Menu ▶  Bad Breath / Halitosis