Zap dirty dentures: Two-minute microwave treatment kills bad bacteria

June 09, 2003

One-in-five adults, including half of the over-55 generation, wear some type of dentures and many denture-wearers may think regularly using an over-the-counter cleanser would keep dentures pearly white and more importantly, germ-free.

Yet, traditional denture soaking methods often do not leave dentures completely bacteria-free. Combining the soaking cleaning program with a two-minute microwave treatment was overwhelmingly more effective to eliminate germs on the inside and outside of dentures worn from 12 days to 48 years, according to a recent study published in a 2003 issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

Wearing unclean dentures may cause the patient to develop denture-related stomatitis, a fungal infection in the mouth characterized by white or red sores, bleeding, swelling and burning sensations, according to R. Thomas Glass, DDS, PhD, a co-author of the study.

Dentures are made of a combination of porcelain and acrylic, and are worn when a tooth is broken and cannot be repaired or the decay is too vast to be eliminated and permanent bridges or implants are not an option. In addition to full dentures, partial dentures are made for two to up to 16 teeth and are easily removable.

"The research has shown toothbrushing of dentures is not adequate to combat stains and odors caused by bacteria," says Gordon R. Isbell, DMD, MAGD, and AGD spokesperson.

According to Dr. Glass, the combination of denture cleaners and microwave was especially effective to remove microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts and fungi) found in the depths of the dentures.

How to Microwave Dentures

  1. Place dentures that have no metal compartments in a microwave container at least twice as tall as the dentures, with vents in the cover
  2. Fill the container with water
  3. Drop one tablet of the cleanser in the water
  4. Place towel over the cover of the microwave container to catch any excess fluid
  5. Microwave the container for two minutes using a standard microwave
  6. Allow denture to completely cool, then rinse and wear


Caution Only use this method for complete dentures. DO NOT use this method for dentures that contain metal, since no testing has been conducted on such appliances.
-end-


Academy of General Dentistry

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