Cleaning dentures is a basic nursing skill that you will be performing as a nurse.
Many patients are very sick and are unable to get up out of bed and clean their dentures. Therefore, as the nurse you will have to do this. There are some things you want to consider when providing denture care, and I want to give you some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.
How to Clean Dentures (Nursing Skill) Video
Denture Care Overview:
- Dentures should be cleaned regularly just like natural teeth. You will want to assist the patient with removing and cleaning them at night (because at night many patients will remove them to sleep) and after meals.
- Keep the dentures safe in a denture cup (don’t forget to label the denture cup too)! This seems very simple, but in the hospital setting dentures get lost. They may accidently get tossed into the linen bin, left on a food tray etc. So, always keep them secured in a denture cup when not in use.
- Never touch dentures without gloves!
- Always take steps to not damage them during the cleaning process (details on this below).
- Always ask the patient how they care for their dentures and use their supplies, if possible. Many patients are experts on denture care and they can offer a lot of great tips and advice.
How to Clean Dentures
1. Gather supplies:
- Dentures, denture cups, cleaning paste for dentures (it is best to avoid toothpaste because they can contain whiteners that will damage the teeth), soft bristle toothbrush, kidney basin, towels, paper towels, gloves
2. Perform hand hygiene
4. Prep the sink to prevent denture damage! This step is VERY IMPORTANT!
- Cover the bottom of the sink with towels and fill it half-way with water. Why? Wet gloves, dentures, and water don’t mix because the dentures become slippery and can slip out of your hand. If they fall they can break, which is very expensive for the patient to replace.
5. Lay down a towel on the sink to protect your supplies from becoming contaminated by the counter and neatly lay out your supplies on the towel.
6. Have extra paper towels next to the faucet to turn on and off the water.
7. Prep the toothbrush…use a paste that is nonabrasive. Be careful not to contaminate the denture paste by touching the toothbrush bristles to the paste.
8. Don gloves and RINSE the dentures with warm water. DON’T use hot water (this can damage them) or cold (this doesn’t help clean them). First, rinse the top pair and place it into the kidney basin (don’t put it back into the denture cup just yet…it needs to be cleaned). Repeat this for the bottom pair.
9. Now rinse the denture cup and the lid of the denture cup. Then fill the denture cup half-way with cool water if the patient is not going to place the dentures back in the mouth because the dentures need to stay moist. WHY? This allows them to keep their shape and makes it easier to put back into the mouth. NOTE: ask the patient how they soak their dentures….some patients use half water and vinegar while others use a soaking solution.
10. Brush the dentures! Start inward and work your way outward. Be sure to clean the gum line area because food and denture paste likes to hide in these areas. In addition, make sure all the food particles are removed from the teeth.
11. Rinse the dentures with warm water and place them in the denture cup.
12. Rinse kidney basin (dry it with a paper towel) and toothbrush.
13. Doff gloves and perform hand hygiene.
NOTE: Don’t forget to provide mouth care to the patient before placing dentures back into the patient’s mouth.
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