Can You Disinfect Your Dentures in the Microwave?

Regular cleaning keeps your dentures clean, but you may worry that this isn't enough to keep them hygienic. It can be hard to clean off all the germs that can live on false teeth. Your teeth and their plates have tight spots and crevices that you can't clean easily.

If you've looked up ways to disinfect your dentures, you may have seen reports that some people put their dentures in their microwaves to kill residual germs. How does this work and should you try it?

What Does Microwaving Dentures Do?

While putting dentures in microwave ovens for a few minutes is supposed to kill stubborn bacteria, it isn't really clear how this works. There are a couple of schools of thought here.

First, some people believe that exposing dentures to a microwave's electromagnetic radiation waves targets bacterial cells. The theory here is that the waves change the structure of the cells and therefore kill the bacteria.

Alternatively, a quick zap in a microwave may help shift clinging bacteria off dentures. Some bacteria won't come off with regular cleaning; a spell in a microwave oven may loosen their hold.

Should You Microwave Your Dentures?

If microwaving dentures works as well as some people think, then it may be a quick and easy way to disinfect your dentures. However, this isn't a suitable solution for every denture wearer. For example, if your dentures have any metal in them or have metal clasps on them, then you definitely shouldn't try to microwave them. Metal shouldn't ever go in a microwave. You could start a fire, break the oven and ruin your dentures in the process.

So, what if you don't have metal on your dentures and they are 100% acrylic? This is a tricky one. Microwaving dentures isn't common practice, so you can't be suer if it will work or not. People use their microwaves on dentures in different ways and for different amounts of time. For example, some put dentures in dry; others put them in with water or a cleaning agent. Some zap for a minute; others for a few minutes.

What you don't want to do is damage your dentures. So, if you want to try a microwave clean, ask your dentist for advice first. They can tell you if it is safe to put your dentures in the microwave and, if they don't agree with this solution, can help you find other ways to disinfect your dentures.