New dentures mean white, glossy teeth. But if you’ve had your dentures for a while, those same teeth may be looking a bit stained and dull. Fortunately, you don’t need to learn to live with your stained dentures. Dentures can be whitened and restored to their original, white appearance.

How to Whiten Dentures at Home

Ask your dentist to recommend a non-abrasive denture cleanser that can remove stains without causing damage. Soaking your dentures in a denture cleaning solution can help remove stains, explains the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO).

While natural teeth can be whitened with at-home teeth whitening solutions, denture users should usually avoid these products, explains the Mayo Clinic. That’s because products that contain bleach can weaken your dentures, and chlorine can tarnish and corrode any metal parts of your dentures. You shouldn’t use whitening toothpastes on dentures, either. These products remove surface stains from natural teeth with abrasive ingredients that can scratch your dentures.

How to Whiten Dentures Professionally

If you’re not satisfied with the look of your dentures after home cleaning, see your dentist. Dentures can be professionally polished to remove surface stains. The CDHO explains that this professional cleaning only takes a few minutes. After the cleaning, your dentures can look like new again. This cleaning is usually needed once or twice a year, but your dentist may recommend a different schedule.

While a professional cleaning will help restore the look of your dentures, you may be concerned about the cost. In these cases, consider visiting a dental school for affordable dentistry. Your area may have low-cost or even free dental clinics, too.

Preventing Denture Stains

Once you’ve had your dentures whitened, take steps to keep them looking their best. Cleaning your dentures every day can help prevent them from getting stained again. To clean your dentures, remove them from your mouth and rinse them to remove loose food particles. Then, gently brush your dentures with a non-abrasive cleaner and a specialized denture brush or a toothbrush like the Colgate Optic White Manual toothbrush. Its polishing spiral bristles help whiten teeth by polishing away surface stains and clean hard to reach areas.

Try to avoid highly pigmented foods and drinks, which can cause stains. Some examples are berries, tomato sauce, coffee and red wine. If you eat or drink something that could stain your dentures, rinse your dentures with water (or brush them, if possible) to remove pigments soon after.

Over time, dentures can become stained, but they don’t need to stay that way. Denture cleaning solutions can help you whiten your dentures at home, while your dentist can offer professional whitening.