Oral & Overall Health

The Disturbing Ingredient Hidden in Your Denture Cleanser

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Your denture cleaning tablets could be causing damage to your mouth and the rest of your body. The FDA has asked Efferdent, Polident, and Fixodent to stop using persulfate in their products.

The Disturbing Ingredient Hidden in Your Denture Cleanser

I'm using denture cleaning tablets to clean my night guards. I'm not sure if this is the best approach. I'm getting tired of buying tablets every few months and I'm wondering if there's a more natural way of doing this. Your thoughts?

A: I used to recommend denture cleaning tablets, such as Efferdent and Polident, for cleaning Invisalign aligners, dentures, and retainers, and even used to use it myself.

Porous dental appliances can absorb the ingredients in denture cleaning tablets – meaning you’re holding those chemicals against your mouth when you wear the device.

These denture cleaning tablets work very well at cleaning but I’ve recently changed my opinion of these products.

The active ingredient persulfate is my major concern. The FDA has asked the manufacturers of Fixodent, Polident, Efferdent, and other denture cleaners to change the product labeling to include warnings about the risks of allergic reactions which could be caused by persulfates. The FDA also asked the manufacturers to consider alternate ingredients to replace persulfate.

Symptoms of allergic reactions to persulfates used in denture and retainer cleansers include…

  • Tissue Damage
  • Rashes, Hives or Irritation
  • Gum Tenderness
  • Breathing Problems
  • Low Blood Pressure

If accidentally ingested, these denture cleansers can wreak havoc on the body.

Picture this scenario: An elderly person wakes up late at night with an upset stomach and confuses an Efferdent package with an Alka Seltzer package, rips it open and dissolves it into a full glass of drinking water. He wakes up in the emergency room hours later convulsing and gasping for air.

Accidental consumption of denture and retainer cleansers can include…

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Burns
  • Bleaching of tissue
  • Blood in the Urine
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing Problems
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Seizures
  • Death

Bottom line: If you drank the stuff, it could send you to the Emergency Room. So why let your dental appliance, something that sits in your mouth for 8 hours a day or more, marinate in it?

Many of these devices are porous and can hold the persulfate against the tissues inside the mouth. Even if used as directed, I don’t think it’s wise to use these products to clean dentures, sleep apnea devices, retainers, Invisalign aligners, or anything else placed in the mouth.

How to Clean Your Night Guard Naturally

To clean your night guard (or other dental device), keep it soaking in water when it is not in your mouth. Add a squirt or two of castile soap, which doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. You can also lightly brush it with an electric toothbrush and toothpaste as needed.

Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS

read next: How to Clean Retainers Without Harsh Chemicals

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Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS

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