Home/Blog / Is Nail Polish Remover Safe on Dentures?

Is Nail Polish Remover Safe on Dentures?

I’ve had the same pair of dentures for about six years now. I haven’t had many issues with them,  aside from some adjustments in the beginning, but lately I’ve noticed they’re starting to pick up my cigarette stains more than usual. I tried brushing them, but it didn’t seem to help. Last weekend, I had an outing with my family and, in my haste to make them look nicer, I painted over the teeth with white nail polish. I know I shouldn’t have done this, but at that point, all I cared about was making the dentures look nice. Of course, now they look worse than ever and are picking up even more stains and those won’t fade at all. Is it safe to use nail polish remover on them? At least then I could go back to the way they were.



Dear Alice,

Most dentures are made out of acrylic, very similar to the type of stuff that artificial nails are made from, and most nail polish contains acetone, a chemical that dissolves or degrades acrylic. So, if you’ve ever had your nails done and have been told not to use nail polish remover, this is why. And yes, it will likely further damage your dentures. While you can find nail polish remover without acetone, this isn’t the solution here. Even that could damage them or cause unpredictable results.

At this point, your best bet is to go back to the dentist to see if they can professionally remove the nail polish. The lab may have some specialty tools that can help. Failing this, your next options are to have the whole denture replaced or see if they can replace just the teeth. If cost is a concern or you still really love the fit of the appliance, you may be able to just have the teeth that show when you smile replaced.

You obviously now know that nail polish is not a good solution to deal with stains. In the future, it’s a good idea to try an over-the-counter denture cleaner. Soaking them to loosen the stains and then rubbing them with a soft denture brush should be enough to remove the stains- especially if you do it regularly. You can also try using baking soda or a very gentle toothpaste. Stay away from anything that says it has whitening benefits, as this usually means it’s abrasive and might scratch your appliance. Actually, the best solution is to quit smoking altogether, but f you aren’t prepared to do that, just focus on giving your appliance regular baths and daily scrubs with a gentle brush to minimize the staining.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Newkirk.