Question:

Rabbi I am in a pickle about what to do about my dental retainers for Pesach! I have heard differing accounts what to do – some say I need to kasher them, others say I don’t. May I be so bold as to question whether it has been taken into account that boiling water will actually melt my retainers? Also, there is a solution to soak retainers and other removable oral devices in, otherwise known as Efferdent, and would soaking it in that solution be considered cleaning it sufficiently if i wouldn’t need to kasher them? And if so, are there restrictions on eating chametz for 24 hours before? can you please HELP! WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE?

Answer:

Several poskim are lenient concerning dentures and fillings concerning issues of kashrut (meat and dairy).

The Maharsham (1:197) writes that the temperature of food in a person’s mouth is not high enough to cause taste to be absorbed, adding that the food is in the mouth for a very short time.

It is true that we sometime drink/eat really hot food, but at least the majority use is not such.

She’elas Shalom (195, cited in Darkei Teshuvah 89) writes that the material of false teeth doesn’t absorb — a rationale that won’t necessarily apply for retainers. However, it is noteworthy that we actually know that there is no beliah and pelitah of taste, for if we drink tea after eating meat, we don’t feel the taste of the meat in the tea — even while wearing a retainer!

Nishmas Avraham (89:2) quotes from Rav Shlomo Zalman that the food in a person’s mouth is pagum.

For Pesach, see Kaf Hachaim 89 (I saw quoted as ruling leniently, but have not seen it now).

Some do advise performing hag’alah wherever possible, but if, as in your case, it is not possible, you should clean the retainers thoroughly (use the solution you mention, and then scrub and rinse carefully), and use as usual.

As an extra stringency, you could also avoid eating hot chametz for twenty four hours before Pesach.

Best wishes.

Tags: dentures

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