Dentures not only help you present a beautiful smile to the world, they also play a role in keeping you healthy and happy in life. For first-time denture wearers, the adjustment process can be challenging at times, but with a little determination and patience – dentures will become like your second set of teeth.
There can be a learning curve to wearing dentures where improper fittings, speech problems, bad breath, dry mouth and sometimes oral infections such as stomatitis become problems that need to be dealt with. Don’t let the negative possibilities get you down though, with proper care and maintenance most denture wearers live a completely normal life as they eat, speak, and smile with confidence.
#1 Keep Up the Good Habits to Maintain Your Oral Health
If your dentures aren’t cleaned or maintained properly they can become a source of bacteria build up and oral fungal infections. There have been studies linking respiratory illness with bacteria build up in the mouth. Keep dentures clean and remember to also brush your gums, cheeks, tongue – basically your whole mouth – before placing your dentures. The less bacteria in your mouth, the better.
#2 Keep Your Dentures Spotless Clean
This means brushing your dentures daily, because just like your regular teeth, dentures can breed bacteria, develop tartar and pick up unsightly stains. The steps to a clean denture involve:
- Rinsing – rinse your dentures to remove loose food particles
- Brushing – brush your dentures thoroughly with a soft bristled tooth brush using a mild soap or denture cleaning detergent. (Don’t use bleach)
- Soaking – allow your dentures to soak overnight in a special cleaning solution for the ultimate in bacteria free clean
Brushing alone is not enough. There may still be food and bacteria trapped where the bristles just can’t reach. Food, bacteria, and plaque are best removed by soaking dentures in denture cleaning solution. We typically recommend an overnight soak but always be sure to thoroughly rinse your dentures before inserting them into your mouth. Denture cleaning agents are not meant for the human body.
#3 Give Your Mouth a Rest Whenever Possible
Your oral tissue regenerates rapidly when you are not wearing your dentures. Any irritation or soreness that occurs as you wear your dentures can be alleviated by taking a break from wearing them. Our recommendation is to remove your dentures for at least 6 hours every day. While you sleep is typically the best and most convenient time to give your gums a rest.
#4 Keeping a Tight Fit
Dentures are only comfortable when they fit snugly. One of the best ways to create this snugness is to apply a denture adhesive to seal them to your gums. These adhesives not only create a comfortable fit but they also stop particles of food from sneaking into the tight spaces between dentures and your gum tissue. Denture adhesives also give you the security of being able to eat and talk without fear of your dentures slipping out of position. We recommend consulting with a professional before using denture adhesives to make sure they are right for you.
#5 Hydrate to Avoid Dry Mouth
Dry mouth increases your risk of bacterial decay and can cause mouth or gum irritation. Dentures are known to increase the likelihood of dry mouth occurring, which is why we recommend staying hydrated to maintain an optimal level of saliva production. Some medications also elevate the risk of dry mouth so speak with your professional about the best way for you to fight dry mouth.
#6 Perfect Your Speech
One of the biggest complaints we get from denture wearers is that they find it difficult to speak properly. This is especially common if the denture wearer has gone for longer periods of time without a full set of teeth in their mouth. We recommend singing along with music or reading aloud whenever possible to speed up the adjustment period. Speech problems caused by dentures are not forever – you just need to practice and you will sound normal again in no time.
#7 Cut Food into Smaller Pieces
Chewing food is another thing that takes some getting used to with a new pair of dentures. Cutting out the foods you find difficult to eat is not the way to go. Instead, prepare your food in smaller pieces so that chewing becomes easier. Adding butter or a sauce to your mouthfuls can also make foods easier to chew. We also recommend that you try to chew using both sides of your mouth as this will help stop your dentures from coming loose as you eat.
#8 Stay Away from Hard or Sticky Foods
Unfortunately, dentures may put an end to your toffee eating days – at least while you’re wearing them. Sticky foods can easily dislodge dentures as you chew or become lodged in tight, hard to clean areas. There are plenty of other snacks out there so you don’t have to starve – just be careful not to eat foods that cause additional wear and tear on your dentures.
#9 Don’t Forget to Visit Your Dentist
Dental checkups with your dentist or denture professional will help ensure that your dentures fit like they should and that no infections are appearing in your mouth. We also recommend having your dentures professionally sterilized during your check-up appointment and that you always voice any concerns or questions you may have.
Wearing dentures may be stressful at first, but don’t worry – within a couple of weeks, you will hardly notice they are there at all. Keep a proper cleaning routine for dentures and your mouth to ensure you don’t experience any of complications from your new prosthetic. Speak with your dental professional for more information or tips on how you can live happily with dentures.