Dentures are a very popular and effective method for replacing missing teeth – they not only restore function to the teeth but improve facial appearance by making the face look fuller and possibly younger, boosting personal confidence. However, they do have a bit of a learning curve in how to speak and eat while wearing them. They can be uncomfortable and awkward, but be patient: over the course of several weeks, most denture wearers are able to make a successful adjustment and wearing the dentures becomes second nature. Here are a few tips for new denture wearers to make a smoother transition.
Foods such as eggs, yogurt, fish, cooked vegetables, and ice cream not only cover all the necessary food groups but are easy to chew and swallow. It’s recommended that these types of food are eaten in the beginning as you’re getting adjusted to the dentures. In addition, take smaller bites than you normally would, and avoid biting anything hard or particularly chewy.
Nuts, corn on the cob, and other similar foods will always be somewhat difficult for most denture wearers to eat. Sticky foods can remain in the dentures, leading to discoloration and discomfort, so they should be avoided along with overly hard or crunchy foods.
Just like natural teeth, dentures require regular cleaning; otherwise, they can stain and develop bacteria and tartar. To clean them, first, rinse the dentures to remove food particles. Then brush them for one or two minutes using a soft-bristle toothbrush, mild hand soap or detergent, and warm water. Make sure to remove any adhesive. Soak the dentures daily with a nonabrasive denture cleanser to remove any remaining food, plaque, and bacteria. Never use a denture cleanser in the mouth, and rinse your dentures thoroughly after soaking and before wear.
To keep the mouth clean, brush your gums, cheeks, and tongue with toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush every morning before wearing the dentures. This will eliminate any bacteria and plaque that could cause bad breath or gum irritation along with respiratory tract illnesses.
Just as contact lens wearers shouldn’t sleep in their contacts, you should not sleep in your dentures. Taking them out and letting them soak while you sleep not only keeps them clean, but lets the tissues in your mouth rest and heal from any pressure, irritation, or soreness they may have experienced from wearing the dentures during the day.
You might be tempted to avoid talking as your mouth adjusts to the feeling of the dentures in the first few weeks, but it’s recommended that you keep talking to “learn” how to talk with the dentures. Reading aloud can be incredibly helpful in allowing your mouth to practice making all the different sounds of the language and letting your tongue grow accustomed to operating with dentures.
In order for some dentures to have the perfect fit, an adhesive is needed. Denture adhesives make wearing dentures more comfortable, prevent sores from developing, prevent food particles from getting between the dentures and your gums, and hold the dentures tight while you talk and eat. Consult with your dentist to find the right adhesive for you.
Denture wearers may experience dry mouth, which can lead to mouth and gum irritation and increase the potential for bacterial decay. To avoid this, be sure to stay hydrated, drinking at least eight ounces of fluids a day. If dry mouth is a serious problem, medication can be prescribed as it can lead to major health problems if left untreated.
Visits to the dentist remain an important part of dental health even when you wear dentures. These appointments help you maintain the quality and fit of your dentures and give your dentist the opportunity to examine the mouth for gum irritations or fungal infections. They’re also a good time to have your dentures professionally cleaned and to ask any questions about dentures that you might have.