The choice to get dentures is a life-changing one; most people suffering from missing teeth struggle with low self-esteem and discomfort when chewing. They can even affect your speech. Dentures allow you to smile more openly, be more social, and eat and speak confidently again. However, they can feel awkward at first if you’re still trying to adjust to the change.
The number of adults needing dentures in the U.S. is expected to reach 37.9 million by 2020, so there are plenty of people adjusting to life with dentures. In order to make things as easy as possible, here are ten dentist-recommended tips to keep your mouth and dentures in top shape:
1. Brush your dentures
Just like your natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed regularly. They’re prone to stains and can accumulate tartar and bacteria if not cleaned properly. You should rinse the dentures to eliminate any food particles, then brush your dentures with either a special denture brush or a soft-bristle brush using mild hand soap and warm water.
Gently scrub the dentures for a few minutes, removing any adhesives that might be remaining.
2. Keep dentures soaked
It is recommended that you soak your dentures in a nonabrasive denture cleaner or warm water every day. This helps remove any food, bacteria, or plaque, and also prevents them from drying out and becoming misshapen. Rinse your dentures thoroughly after you soak them to prevent any cleaner solution from going in your mouth.
3. Maintain oral hygiene
Though you may not have any teeth, it’s important to brush your gums, inner cheeks, and tongue with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This way, you’ll ensure that there is no bacteria or plaque buildup that may lead to gum irritation, bad breath or infections.
4. Take a break
Dentists suggest taking your dentures out for 6 to 8 hours a day, especially while you’re asleep. This will help tissues in your mouth heal from any soreness the dentures may have caused throughout the day.
5. Don’t stop talking
Some people may shy away from social interactions because they start to feel awkward talking with dentures. But the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Reading out loud is also a good way to get your tongue used to your dentures.
6. Stay hydrated
Dentures may cause dryness in your mouth, and the only way to fight it is drinking lots of water and staying hydrated as well as you can.
7. Keep a well-balanced diet
It might be difficult to get used to eating with dentures for the first few weeks, but maintaining a balanced diet is vital for your health. At least initially, consume foods that are easy to chew such as yogurt, cooked vegetables, pureed fruits, and smoothies.
8. Avoid sticky foods
Chewy, sticky foods like jelly or caramel can stick to your dentures and cause discomfort or even damage. Avoid consuming these types of foods.
9. Use adhesives
If your dentures don’t fit properly, ask your dentist about adhesives that might help you get a perfect fit and prevent any painful sores from developing. Adhesives hold the dentures tight and keep food particles from getting between your dentures and gums.
10. Get regular dental checkups
Visit your dentist on a regular basis to maintain your oral health. You should also ask your dentist to clean your dentures professionally and discuss any other concerns you may have.