Denture Care

What are dentures?

Dentures are a set of replacement teeth that do the same work as natural teeth. Dentures help you speak, and support your facial muscles, cheeks, and lips. Well fitting dentures help you chew your food properly, and reduce your risk of choking during a meal.

What can I do to get used to my dentures?

New dentures can feel strange, especially when you get your first ones. Talk to your dentist about what to expect when wearing and caring for them. Ask how the dentures will feel while you are getting used to them, and how you can tell if something is wrong. Be patient while adjusting to them. Practice your speech by reading out loud.

At first, it helps to eat soft food that isn’t sticky. Cut your food into small pieces and chew slowly. It is best to divide your food up evenly on both sides of your mouth. You may notice that certain foods don’t taste the same or that they need more seasoning. Be particularly careful not to eat food that is too hot. Dentures may make your mouth less sensitive to hot foods and liquids. Also, be careful of food with bones because your mouth may be less sensitive to hard objects. Avoid nuts and seeds that may slip under the dentures and cause irritation.

How do I clean my dentures?

If you wear dentures, take them out to clean them. You may want to take them out at bedtime, let them soak in warm (not hot) water or a denture-cleansing solution overnight, and then brush them in the morning. Always soak them if they are out of your mouth because dry dentures may get very brittle or they may change shape and not fit well.

Always use a denture brush that will reach all parts of the dentures. A regular toothbrush will not do the job. Denture paste removes stains better than soap, toothpaste, or baking soda to clean dentures. Never use household cleansers on your dentures. It’s a good idea to brush your dentures over a wash basin half full of water. If they slip from your fingers, they are less likely to crack if they land in water.

While your dentures are out of your mouth, clean your tongue, gums, and the roof of your mouth with a soft toothbrush and then rinse your mouth.

Denture fit

Over time, your gums will shrink a little and your dentures will no longer fit as well as they used to. Gaining or losing 5 pounds or more can change how your dentures fit.

Ill-fitting dentures can irritate your gums, tongue, and cheek, and cause sore spots. If your dentures don’t fit properly, you may not eat a healthy diet.

Properly fitting dentures should not need adhesives or cushion pads. Your dentures may need to be relined, or even replaced if they do not fit well or if they hurt.

Dental exams

Regular dental checkups are recommended, even if you have full dentures. Your dentist will check your mouth, tongue, gum ridges, and jaw joints for other problems and adjust your dentures.

Signs that your dentures may need attention are:

  • Looseness
  • Pain when you chew
  • Bad odor
  • Stains and tartar deposits on your dentures
  • Cracks in the denture base or chipped teeth
  • Often getting food under the dentures
  • A sore spot in your mouth

If you have red or white spots or other sores in the mouth that do not go away within 2 weeks, see your dentist. Mouth sores that do not go away can be an early sign of oral cancer.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-01-21
Last reviewed: 2015-01-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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