Oral Care Guide for Denture Wearers
When you treat your dentures with TLC, they’ll last longer and be less likely to carry harmful plaque that can affect your gums. In some ways, you will treat your dentures as you would your own teeth. You must brush them daily with a soft-bristled brush specifically designed for caring for dentures. Instead of toothpaste, however, use a dedicated denture cleaner that carries the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This means the denture manufacturers have shown evidence that the denture cleaner works well and is not hazardous to your health or your dentures.
Drop your dentures in a specially-designed denture soaking solution when you aren’t wearing them. If you let your dentures dry out, they’ll be less likely to fit as securely or comfortably as before. Refrain from putting them in hot water, however, because this can affect their shape. If you accidentally forget to put your dentures in cleaner, evaluate them for fit issues when wearing them again. Wearing ill-fitting dentures can cause significant pain and affect the alignment of your jaws and gums. Contact your dentist if you suspect your dentures may require evaluation or even remaking with time. If you wear a complete set of dentures, you can expect these to last anywhere from five to seven years.
Caring for Your Gums with Dentures
Stimulating circulation in your gums is vital to maintaining your dental health. Increased blood flow to your gums can help to keep them healthy and prevent tissue decay. Each morning before you put your dentures in, brush your soft tissues, such as gums, tongue and back of your mouth with a soft-bristled brush. Gently massaging your gums throughout the day also can help to reduce soreness and discomfort that can sometimes accompany wearing dentures, especially when you initially begin to wear your dentures.
Providing you take good care of your gums and your dentures fit properly, you should be able to eat with little difficulty. One trick is to always chew with both sides of your mouth and cut foods into small pieces. You may find it difficult to eat foods that are either hot or very tough to chew.
See Your Dentist
Denture care includes seeing your dentist at least twice per year so your dentist can evaluate your gum health. Your dentist will likely perform x-rays to visualize your bone structure to ensure you are not experiencing significant changes to your bone structure as you age. What’s also important is to disclose any health conditions that may affect your ability to care for your teeth. This includes conditions such as diabetes and heart disease because the medications you take for these conditions can lead to dry mouth, which can affect your overall dental health.
Denture Care and Your Overall Health
Neglecting your dental health as a denture wearer can be a big mistake because your oral health affects your overall health.
“One of the new findings in the dental field is that there is a direct correlation between the health of your gums and your systemic health,” says Charles V. Ankar, DDS, a family dentist with a practice at Shallowford Family Dental Group in Chattanooga, Tenn. “The same bacteria found in gum disease is the same plaque as congestive heart failure. This bacteria can be carried into the bloodstream and deposit into your arteries.”
Remember that gum disease and other dental issues are often silent until they have significantly progressed. By seeking dental care, even when you wear dentures, you can help to keep your heart and gums healthy.