If you are adjusting to new dentures, you are far from alone. The ADA estimates that 120 million Americans are missing teeth, with 36 million missing all of them. Even those who have used dentures before may need replacements that they must get accustomed to. A major part of the adjustment is learning what to…
Adjusting to New Dentures: Oral Habits to Avoid
Dentures are devices that fit on the gums where there are missing teeth, ensuring the integrity and structure of the mouth and jaw bone. Although dentures look and feel very similar to natural teeth, adjusting to new dentures is something that all wearers must do while they get used to their new appliance. This period is an opportunity to begin a new, healthy oral health routine and stop unsound habits.
Oral habits to avoid
Poor oral hygiene can jeopardize the look and longevity of dental appliances. Avoid these oral habits to protect your dentures.
Not wearing the device regularly
Although dentures are meant to maintain the health and well-being of the wearer, it can be easy to get into the habit of not wearing them regularly, especially when you are not eating, drinking, or going out in public. Wearing dentures regularly helps your mouth stay used to the device, preventing the inflammation and soreness that can come from wearing them regularly again after only wearing them spontaneously. While you do need to give your gums a rest for around six to eight hours every day, usually while sleeping, make sure to wear the dentures at all other times.
Forgetting to remove the device prior to sleep
On the flip side of not wearing the dentures regularly is the habit of failing to remove them for those crucial six to eight hours per day. When people are very tired, they become especially prone to forgetful or neglectful actions such as falling asleep while wearing their dentures. It is unhealthy to leave dentures in overnight after the first week or so while you are still adjusting to new dentures.
At night, your mouth produces less saliva, which allows bacteria to accumulate. This puts your gums at risk of infection and exposes your dentures to buildup that may not be easily removed via soaking or brushing the appliance. Another reason to avoid wearing dentures overnight is that it can cause inflammation and loss of bone in the jaw.
If you are prone to falling asleep unexpectedly while still wearing your dentures, or forgetting to remove them before bed, set an alarm on a clock or smartphone as a reminder to take them out.
Failing to clean the dentures properly
The care requirements for dentures differ from those for natural teeth, so learning to properly clean the appliance can be one of the more difficult habits to acquire. While the following are acceptable practices for brushing natural teeth, avoid using the following to clean dentures:
- Hot water, which can warp the appliance
- Toothpaste, which may contain ingredients that can scratch the dentures
- A hard-bristled toothbrush, which can damage the dentures and give bacteria more surfaces to accumulate
Failing to properly clean your dentures can cause bad breath, disease, and tooth loss over time. As you are adjusting to new dentures, ask your dentist for advice on how to efficiently and effectively clean your new appliance.
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Learning what bad habits to avoid while starting to wear dentures is an important step to take for the sake of your oral health.
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