Why You Need to Avoid These Bad Habits As a Denture Wearer
It’s easy to adopt a few bad habits when you have dentures fitted for the first time. If you have been living without teeth for a long time, dentures will give you a new lease on life, and you may find yourself assuming reckless and potentially harmful habits. They might seem innocuous initially, but they’ll eventually harm your dentures and could significantly reduce their lifespan.
With that said, let’s look at some of the bad habits that denture wearers adopt and the ways that they could be damaging your dentures.
Not Taking Them Out While You Sleep
You’ve been working all day and doing chores all night. You’re tired, exhausted, and ready to hit the hay, and then you remember that you have to remove your dentures and go through the usual routine.
In such a state, it’s excusable to just go straight to bed and skip the routine completely. But what happens the next day when you’re just as tired and overworked? What happens the day after that, and the day after that? Even if you’re just skipping the cleaning routine every now and then, the more you do it, the more natural it will seem, and before long, it will become a regular occurrence.
The problem is that your mouth is a haven for bacteria. It’s warm, moist, and home to thousands of microbes. If you add a set of dentures to the mix, you’re trapping all of that bacteria against your gums, where it is left to grow and fester. The more washes that you miss, the more that bacteria will grow.
It takes just one night to notice the effects on your breath, as your once minty and fresh dentures begin to turn sour.
You’ll also be more exposed to chronic inflammation, oral sores, irritated gums, and even infections. And the longer those dentures remain in place, the harder it will be to clean them properly.
Your mouth needs time to breathe; your dentures need time to soak. You wouldn’t go several days without brushing your teeth and, by the same token, you shouldn’t go several days without cleaning your dentures.
Not Cleaning Them Regularly
For much the same reasons as discussed above, your dentures need to be cleaned at least once a day. If you really are so tired that you can’t bring yourself to wash your dentures (even though our XODENT kit makes this process quick and hassle-free) it’s much better to remove them and leave them to soak in water than it is to leave them in.
Just make sure you give them a good rinse the next day and then wash them the following night. You should also rinse your mouth and your dentures after eating to remove any pieces of food that become trapped in the mechanisms.
Not Cleaning Them Properly
Dentures are very easy to clean and there is no excuse for getting this wrong, yet so many denture wearers do. We hear stories of people destroying their dentures because they scrubbed too vigorously with a hard-bristle toothbrush or even a scouring pad, and some people even insist on using toothpaste.
You don’t need any of that. A simple effervescent tablet from XODENT will suffice. Just fill the XODENT bath with warm water, pop a tablet inside, and then add your dentures. The following day, you can gently scrub them with a soft-bristled brush, before running them under the faucet and popping them into your mouth.
It’s important to make sure you use only cold and warm water, as hot water may warp or weaken the fittings. As tempting as it is to use hot or boiling water to clean and sterilize, it’s one of the worst things that you can do for your dentures.
Not Wearing Them Regularly
Your dentures are designed to be worn, so wear them! It seems like an obvious statement to make, and yet many individuals neglect to wear them every day.
It’s especially important to wear them every day when they are new. You need to get used to them and the only way to do that is to keep them in. You don’t want to get into the habit of taking them out every time you’re home alone and no one’s looking, otherwise, you’ll turn what should be a normal experience into something of a novelty.
Dentures are there to replace real teeth. They’re not like a pair of jeans or a dress/suit that you can swap for slacks as soon as you get home.
It’s not just about acclimatizing yourself, either. Leaving dentures on the nightstand can dry them out, potentially warping them to the point that they no longer fit as well as they should.
Eating Hard and Sticky Foods
If you previously had very few teeth or no teeth at all, you were probably very limited in what you could eat. Tough meat, sticky candies, and crunchy carbs were probably off the menu, so it’s natural to want to get stuck into those foods as soon as you have a gleaming set of false teeth.
The problem is, while many of these foods are acceptable, most need to be consumed with caution. Steak, for instance, is fine if you get a really tender cut and don’t overcook it. Chips and fries are also okay, as long as you rinse your mouth and dentures afterward.
It’s never acceptable to crunch ice cubes or to chomp on sticky candy, but there are less damaging alternatives.
Little bits of food can become trapped in your dentures, finding their way into the fittings and underneath the gum line. If they’re left to fester, they will become a haven of bacteria, leaving you exposed to everything from inflammation and bad breath to infections and more.
To get rid of all those errant food particles, simply remove your dentures after eating and run them under the faucet. Your mouth should be rinsed at the same time, and while a non-alcohol mouthwash can help, water is often more than enough.
It’s just like brushing real teeth after eating in that it helps to prevent decay/damage, only instead of spending a couple of minutes scrubbing with a hard bristle toothbrush, you’re just running them through a little water.
Trying to Repair Them Yourself
Dentures need to fit snugly over your gums, and they need to look like real teeth, all while withstanding whatever foods and drinks you throw at them over the course of many years. They are expensive and complicated, but despite this, some users assume that they can repair their expensive dentures themselves.
Unless you’re an expert with some top tech at your disposal, you need to leave the denture repair to your dentist. They’re not like a pair of glasses that you can fix with a little Gorilla Glue and/or a strip of adhesive tape.
At best, you’ll have an ineffective and short-lived fix that will just frustrate your dentist and potentially hinder their future work. At worst you could damage them beyond repair.
If your dentures break, don’t try to fix them yourself. Always speak with your dentist and see what can be done. It’s unlikely that they will tell you that you need to buy a new set and discard the current set completely, and if they do and you don’t have the money, then you can start tinkering, as you have nothing to lose!
The same applies to dentures that don’t fit as well as they should. It’s okay to add a little adhesive and to try and reposition them in your mouth but think twice about reaching for the tools and make an appointment with your dentist instead.
Trying to Cut Corners with Cheap Dentures
The price of dentures varies considerably. At the upper end of the market, you’ll pay around $5,000 to $8,000 for a set of high-quality dentures that look exactly like the real thing, fit like a glove, and will last for many years to come. At this price point, they should also be fitted by an expert dentist and will often come with a guarantee against damage and bad-fittings.
At cheaper price points, they won’t look as real or last as long, and while they still serve a purpose, there is a point at which they start to look as genuine as the fake vampire teeth you buy for Halloween.
For example, many online retailers sell DIY denture kits for as little as $100. The idea is that they will give you everything you need to create your own dentures and you just have to put the pieces together, but as you would expect for such a low price point, the result is often terrible.
Not only do these dentures require a lot of messy DIY preparation, but they won’t fit very well and may cause a lot of irritation and inflammation.
At around $300 to $400, you can get a pair of dentures from online retailers. They will send you molds to take impressions, and then they’ll ship you a pair of dentures. However, many corners are cut in the production of these dentures and you have nowhere to turn if they don’t fit well or need to be adjusted.
If you’re going for the cheap option, just make sure it’s supplied by an actual dentist and comes with some kind of guarantee. That way, you have some accountability and know you can just contact your dentist if there is an issue.
Smoking or Chewing Tobacco
You no doubt know that smoking is terrible for real teeth, but you might not know that it can be just as detrimental for dentures. Not only can this habit stain your teeth, but it also has a seriously negative impact on your gum health.
Smoking reduces the blood flow to your mouth, impacting its ability to heal and causing everything from chronic inflammation to oral sores and gum disease. It won’t impact your dentures directly, but you’ll feel the effects when your gums begin to bleed and become irritated.
Chewing tobacco is just as bad, if not worse, as it’s more likely to become trapped between the fittings in your dentures.
Lifelong smokers often need dentures before nonsmokers due to the damage that it does to the teeth and gums. As a result, many denture wearers are also smokers, and their oral health is probably the last thing on their mind.
If the threat of lung cancer and heart problems hasn’t deterred you, then gum disease and stained dentures likely won’t have an impact, either. Just remember that no amount of rinsing, soaking, scrubbing, and cleaning will reverse the effects that smoking has on your oral health and if you’re not careful, you’ll also be at risk of developing mouth and throat cancer.
Speak with your doctor about smoking cessation. It doesn’t matter how long you have been smoking and how pointless cessation seems. It’s always beneficial to stop and it will always add years to your life and air to your lungs!
There’s generally no harm in using real teeth to trim your nails. It’s disgusting, and not something you want to be caught doing in polite company, but your teeth are more than sufficiently equipped for the job. However, the same can’t be said for dentures.
Fake teeth are not as strong or durable. They could chip or crack, and even if that doesn’t happen immediately, you might weaken the teeth and cause them to break at a later point.
If you had a habit of biting your nails before dentures, there’s a good chance you’ll have the same habit afterward. You have to teach yourself to keep those fingers out of your mouth if you want to get your money’s worth from those dentures.
Using Your Fake Teeth as a Tool
It’s not just your fingernails that can harm your dentures. You also need to refrain from using your dentures to open beer bottles, tear paper/tape, open packets, and generally using them as a tool. Most of these things won’t hurt your real teeth, but they can do some serious damage to your dentures.
That packet of Mac n Cheese might be tempting, but is it really worth damaging a $2,000+ set of dentures just to break the seal?
Avoiding the Dentist at All Costs
Some individuals assume that dentures are the ultimate cop-out for people who hate the dentist and want to avoid frequent check-ups and treatments. After all, if you have a set of dentures then you’ll never need to worry about another root canal, filling, or extraction, but that’s simply not the case and you’ll still need to make and keep those dental appointments.
Your dentist will request that you have a checkup at least twice a year, during which time they will examine your gums and dentures, making sure the former are healthy and the latter are strong. If the dentures have become dislodged in any way, they will make adjustments to ensure that they continue to fit.
If you notice any cracks, chips, or warping, or you feel that your dentures don’t fit as well as they once did, you should book an appointment as soon as you can.
Realignments are often quick, easy, and cheap, and you’ll only need to pay the big bucks if you have seriously damaged your dentures.
Neglecting Oral Health
Just because you have no real teeth left, doesn’t mean you can neglect your oral health. You still have gums, you still have bone, and if you want to avoid loose dentures and constant readjustments, not to mention bleeding gums and inflammation, you will need to take good care of your gums.
Many dentists recommend lightly brushing your gums with a soft-bristle toothbrush. You can do this every night after you remove your dentures, before rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash in the morning.
It’s especially important to keep your mouth clean when you are first fitted for dentures, as your gums are still healing and adjusting. You can use warm salty warm as a gentle anti-bacterial mouthwash to keep everything clean.
Summary: Keep it Clean
As you can see, many of the habits that are perfectly acceptable with real teeth are harmful when you wear dentures. It’s hard to make the switch from one way of life to another, and it’s perfectly normal for a few habits to carry over when you do.
The good news is that you probably won’t destroy your dentures by leaving them in for one night, forgetting to rinse for a couple of days, or opening a packet or two; it’s not about making a single mistake here and there. The goal is to adopt clean and healthy habits that will reduce your chances of damaging the dentures and ensure that they stay strong and snug for 5+ years.
So, keep all of the above bad habits in mind, try to avoid them if you can, and make sure you’re well-stocked with XODENT tablets so that you never need to skip a nightly soak.