How to Stay Active and Live a Normal Life with Dentures
Denture wearers are often worried about the transition from real/no teeth to wearing dentures. It can be a big change, and it’s normal to worry about whether you can live a “normal” life or not. What happens when you go to a restaurant or a friend’s house? What do you do if the dentures feel loose and what about talking, singing, and exercising?
You don’t need to stop doing these things just because you’re wearing dentures. With a few simple changes to your house, lifestyle, and mindset, you can continue living an active life as a denture wearer.
Get Into the Rhythm of Cleaning Them
A clean set of dentures will last longer, smell better, and look brighter. It can be a nuisance at first, but it’s actually easier to clean your dentures than it is to clean real teeth.
It’s important to establish a rhythm and make sure you follow the necessary steps every single day.
First, buy a denture cleaning kit like the ones sold here at XODENT. It contains everything that you need to clean your dentures and it won’t break the bank. In fact, if you buy a kit today and purchase the extra cleaning tablets you need for a year of nightly washes, it’ll cost you less than $150 RRP, and once you have the kit, every proceeding year will be even cheaper.
Once you have your kit, simply keep it in the bathroom and use it before you go to bed every night. Remove your dentures, place them in the denture bath, add water and an XODENT tablet, and then leave them to soak.
In the morning, you can brush your dentures with the soft-bristled brush provided, before giving them a quick rinse and placing them back in your mouth.
It also helps to practice good oral hygiene, as bacteria will still accumulate in your mouth, coating your gums and your tongue. If you don’t remove the bacteria, it will transfer to the dentures and grow, leaving you with bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth. It’ll also make you prone to gum disease.
Every time you eat, remove your dentures, rinse them, and rinse your mouth as well. When you remove your dentures on an evening, give your mouth a quick rinse with mouthwash and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub your gums. It will kill the bacteria that has become ingrained there and it will also stimulate blood flow, which promotes healing and keeps your mouth healthy.
Keep a Travel Kit
The XODENT All-In-One Denture Cleaning Solution comes with two kits, not one. You can give the extra kit to your partner, keep it as a spare, or use it as a travel kit.
A travel kit should contain everything you need to clean your dentures for a few days, which means half of the XODENT kit, along with a few extra denture cleaning tablets. Place it in a small bag with some denture adhesive and grab it whenever you go on vacation or spend the night at a friend’s house.
If you keep the travel kit small and compact, you can keep it in your car or handbag at all times. That way, if you experience a mini-crisis at a friend’s house or at work, you can quickly clean them. It also means you will never be caught short.
The last thing you want is to spend a few days at a hotel without a proper cleaning kit. You might be resigned to using soap or mouthwash, which could harm your dentures or leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Alternatively, you leave them in a glass of water and don’t kill the bacteria, or you leave them on the nightstand, where they dry out and become damaged.
Keep Some Denture Adhesive With You at All Times
A well-made set of dentures should fit without issue. They create suction using the thin layer of saliva on your gums and this helps to lock them in place. However, your mouth changes shape over time, as your jawbone and gums gradually recede when they are no longer supporting your teeth. Dry mouth can also affect the way that your dentures sit.
After a while, you may notice that your dentures don’t fit as well as they once did. To begin with, the changes will be slight and imperceptible, at which point a little denture adhesive can help you out.
Keep some denture adhesive in your home and travel kit at all times, making sure it’s there when you need a little extra support. You can use it when your dentures begin to slip away and whenever you need some more support, such as when you are going for a meal at a restaurant or friend’s house.
If you anticipate that you will be using a lot of the adhesive, look for a zinc-free adhesive. There are very few risks associated with zinc adhesive and moderate use, but if you’re using it excessively and have any preexisting health conditions, you may be more prone to zinc toxicity and should monitor your intake very carefully.
Know What You Can and Can’t Eat
Some foods are more forgiving than others as a denture wearer. You need to avoid really tough meats, as well as small and hard foods like corn kernels, nuts, and seeds. It doesn’t mean that you should abstain from these foods entirely, as meat is fine if it is tender or chopped up and nuts/seeds are fine if they are cooked.
You are not going to destroy your dentures just because you had a piece of steak at a dinner party but you should refrain from eating these things regularly and make sure you’re prepared when you do. For instance, if you attend a dinner party and are served a big piece of tough steak that you’re too polite to refuse, simply chop it up into smaller pieces and chew on both sides of your mouth to create a balance.
If you have some time to prepare, you can head into the bathroom, remove your dentures, add a little adhesive, and stick them back in place.
Don’t Hide the Fact That You Wear Dentures
Wearing dentures for the first time is a pretty big change, and it’s one that often sends people into their shell. They withdraw from the spotlight and spend most of their time worrying that their dentures will fall out, break, or somehow expose them. But there is nothing wrong with wearing dentures. Stop hiding them, stop worrying about whether people will see them or not, and put yourself out there!
Smile with confidence. Run, walk, talk, eat—you can and should do everything that you can do with real teeth. If you’re constantly worried that something is going to happen, you won’t enjoy them and you won’t be able to live your new life to the fullest.
For many, wearing dentures is the first time that they feel confident to smile. If you have missing or decayed teeth, and you’re very self-conscious about how you look, it’s natural to want to hide your smile.
You might smile more thinly than you should or even keep your lips locked together, making that laugh or smile look forced or insincere. Maybe you turn away or use your hand to cover your mouth. These habits are developed over many years and they become second nature.
When you finally make the switch to dentures, you’ll still feel like you need to smile weakly or turn your head, as that’s what you’re used to. But those dentures have restored your pearly whites and have given you the confidence to be yourself. Open your mouth, smile as wide as you can smile, laugh without holding anything back, and stop worrying!
Contrary to what you might think, people are not secretly wondering whether you wear dentures or not and they’re not using every smile and laugh as an opportunity to take a closer look. Most people don’t care. They’re either not perceptive enough to notice the minute details or they have other things to worry about.
And even if they do think that, even if they really have nothing better to worry about than whether you wear dentures or not, so what?
Wear Your Dentures for the First 24-Hours
Generally, dentures should be removed at the end of the day and you should refrain from sleeping in them. But there is one exception, and that’s when the dentures are first fitted.
Wearing them for 24-hours will help you to acclimatize and ensure they feel more natural. It can feel a little awkward when they are first fitted, so it helps to keep them in for the first 24 hours.
If you have been diagnosed with bruxism, a condition whereby an individual grinds their teeth at night, your dentures need to be removed every night without exception. Otherwise, you could be waking up to discover that your shiny new set of dentures are chipped and warped.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In the first day or two, it may feel uncomfortable talking. This is especially true if you spent many years with very few teeth or no teeth at all. It only makes sense, as you have a large contraption in your mouth that wasn’t there before, and it’s going to take some getting used to it.
Wearing your dentures for 24 hours can go some way to helping with that, but you should also practice talking. Be vocal during those first few days and if you don’t have anyone to talk to, talk to yourself! Converse with your pets, chat with your family members, call a friend, or just read aloud. The more you talk, the more comfortable the dentures will feel and the less restricted you will be.
You might have a slight lisp to begin with and it may also feel like your dentures are about to slip and fall at any moment. But those feelings will go, you just need to get used to them.
Chew Denture-Friendly Gum
Most chewing gum isn’t suitable for denture wearers. Chewing gum is very sticky and the only reason it doesn’t cling to your teeth is that they are constantly coated in a film of saliva. But saliva doesn’t coat dentures in the same way and so chewing gum has a way of clinging to the teeth and becoming a nuisance.
Look for denture-friendly chewing gum. Freedent is the most popular brand for this purpose and has been around for several decades. It comes in a variety of flavors and won’t stick to your dentures.
The act of chewing gum will stimulate the flow of saliva, freshen your mouth, and get you accustomed to chewing your dentures. It’s a great little trick and it will be very useful, especially during those first few days.
Get Them Repaired and Realigned as Needed
As your dentures lose their perfect fit, it’s important to visit your dentist and have them realigned. The sooner you do this, the easier the realignment will be and the less trouble your dentures will give you. If you keep ignoring the problem, it will just get worse. Before you know it, you will be using vast quantities of denture adhesive just to keep your dentures in place, and that’s just not acceptable when you consider how much you paid for those dentures!
The same is true for repairing your dentures. If one of the teeth cracks or chips, or you notice any warping in the mechanism, contact your dentist immediately.
As with real teeth, you need to fix issues very quickly, lest they snowball into something much worse, something that could lead to extensive repairs that take days or weeks or complete and leave you severely out of pocket.
Hydration is key to optimal health and that applies to your oral health, as well. Your mouth needs water to produce saliva, dilute acidity, and flush all of those harmful food particles and sugars away. If you deprive your body of water, you will limit its ability to protect itself. Not only will it leave you more exposed to gum disease, but it’ll also give you bad breath and prevent your dentures from fitting as well as they should.
Chewing gum can go some way to helping with this, but you need to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, as well.
The exact amount of water that you need will depend on everything from your physiology to your location (is it hot and dry or cold and humid?) and the amount of exercise that you do. Your diet will also play a role, as someone who eats only fresh fruit and vegetables will need less than someone who eats highly processed foods, as they’ll get a lot of what they need from their diet.
Just make sure you drink when you are thirsty, have a dry mouth, are exercising, or have spent some time in the sun. You should try to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day and can also include soda, tea, coffee, and fruit juice in this total. Just try to avoid consuming too many sugars, even if it comes in the form of fruit juices or smoothies.
Buying a big water bottle and carrying it around with you will help you to meet your daily water needs. Grab a gallon container, fill it with water and ice, and if you drink that throughout the course of the day you know you’re getting more than you need.
Don’t overdo it though. If you haven’t drunk anything all day and it’s 9 PM at night, that doesn’t mean you should gulp down your daily allowance in one sitting. It is possible to drink too much water, as it will dilute and deplete essential minerals and lead to a condition known as hyperhydration.
Summary: A Better Option
Dentures can seem like a huge change. When compared to real teeth, there are some massive differences. You can’t brush them or floss them and you’ll have to forget about toothpaste and whitening solutions. Dentures are also not as strong as the real deal, and so you are much more vulnerable to chips, cracks, and other problems. But very few people go from real teeth to a full set of dentures and so the change is often a positive one.
The majority of new denture wearers have very few teeth in their mouth and some have none at all. They often spend years with decaying, rotten, and otherwise unhealthy teeth. They can’t drink very cold drinks without feeling like their gums are being poked with needles. They can’t eat as easily as they would like, and they have to choose their foods carefully lest they struggle to chew and swallow.
Going from a state of poor dental health and decaying teeth to a mouth of pristine dentures is not a struggle, it’s an improvement. It’s not something that you should be scared of or wary of—it’s something that you should embrace!
And even if you are transitioning from strong and healthy teeth to dentures, it’s still easy to live a happy and healthy life. If you follow the steps outlined above, there’s no stopping you. Just remember to keep those dentures clean, speak with your dentist whenever there is a problem, and smile with confidence!