Dry Mouth and Dentures
Dry Mouth Can Lead to Loose Dentures and Sores
The fit of a denture can become compromised depending on many factors including weight loss, bone loss, medications, and saliva. Many people that wear dentures suffer from a condition called “dry mouth”, also known as Xerostomia, which can be uncomfortable and affect a denture wearer’s ability to function with their denture. Dry mouth may lead to loose dentures, irritations, sores, and possible infections for denture wearers. Dentures do not cause dry mouth.
Dry mouth is a condition where there is a lack of secretion of saliva from the mouth. Saliva is extremely important and essential to denture wearers and affects a significant portion of the population. Saliva moistens food particles for swallowing and helps to create suction between the denture and tissues of the mouth. It also acts as a lubricant and prevents irritation that may cause sores from the denture rubbing on the gums. A lack of moisture can lead to increased bacterial growth and fungal infections in the mouth such as thrush, angular cheilitis or oral stomatitis.
There are several factors that may contribute to dry mouth:
- Cancer treatment
- Nerve damage
- Mouth breathing
- Poor hygiene or unhealthy eating habits
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
People who suffer from dry mouth often experience several uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Red and parched mouth, always thirsty
- Dry and raw feeling in the mouth
- Sore throat
- Inflammation of the tissues in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- A feeling of soreness in the mouth
- Cracking at the corners of the mouth
- Pebbled-looking tongue, tongue may also look white from bacterial growth
- Decreased ability to taste food
- Bleeding gums and increased tooth decay
- Food that tends to stick more to the denture
How to Relieve Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can make wearing dentures uncomfortable and make eating more difficult. To relieve the dryness, you can try the following:
- Keep yourself well hydrated, sip on water or sugar-free drinks often during the day
- Chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets to stimulate saliva flow, look for products containing Xylitol
- Avoid drinks which dry out the mouth including caffeine and alcohol
- Avoid tobacco products and recreational drug use
- Avoid eating dry foods such as bread, crackers and pastries
- Avoid breathing through your mouth
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Consider using a specially formulated mouthwash or saliva substitute product that will keep your mouth moist and more lubricated such as rinses, gels and sprays. Try Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or products containing Xylitol such as Xylimelts.
If you are using a type of medication where dry mouth might be a side-effect, talk to your doctor to see if there is an acceptable alternative that does not produce dry mouth. However, DO NOT stop using your prescribed medication without talking to your doctor first. A denture not only improves a person’s appearance and confidence; it gives them the ability to chew their food and eat a wide variety of nutritious foods. Properly fitting dentures are essential to a person’s well-being.
~ Live Your Best Life, Let Us Perfect Your Smile ~
For more information about complete or partial dentures or how to care for your dentures, please call 604-530-9936 or visit www.yourdenture.com to set up an appointment for a complimentary consultation.
Darren Sailer and Colin Harty, Denturists, are BPS trained and Certified SEMCD clinicians at Brookswood Denture Clinic ~ Denture and Implant Solutions. Click HERE to find out more about the Denturists.