Dentures do not technically cause you to have “dry-mouth,” but when you have dry mouth and wear dentures, the affects can be much more noticeable and irritating. Dry mouth can be frustrating and can cause issues when wearing or trying to use your dentures for practical uses. If dry mouth persists or is extremely bad, it can lead to other health problems. The good news is that there are treatments and processes that can reduce or eliminate this problem.
What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition in which the salvatory glands in your mouth are not producing enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of different conditions and circumstances. Dry mouth can range from just being irritating, to something that is strongly impacting your well-being.
Saliva is important because it enhances your ability to chew and swallow food (it also helps enhance taste of food), it helps aid in digestion as there are enzymes in saliva that help break down food and neutralize bacteria, and it also helps prevent issues such as tooth decay by limiting bacteria growth and washing away food particles from gums and teeth.
Dry mouth can cause a feeling of dryness and/or stickiness in your mouth, it can cause bad breath and sore throats, it can make chewing, talking, and swallowing difficult. It can also cause cracking at the corners of the mouth, bleeding gums, and dry or bumpy tongue.
Why is dry mouth problematic for denture wearers?
Dry mouth is annoying, but even more so for denture wearers. When wearing dentures and struggling with dry mouth, you may notice that your dentures are not suctioning to your gums properly; that is because saliva acts like a glue to keep your dentures retained against your gums.
Dry mouth also makes you more prone to bacterial and fungal mouth infections such as angular cheilitis, oral stomatitis, and thrush. Thrush, for example, can cause white lesions in your cheeks and tongue. It can cause soars and make it difficult to eat. When struggling with an oral infection, it can be very uncomfortable to wear and use your dentures.
Not only are health issues associated with dry mouth and dentures, but dry mouth can cause your dentures to dry out. When dentures dry out, they can become brittle and warped, and are more likely to break, which will result in needing a new pair. If you suffer from dry mouth, it is extra important to take your dentures out at night and put them in a hydrating cleaning solution.
What causes dry mouth?
Many different circumstances can bring about dry mouth including:
- Your age
- As we age, the saliva glands in our mouths start to slow down and produce less saliva.
- Medications, illnesses, and cancer treatments
- Certain medications, illnesses, and cancer treatments have side effects such as dry mouth.
- Nerve damage
- Injuries to nerves in the head or neck can cause dry mouth as some nerves carry messages from the brain to the salivary glands; when damaged, they may not carry these messages to the brain.
- Smoke, as well as nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow.
- Mouth breathing
- As a mouth breather you are more likely to have dry mouth as the air constantly flowing through your mouth can cause saliva to evaporate or produce at a much slower rate.
- Sugary diet and diabetes
- Increased blood sugar can cause dry mouth.
What are the solutions for dry mouth when wearing dentures?
The cause of your dry mouth will determine what type of treatment options you need to seek.
Some of the general steps you can take to combat dry mouth include, but are not limited to:
- Staying hydrated
- Hydration is a major factor that can contribute to dry mouth. If you are not drinking enough water or are consuming too many sugary drinks, you may find your mouth drying out.
- Avoid dry foods and drinks
- Dry foods such as crackers, breads, and pastries, and drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol can contribute to the drying of your mouth.
- Avoid tobacco and other smoke products
- As mentioned, nicotine and smoke contribute to a dry mouth.
- Avoid mouth breathing
- The constant flow of air through your mouth can cause saliva to evaporate or produce slower.
- Alternative or complimentary medications
- If you are taking medications that cause dry mouth, talk to your doctor about alternatives and medications that can aid in saliva production (never stop taking your prescribed medication without talking to your doctor).
- Dental implants
- Consider dental implants. These can help reduce dry mouth as the implant posts increase the integrity of the jawbone, this can help encourage saliva production.
Need more answers?
Talk to our denturist Michael Galye. They can help determine pathways for you to take when suffering from dry mouth while wearing dentures. If you are looking for a trustworthy denturist, reach out to us at Old’s Denture & Implant Centre. We have the experience you are looking for and can help you feel comfortable wearing your dentures. After all, correctly fitting dentures are essential to your well-being!