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5 Ways Sleeping With Dentures Threatens Your Health

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Your new dentures fill out your lip line again and give you the freedom to enjoy your favorite foods. No matter how much you love those new partial or full dentures made just for you, it's best to remove them before you go to bed each night. Sleeping with your dentures in can create five specific problems that threaten your overall health.

Shrinking Jaw Bones

The jaw bone hidden below the gums slowly recedes and shrinks as you grow older. Keeping the dentures in 24 hours a day often accelerates the loss of bone tissue. As the bones shrink away, it reduces the support for the dentures and leads to a looser fit.

Loose dentures are more than just a nuisance. A lack of a tight fit leads to further health issues like:

  • Digestion issues due to improper chewing.
  • Malnutrition as you avoid foods you struggle to chew with loose appliances.
  • Difficulty pronouncing words.
  • Infections in the corner of your mouth due to excessive salivation, also known as cheilosis.
  • Headaches and ear pain triggered by uneven pressure from the dentures. 

Sores on the Gums

Bed sores form when a bed-ridden person experiences uninterrupted pressure on one part of the body, blocking circulation. The same kind of sore often develops on the gums when you wear your dentures for days or weeks without a break. The irritation and damage are further worsened when the fit of the dentures loosens and allows the material to rub against the most sensitive spots even more.

Leaving your dentures in constantly because you don't like how you look without them in can backfire. Once sores develop, you may need to leave your dental appliances out for a week or more to let your injuries heal. Giving your gums a rest at night is the best way to avoid both pain and the embarrassment of going out in public without your teeth in.

Pneumonia Risks

Pneumonia is all too often life-threatening, especially if you already have heart or lung problems. Recent research from Japan shows a strong link between wearing dentures through the night and a greatly increased risk for pneumonia. Constantly wearing your dentures creates a hygiene issue no matter how well and often you clean the pieces, and reduced oral hygiene directly increases your chances for a serious lung infection as you age.

Thrush Development

You likely associate oral yeast infections, also known as thrush, with babies. Adults also struggle with these painful mouth coatings when they decide to wear their dentures throughout the night. The Candida albicans fungi thrives in the warm, damp environment created between the gums and the ridges of the plastic.

As the fungi grows, it colonizes the tongue, gums, and cheek lining in big white patches. You'll lose your ability to taste and may experience intense burning and bleeding. Taking your dental equipment out each night improves your oral hygiene and lets your saliva naturally wash away Candida cells before they can gather together.

Bacterial Growth

Aside from infestations of aggravating fungi, bacteria also gets a boost when you sleep with your dentures covering your gums. It only takes one tiny speck of food stuck under your dentures to trigger a major proliferation of gum-damaging bacteria. This leads to bad breath, gum abscesses, and an increased infection risk throughout the rest of your body.

Of course, you need to sleep with your dentures in right after you get your teeth removed. The first temporary set of dentures fitted by the dentist after the extraction procedure acts as a sort of bandage to protect the gums as they heal and maintain their shape. Once your dentist clears you to start removing the piece and letting your gums rest, switch to a routine that involves sleeping without the appliances.