About 35 million Americans do not have teeth, and most of these toothless individuals have dentures to replace the missing teeth. If you are a senior and have recently had dentures placed in your mouth, then you will need to spend some time getting used to the teeth since your bite will feel very different. As you start to wear the dentures, you will need to pay attention to the way the false teeth fit. If you notice a lack of suction between the dentures and your gums, then you may have a suction issue that will need to be resolved. Keep reading to learn about suction problems, dry mouth, and how the problem can be fixed.
Understanding Dentures And Suction
Dentures are made out of porcelain and acrylic resin materials in most cases. Porcelain is used to create the teeth, and the acrylic runs along the bottom of the dentures to make up the base or plate. Nylon polymers are sometimes utilized to create the framework for the dentures as well. The smooth plate or base of the dentures will sit directly against the gums.
Your false teeth will stay in place through suction. As you place your dentures over the gum tissues, the base will become wet with saliva. Air will move out from underneath the denture plate as you press the teeth down, and this will create suction between the dentures and the gums. The flow of saliva is necessary to make sure the dentures stick in place. If you have a dry mouth condition called xerostomia, then saliva volume may not be large enough to keep your dentures in place through suction. Your dentures are then likely to shift or move around the mouth. This will most commonly occur as the gum tissues shrink and leave more space underneath the acrylic base.
Identifying And Eliminating Dry Mouth
One of the easiest ways to make sure your dentures fit correctly is to identify your dry mouth condition and eliminate it. Dry mouth is common among seniors. However, it is not typically caused by aging. Sometimes, xerostomia can be caused by an illness like sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, anemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis. If you have not spoken to your doctor yet about your dry mouth issue, then you should schedule a physical so that all serious illnesses can be ruled out.
When you speak with your physician, also go over the medications that you take. Some medicines can cause dry mouth issues. Medicines used to treat hypertension, depression, urinary incontinence, allergies, epilepsy, and asthma can cause dry mouth. It may be possible to switch to a medication with fewer side effects if your doctor feels that dry mouth is caused by medication.
Dry mouth may also be caused by a simple case of dehydration. As you age, you are not likely to feel as thirsty as you once did. Your body simply does not send out as many thirst signals as it used to, and this may mean that you are drinking a lot less than you should. You should be drinking about 2.2 liters of water a day if you are a woman and about 3 liters if you are a man. Use a one or two liter water bottle to make sure you are consuming more than enough fluids each day. Spread out the fluid intake all throughout the day to reduce incontinence and urination issues.
If you and your physician cannot identify your dry mouth issue, then your salivary glands may simply be producing less saliva. A greater intake of fluid can help with denture suction. If it does not, then your denture specialist can suggest a saliva alternative that can help to lubricate the mouth and assist with denture suction.