Tooth Tips for Later Life

The Importance of Saliva to Dentures: Why Denture Wearers Should Value Their Saliva

When you first get your dentures from a dental office, you will find that your saliva production temporarily increases. This leads to embarrassing bouts of drooling. As you adjust to your new dentures, you may be forced to carry a handkerchief with you, just in case. However, while you may be embarrassed, once your mouth adjusts to your dentures, your saliva flow will return to normal. More importantly, you will come to realize just how essential saliva is to your dentures.

Your Dentures Need Saliva to Fit Comfortably

Even if your dentures are well-made and sit comfortably on your gums, if your salivary glands aren't producing enough saliva, your dentures may move around and even fall out.

It is well documented that having a film of saliva between your dentures and your gums helps to hold your dentures comfortably in position. Keep in mind, too, that the thickness of your saliva also affects the retentiveness of dentures. For example, if your saliva is too thick, its retentive qualities are reduced.

Saliva Protects Your Gums from Sores

While wearing dentures, saliva helps to avoid chafing. Without it, your gums may develop painful sores that prevent you from comfortably wearing your dentures.

Bacteria Struggles to Thrive when Saliva is Present

Your saliva is also a potent antibacterial agent. Not only does it help to wash away harmful bacteria, sending it to your stomach, but saliva also traps and kills bacterial organisms and contributes to the healing of oral tissue.

Stimulate Your Saliva Production

Although saliva may be gross, as you can see, it provides denture wearers with various benefits. Therefore, as a denture wearer you should do all you can to ensure that your mouth contains an ample amount of saliva. You can increase saliva production in various ways:

  • Water: By drinking more water, your body will be able to produce more saliva.
  • Candy: Sucking on some sugar-free candy is a good way to stimulate saliva production.
  • Changing Medication: If you suspect your medication is limiting your saliva production, ask your doctor for an alternative.
  • Chewing: While chewing gum is not recommended while wearing dentures, chewing on fibrous foods such as broccoli or sprouts can help.

If you have recently begun wearing dentures, it may take you a few weeks to adjust to them. However, by ensuring that your mouth produces enough saliva, you can be a little more confident that you won't suffer any embarrassing mishaps while wearing them. More importantly, your gums will be better protected against sores and bacterial infection.