Dentures can have a tremendous impact on your level of confidence, bolstering how you look and feel. But they also take a little time to get accustomed to. If you've just received complete dentures, you may want some advice on a number of things, from what to eat all the way to caring for your appliance. Here are six simple tips for making the adjustment as smooth as possible.
1. Eat easy-to-chew foods
When your dentures are new, it's important to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. But it's also important to select foods that are easy to chew while you're getting used to your new oral appliance. Until you feel like you've become the denture "pro," make sure you have a varied selection of the following foods on your plate:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat pancakes
- Soft cooked veggies
- Mashed potatoes
- Soups with lots of fresh veggies
- Jello, yogurt, pudding, and sherbet for dessert
- Fruits like cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, grapes, oranges, etc.
For the health-conscious person, consider taking some of your favorite hard to chew fruits and veggies and making a smoothie to get a blast of nutrients.
Avoid foods that are hard to chew, such as corn on the cob, whole apples, sticky foods like caramel and peanut butter, steak, ribs, pork chops, ham, and shelled nuts that can get stuck between the teeth.
2. Practice talking
You might sound different when you first get your dentures, and that's okay. Most people need to adjust to the way dentures feel and to how they sound when they talk. As often as you can, practice reading aloud. Read one of your favorite books or a story from a magazine. If necessary, sneak away to a private place where you can do this without feeling self-conscious. Get used to the way the appliance feels in your mouth and how your tongue forms different letters and sounds. You'll be a pro in no time.
3. Use the right adhesive
As you know, adhesives are sometimes required to hold the dentures in place. But some patients may need to experiment with different kinds to find one that works best for them. The wrong kind of adhesive allows food particles to get stuck between your gums and the appliance, and it can affect the way you chew and the way you talk.
Speak with your dentist about the best kinds of adhesives to use and if there are any particular types you should avoid.
4. Brush as usual
Don't assume that just because you have dentures that you no longer need to brush your teeth. Dentures can stain and harbor bacteria just like your original teeth can. After each meal, rinse then brush your dentures with a soft-bristled brush specifically designed for dentures.
Don't use toothpaste on your dentures because it typically contains small particles that can scratch the surface of your appliance. But don't toss out that tube either. You still need it and here's why.
Even without your original teeth, your mouth harbors bacteria and other germs that can cause fungal infections and respiratory illnesses. Therefore, it's important to keep up with oral hygiene just like you did before. Use your favorite toothpaste to brush your gums, cheeks, and tongue after each meal.
5. Soak daily
Soaking your dentures removes small particles of food, plaque, and harmful germs that collect on the appliance. Do not use regular cleaning products like bleach or ammonia to clean them as they can damage the dentures and pose risks to your health. Your dentist will be able to recommend the right product to use. Be sure to follow the directions, and avoid using the denture cleanser as an oral rinse.
Most people soak their dentures while they sleep, and this is good advice for several reasons. First, it gives the cleanser plenty of time to do its thing. Second, it allows your gums to rest and heal from any irritation or soreness that can occur during the initial stages of wearing dentures.
6. Maintain regular checkups
It might be tempting to forego the checkups once you get accustomed to your dentures, but regular dental visits are just as important as before. Your dentist needs to keep an eye on your denture fit, screen for any oral problems like infections or sores, and monitor for any age-related changes to the natural jawline and jaw bones.
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