If you have recently begun to wear dentures, you may find that some adjustments will be necessary to make the most out of this new experience. Your dentures are an investment; therefore you will need to learn how to care for them properly. In addition, you may find that you will need to modify your diet somewhat or avoid certain foods and beverages altogether. This doesn't have to be a challenge, however, if you follow a few simple guidelines. Keep the following recommendations in mind for a positive experience all around:

1. Stay Hydrated At All Times

Most everyone knows the importance of staying hydrated, but did you know that it is especially necessary for denture wearers? That's because your mouth needs proper lubrication to eliminate friction between your dentures and your gums. If your mouth is dry, your dentures may rub against the gums, causing irritation. The simple fix is to drink more non-caffeinated liquids, primarily water.

You might also cut back on caffeine, which tends to have a dehydrating effect. Another measure you can take to stimulate the flow of saliva and lubricate your mouth is to chew sugarless gum. Also, if you periodically experience dry mouth, avoid denture irritation by using an oral rinse known as a saliva substitute. Keep in mind that you should avoid mouth rinses containing alcohol, which may cause further irritation and dryness, and also avoid the use of antihistamines, which may also cause dry mouth.

2. Know Which Foods Should Be Avoided

To avoid the possibility of breaking your dentures, it is a good idea to avoid foods such as hard candies, trail mix, or hard pretzel bites. Also, avoid foods that contain sharp or edgy pieces such as popcorn kernels, tortilla chips, or certain types of nuts, as these may become lodged between dentures. You might also want to avoid sticky snacks, such as caramel apples and chewy granola bars, as these foods may make cleaning your dentures more challenging and may also cause dentures to become dislodged from the mouth.

3. Take Smaller Bites of Tough or Chewy Foods

If you enjoy chewy or textured foods such as a thick cut of steak, there is no need to eliminate it from your diet. Eliminate the challenge of chewing thick and textured food by cutting it into bite-sized pieces. Eating smaller bites will ease the pressure on your gums and reduce the risk of damaging your dentures through excessive force.

4. Care For Your Dentures Properly

Most likely, you have been instructed on basic denture care by your dentist. You may know to avoid using toothpaste and to clean dentures daily with a commercial denture cleaner or mild dish soap. However, there are some aspects that you may be unaware of. For instance, did you know that dentures may dry out or even lose their shape if not kept moist overnight or when not in use? To avoid this possibility, it's recommended that you soak dentures when they're not in use, either in plain warm water or in a special solution made for dentures.

It is also best to avoid any do-it-yourself repairs or adjustments. Leave the adjustments to a professional, such as a prosthodontist. Never bend your dentures, as these may damage them, and avoid the use of an over-the-counter repair set, as it may contain chemicals or harsh substances that tend to cause mouth irritation or deterioration to dentures over time.

5. Give Your Face a Workout

It may seem odd to consider a workout for your face, but it may be beneficial. Facial toning exercises may help improve denture fit and help you eliminate a sagging facial appearance due to tooth and bone loss. One such exercise is forcing an exaggerated smile and holding that position for several seconds. Massaging your cheeks may also help. Sucking in your cheeks for several seconds is another facial exercise you might try. 

For more information, contact a dental office such as Bristol Dental Group.