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Denture Adhesives: Do They Work? Do You Need Them?

Watch enough television and you could be convinced that everyone with dentures should use an adhesive.

Talk to some dentists and you might be convinced that no one should use an adhesive.

The reality lies somewhere between the extremes.

Denture adhesive can sometimes make it easier to use dentures. Some people find it difficult to get used to a denture, even when it fits well. They are concerned that it may slip or fall out. New denture wearers are especially likely to have this concern. Using a denture adhesive can ease some of these worries. It can increase your confidence about wearing dentures.

However, you shouldn't use an adhesive to make up for poorly fitting dentures. If your dentures don't fit right, they may need to be adjusted.

How do you know whether you need an adhesive or an adjustment? Consult your dentist.

If you expect to need dentures soon, talk to your dentist about adhesives, too. If you already have dentures, visit your dentist every six months to have them checked. If you notice changes in the comfort of your dentures, set up an appointment as soon as possible. You may think you need an adhesive. But actually you may need to have your denture relined or rebased by your dentist.

If you wear dentures without an adhesive, you may still benefit from using one. Using a denture adhesive sometimes provides more comfort and security. If this is the case for you, don't hesitate to use one.

Powdered adhesives tend to change the bite less than paste adhesives. Powders are also easier to clean off dentures than pastes.

To use a powdered adhesive:

  1. Clean and rinse your denture.
  2. Shake a layer of the powder on the denture.
  3. Place the denture in your mouth.

How long the adhesive lasts depends on several things. Adhesives usually hold longer for upper dentures. Lower dentures can be loosened more easily by food and liquids. This may be a reason to use the paste form for the lower denture.

When you clean your denture, remove the adhesive. Thoroughly clean the denture and then place it in water. You also can use a special denture toothbrush to help keep dentures clean. These brushes have very soft bristles and have been designed to help clean both sides of the dentures.

The bottom line: Practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly, whether you use adhesives or not.

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