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Effect of Dentures on Digestion

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 29 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
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With millions of denture wearers in Britain and around the world, understanding the problems that arise from denture wear is important, particularly in relation to an individual’s digestion.

Issues with Denture Wear

A number of studies and reports suggest a range of problems that can occur with denture wear. Sometimes, this is directly stemming from the fit of the dentures and can be improved with regular checkups to assess the fit. Other times, a person simply won’t get used to denture wear, finds their digestion and other parts of their life suffer, and chooses a permanent solution such as dental implants.

Dentures and Gagging

For some denture wearers, they may experience a gagging sensation due to the presence of a foreign object in their mouth. With more time wearing dentures, this can go away but may be very unpleasant in the initial days. Unfortunately, it tends to be very much a psychological issue, which makes it difficult to treat if it continues.

Dentures and Sense of Taste

Particularly where someone receives upper dentures, their sense of taste may be affected. Some denture wearers find that they experience a reduced sense of taste, which can then affect healthy food choices.

From Chewing to Digestion

Contrary to what some people believe, digestion actually begins in the mouth. With reduced chewing action for denture wearers, they may not effectively get saliva flowing at that first important step in digestion. This can reduce the absorption and metabolism of key nutrients.

This contrasts to the initial gagging and excess saliva that can be a challenge for new denture wearers. Later on, if poor food choices occur, saliva flow can be reduced.

Food Choices and Digestion

Denture wearers do not have the chewing capacity and strength that come with natural teeth or dental implants. This often leads to softer food choices that can be high in fats, sugar and calories.

Low fiber intake from a diet that is low in fruits and vegetables can be a problem, leading to constipation. In that same light, insufficient vitamins and minerals due to avoidance of meats and ‘chewier’ foods can be an additional issue.

Other Digestive Issues

Another problem associated with denture wear is aerophagia, which is excessive swallowing of air. Many of us feel bloated once in a while from this happening. But with denture wearers, this can become extreme, leading to a severely distended stomach, pain and poor digestion.

Enjoying Food and a Healthy Digestive System

With so many people wearing dentures, it is important that we continue to investigate how this affects digestion and other systems in the body. Often, the problems relate to a poor denture fit and can be somewhat improved with better fitting dentures.

Permanent Solutions or Dentures?

Others will find that issues are persistent and may want to consider a permanent solution such as dental implants, which avoid the problems above as they look and function as real teeth would in the mouth. Whatever choice you make, be sure to consider all options, with the aim of choosing the one that helps you enjoy food and a healthy, functioning digestive system.

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Got my full set of dentures from THE US Veterans affairs.2 sets, horrible fit, confidence, and bite strength severely compromised.Would NEVER recommend dentures for any one.Keep your teeth if you can.Implants, while expensive, are worth it; buy a good used car, save.This is a nightmare!Some welcome for a 'hero. '
HH - 29-Dec-17 @ 10:52 PM
@Bunty - you never think about the problems that dentures can cause. You've completely put me off having any even after suffering decades of mercury fillings when dentists would fill your teeth whether you needed a filling or not! My dad had dentures, they took all his teeth out aged 23 (even through they were perfect film star teeth). Apparently, they did that back then for no reason. He suffered all of his life. Could never say the word 'curtains' without his teeth shooting out! I can't remember whether they complained about the stuff they couldn't eat back then - I don't remeber if they did. When you think about it though, they are not the easiest things to negotiate, especially if you have both an upper and a lower set. They may just be too loose and you should keep going back to your dentist. Maybe they have lost the ability to make a good set, now they don't need to make them so frequently any more. I hope you manage to sort your problem out.
DiU - 30-Oct-17 @ 12:53 PM
Hi, I have had partial dentures for 18 months and can't cope, at all, with them!Theyfall out, bouncing about and I can't eat with them!I use a denture fixative, it doesn't work for long.If I could afford it i would go for implants. Getting very down about dentures.When i was a child many people had dentures and seldom had trouble.As a young girl in St John's Ambulance I did voluntary work at an old peoples hospital.Cleaned patients dentures and served up meals so I know how well dentures use to work in the 1950's! Was surprised when the dentist told me I would need to use a fixative with my dentures! Have upset stomach, feeling sick due to being unable to digest my food - this is exacerbated by vertigo! I seldom leave home, do my shopping on line and feel better not meeting people.I went to a pensioner Christmas dinner last year and nibbled at the meal before giving up and making excuses for not being hungry.At that time I was still persevering with the dentures, now I have given up! NHS dentists are rare, I feel that I have a good dentist who has a very good reputation among local people. In the 1980's I had treatment at the Dental Hospital in Mile End Road, London.Was happy to be treated by students and had root canal treatment on several teeth.I'm on pension credits and can't afford implants or private treatment. I've had 70 + years of good teeth which is great!Some of us were not meant to have dentures and can't cope with them. Still surprised at how people got on so well with dentures when I was young and now I find so many people with denture problems!My diet is simple yogurt, bananas, tea, some chocolate biscuits and anything that can be sucked.Shan't get fat and no longer crave anything different to eat. Thanks for reading!
Bunty - 28-Oct-17 @ 9:46 AM
I had dental transplants done 2 yrs ago.....lower only....I have had to have them refitted twice with new sockets.....at the moment they are working very well.. A question I have is that the information I get is that the digestive juices will be increased from the gums,but the gums are totally enclosed under the implant so how do the juices assist digestion... I can eat everything but I feel that I am bloated ....maybe experiencing " aerophagia"....what can I do .....thanks...ches.....
Ches - 3-Apr-17 @ 6:11 PM
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