Every time I go to the dentist, she asks me if I fall asleep with my dentures on. I must tell her yes because I usually sleep with them through the night. I don’t like how my mouth feels without them. My dentist said to me that it could cause problems with my gums. Is that true? Is sleeping in my dentures really a problem? Thanks. Wayne from Scottsdale, AZ
Wayne – Thank you for your question.
Can You Sleep with Your Denture In Overnight?
Although you can sleep while wearing your dentures, you should not keep them on overnight. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Dental Research confirms it. The study, conducted by researchers in Japan (Nihon University’s School of Dentistry and Keio University’s School of Medicine in Tokyo), shows that people who wear dentures in their sleep have an increased risk of tongue and denture plaque buildup, as well as gum inflammation.
Researchers also found the following for people who consistently wear their dentures overnight:
- Bacteria and pathogens that breed in the mouth from excessive denture-wearing can enter the airway and lead to aspiration pneumonia.
- Older adults have a doubled risk of contracting pneumonia from overnight denture-wearing.
- During the night, your saliva production decreases. The dry environment in your mouth promotes bacteria.
How Should You Clean Your Dentures?
You can clean and take care of your dentures with these steps:
- Remove and thoroughly clean your dentures to remove food debris and plaque.
- Clean your tongue and gums.
- Regularly soak your dentures in a denture-cleaning solution.
- When not wearing your dentures, store them in clean water or a mild denture-soaking solution.
- Keep your regularly scheduled appointment with your dentist or prosthodontist to examine your denture for fit and function and ensure you are maintaining good oral health.
San Antonio prosthodontist Dr. Gilberto Tostado sponsors this post. A prosthodontist is a specialist with two to three years post-graduate training in tooth replacement and restoration, including dentures and dental implants.