Part of diligent denture and oral care for denture wearers is removing your denture at night or for several continuous hours each day.
Some patients tell us they can’t imagine going without their denture for any length of time, except to brush it. Other patients say that they have never been told before that they should remove their denture periodically.
So why do we tell patients to take their dentures out overnight?
Decreased oral health
Your gums and denture-bearing tissues need a chance to rest, recover, and receive beneficial exposure to the antibacterial agents naturally present in your saliva.
When you keep your denture in around the clock, the surfaces under your denture can become a breeding ground for oral bacteria and fungi, which can cause odor, irritation, and disease. You will be more likely to develop tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation, and Candida albicans or thrush.
The simple practice of removing your denture overnight will reduce your risk of inflammation, infection, and illness.
Accelerated bone loss
Dentures put pressure on your gums and the bony ridges beneath them. This contributes to resorption, a process that results in a gradual decrease in bone volume and density – bone loss.
Over time, resorption will lead to inadequate bone support for your denture, causing it to become loose and fall out more easily. You will also see progressively less support for your cheeks and lips, which can cause dramatic changes in your facial appearance.
While resorption will happen whenever you have missing teeth, these processes are accelerated if dentures are worn 24 hours per day.
Alternatives to nighttime breaks
For most people, it is easiest to go without your denture when you are sleeping, as that way you can avoid having to eat, drink, speak, or socialize while not wearing your denture.
However, there may be a medical reason for you to wear your denture overnight. For example, if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), wearing your denture at night actually may help prevent OSA.
If you are at risk for OSA, it may be best for you to remove your denture and give your supporting tissues a rest each day during waking hours.
If you have questions about best practices for wearing or caring for your denture, ask your Denturist at your next appointment.