Denture wearers often resist taking their dentures out at night. Sometimes it is because sleep beckons and they would rather not hassle with cleaning their dentures first. Often it is because they don't want to be embarrassed in front of their spouses or family members. But if you are wearing dentures while you sleep at night, you are not doing yourself or your dentures any good. You may not be doing your spouse any favors, either. Dentures need to rest at night just like you do, for four good reasons.
This is the most critical reason to take your dentures out at night. A recent study on oral hygiene found that elderly people who slept with their dentures in were twice as likely to develop pneumonia than those who took them out before bed. Out of 524 people over the age of 85, 453 wore dentures, and of these, 41% did not remove them at night. During the course of the study, 48 participants developed pneumonia, and 20 people died. Researchers found that those who did not take their dentures out at night were twice as likely to come down with pneumonia, probably because the dentures interfered with swallowing and increased the risk of respiratory illness.
Pneumonia is especially dangerous for the elderly because
elderly people's immune systems are not well able to combat the infection
pneumonia decreases blood flow to other major organs
preexisting medical conditions mean an increased chance of dangerous complications
symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly are not as apparent as those in other patient populations, making it harder to diagnose quickly and treat
pneumonia is the leading cause of death (due to infectious disease) for elderly persons
Clearly, the risk of pneumonia isn't worth any of your reasons for keeping your dentures in at night.
2) Bad breath
By far a more superficial reason for giving your dentures the night off, bad breath is nevertheless a good argument for giving your dentures a break. Without proper daily cleaning, dentures collect bacteria, and bacteria create bad breath. The reason for morning breath is that your mouth dries out overnight; when you don't swallow saliva, the bacteria it usually carries away is left high and dry on your dentures. Because bacteria multiply rapidly, this translates into a pretty nasty environment inside your mouth. Your spouse, family, and friends will thank you if you let your dentures take the night off to soak in a good cleaning solution.
3) Unhealthy mouth
The study mentioned above also found that people who wore their dentures at night had greater incidences of gum disease than those who cleaned them each night. Researchers also found plaque in more significant amounts on the tongues and dentures of those who slept with their dentures in, as well as the presence of a fungus called Candida albicans. Further, your mouth needs a break from the stress that even the best-fitting dentures can put on your gums.
4) Early denture demise
The final reason for removing your dentures at night is just practical: dentures last longer when you clean them regularly and give them some time off. Dentures need proper care to maintain the optimum shape for your mouth. Without it, they can wear down, become brittle, and require replacement.
As you can see, it is critical to remove your dentures at night. Not only will they last longer and be more pleasant to the eye, but you will have a cleaner mouth and a healthier body. Your spouse and friends will appreciate your fresh breath, too. Allow your dentures to power down at night, and give your mouth a break.