Denture Adhesives: What They Are and How They Work

  • What is Denture Adhesive?
  • How Does Denture Adhesive Work?
  • Stop Using Denture Adhesives If...

What is Denture Adhesive?

Denture adhesive is a non-toxic, water-soluble material that is placed between the denture and the tissues in your mouth to enhance the normal physiological forces that hold dentures in place. It can come in both cream and powder form and reduces movement and slippage when you do things like eat, speak, laugh, cough or sneeze.

How Does Denture Adhesive Work?

Dentures "adhere" to tissues because saliva adheres to both the denture and the tissue. Denture adhesive does a superior job of adhering to both surfaces, thereby improving retention. Dentures also "cohere" to tissues, because the film of saliva between tissue and denture resists being pulled apart. The coherence of denture adhesive is far greater than the coherence of saliva. Commercially available denture adhesive formulas vary by product, but all exhibit dramatically enhanced coherence and adherence in the presence of saliva or water.

Some denture wearers find that a dental adhesive maximizes their satisfaction with permanent dentures. The benefits of using a dental adhesive include:

  • More satisfaction. Dental adhesives can enhance stability, which lets you bite more strongly.
  • More security. Dental adhesives help keep the dentures from slipping, and they can be especially helpful if you suffer from dry mouth, which reduces denture adherence.
  • More endurance. If you do a lot of public speaking or singing, you may appreciate the confidence that using a dental adhesive provides.
  • More control. The right dental adhesive can help keep food particles from reaching beneath your denture to limit the plaque bacteria that causes bad breath.

Stop Using Denture Adhesives If...

Some people should not use dental adhesives. If your dentures are not fitting well and you find that you need to use more adhesive to keep them in place, you should discontinue using dental adhesives until you see your dentist. Also, discontinue dental adhesive use if you appear to be having an allergic reaction to the adhesive product, or if you are having difficulty following a consistent oral health care routine according to your dentist's instructions.

Do not use denture adhesive if:

  • You have an ill-fitting denture
  • You have open cuts or sores in your mouth
  • You have a denture that has not recently been evaluated by a dentist
  • You cannot or will not maintain adequate oral and prosthesis hygiene
  • You have a known allergy to any product ingredient

If your dentist has not evaluated your dentures recently, you may be in need of a new set — your jawbone changes and shrinks over time, so don't expect to wear the same set of dentures forever.

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