Dentures and Bad Breath: What You Need to Know

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The passionate kisses in the classic 1939 film Gone with the Wind weren't all that pleasant in real life. Vivian Leigh apparently hated kissing Clark Gable in the film, as his dentures gave him rather bad breath. Have you experienced a similar problem with your dentures? In some instances, wearing dentures can contribute to halitosis, also known more simply as bad breath. But why can this be case when you wear dentures? And what can you do about it?

Causes of Bad Breath

The majority of any unpleasantness in your breath is caused by sulphur. If you've ever smelled actual sulphur, you will know that it's not a great scent, and it has frequently been likened to rotten eggs. The bacteria on your tongue (and in your throat) actually produces a small amount of sulphur as they break down protein. It's when they do this at an accelerated rate that too much of this sulphuric odour is produced, and this is what causes bad breath. There are other contributing factors, such as organic material decomposing in your mouth, and this is why poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath. But how do your dentures enter the equation?

Your Dentures and Bad Breath

If you wear dentures, you create another place for this sulphur-producing bacteria to live. The plates of your dentures (when pressed against the roof or base of your mouth) can become home to large amounts of this annoying bacteria. This confined space is protected from the rest of your mouth, making it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. It's simply a question of being aware of this, and taking the necessary steps to prevent it. So what should you do?

  • Remove your dentures after eating and brush them thoroughly. Use a special denture brush. Conventional toothbrushes can leave microscopic scratches in your denture plates, which creates an additional protected area for bacteria to breed.
  • You will also need to remove odour-causing bacteria from the roof and base of your actual mouth. Mouthwash is suitable for this, or you can gently brush the area with a soft-bristled toothbrush. A child's toothbrush is ideal.
  • Change any dental adhesive when you remove your dentures for cleaning. These adhesives can become quite smelly themselves as they will accumulate bacteria if left in for too long.
  • Remove your dentures at night. This cuts out a large portion of time that the odour-causing bacteria has to develop.
  • Pay proper attention to any remaining natural teeth you might have, and ensure that you thoroughly clean them. Your dentures can be part of the problem, but they might not be the entire problem. Of course, improper oral hygiene will make the issue worse.

Dentures don't need to go hand-in-hand with bad breath, and it's easy enough to make sure that you're not affected.