Path to Dysphagia Diagnosis
  • Carinda Stout, MS CCC/SLP

Dentures Can Affect Swallowing? A Closer Look.

The instability of dentures should be considered when assessing swallow function. A removable denture may have negative effects on swallowing ability such as mastication performance or impaired sensation of the oral cavity. Dentures or dental implants can reduce sensory input (such as taste), which is important for normal control of the voluntary swallow. After wearing dentures for years, the jaw can become smaller from normal recession and wear, which can cause dentures not fit as well. Slipping, gum irritation, and odor are signs that this is happening and the dentures should be re-fitted.


Improper denture wearing also increases swallowing difficulties by causing changes in tongue movements. If a denture does not fit properly due to weight loss or an ineffective denture adhesive, it can cause jaw instability and extraneous tongue movement to keep the denture in place. Bolus control during mastication becomes effortful. Some denture adhesive can even cause desensitization and impact sensation.


Improper denture wearing also increases swallowing difficulties by causing changes in tongue movements.

Tips for those who wear dentures:

· Remove your dentures at least once daily for a period of time to rest the tissue below them

· When you remove dentures, don't wrap them in tissues or napkins. This often leads to them unintentionally being thrown out

· Handle your dentures over a sink or over a towel to avoid dropping them

· Never try to repair a broken denture with super glue. Super glue is toxic and can make it more difficult for a dental technician to repair


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