But for all their flaws, these ads are speaking to a sizable market. Over 60 million people in the US lack teeth, and according to the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, there will be 37.5 million people wearing full dentures by 2020. For people with dentures, consumer products on the market attempt to address two primary needs:
Cleaning products come in a few varieties. Martha Raye, denture wearer, advocated for a brand of dissolving tablets that killed bacteria and remove stains. There are also pastes, much like toothpaste, that patients can use to brush their dentures—once the dentures are safely out of your mouth. Ultrasonic cleaning appliances can remove stains from dentures, although they are more expensive and also require the use of a special cleaning fluid. For patients concerned with chemical cleansers, homemade solutions using lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda can all help remove stains and re-whiten dentures.
Denture adhesives include pastes or gels that come in a tube, like toothpaste and adhesive strips. These adhesives are meant to keep dentures in patients’ mouths comfortably while eating and talking.
Dentures are meant to fit comfortably in the mouth—and not require adhesives—because they are molded specially to the patient’s jawbone and palate. However, without teeth anchored in the jaw, the bone deteriorates over time, and its shape changes. This eventually leads to dentures that don’t fit, or that cause discomfort, requiring adhesive. Even cleaning dentures, which requires them to be removed from the mouth, could conceivably cause patients to experience negative feelings.
However, changes in dental technology can reduce these issues for patients. Fixed implant dentures use dental implants to secure replacement teeth permanently to the jaw. Patients can brush them in their mouth, just like teeth, and the implants themselves help the jawbone avoid further deterioration. Although implants do tend to be more expensive than traditional dentures, for many they are an appropriate, life-long solution to their dental needs.
Whether you’re looking for the best way to take care of your dentures or you’re considering whether implants might be a better solution for you, we’d love to talk to you.