It’s been a long day. Maybe you worked out in the morning or ran a million errands. All you want to do is tuck yourself in and go to bed. But wait! Just like you (hopefully!) wouldn’t go to sleep without taking out your contacts, brushing your teeth, or washing your face, you’ll need to take your dentures out before you catch those Z’s.
Is Sleeping In Dentures Bad?
In a word? Yes. Since you are eating, talking, and drinking with your dentures in all day, food particles can accumulate on and under your dentures. Sleeping with dentures can trap those food particles and harmful bacteria in your mouth, which can cause irritation, gum disease, and infection. Nighttime is also a perfect time for a good denture cleaner to get to work and make sure your dentures are ready for the next day. Simply put: take your dentures out and clean them each night, and put them back in each morning.
Quick note: your dentist may recommend you to sleep in your dentures in specific cases. For example, they may recommend you sleep in your traditional dentures for the first few days to help with your adjustments, or you might need to sleep in temporary dentures for the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction. If your dentist recommends it, be sure to follow through! And, don’t forget, if anything on your care plan seems confusing, you can always ask your dentist about it.
The Risks of Sleeping With Dentures
There are certain risks of sleeping with your dentures in, including:
- Bad breath - Your dentures should form a snug seal with your gums to prevent slipping during the day, which means at night it’s the perfect place for bacteria to flourish — leading to bad breath.
- Bone loss - While wearing dentures during the day can help prevent bone loss, wearing them too long (ie. while sleeping) can accelerate bone resorption.
- Denture stomatitis - aka thrush. When you sleep in dentures, it can block the production of saliva. This can provide an optimal environment for yeast to grow underneath your dentures.
- Gum disease - aka gingivitis. Beyond bad breath, that buildup of bacteria in your mouth from sleeping in dentures can also lead to gum disease.
- Poor fit - As a result of bone loss, and/or from the added pressure of your closed mouth while sleeping, your dentures can loosen more quickly.
Caring for Dentures While Sleeping
Depending on your cleanser type and brand, prepping your denture for another day of talking, eating, and smiling can be as simple as dropping a tablet into some water. Denture cleaners are formulated to be mild and gentle so that they don’t affect the durability of your dentures, so they need a longer time to work effectively. A night’s rest is the perfect opportunity to allow your denture cleaner to do its thing. Read our denture cleaning guide to see how simple your nighttime routine can be.
You Deserve to Love Your Smile!
Bottom line is, unless your dentist says otherwise: don’t sleep in your dentures. Taking good care of your dentures ensures you can get the most out of each bite, laugh, and smile with them. And good care of your dentures starts with taking them out each night and giving them a good clean. More questions? Reach out to your local practice for personalized advice.