Should you use adhesive to keep your dentures in place?

Wearing dentures can take some getting used to, and although you should have no difficulty keeping them in place, some people prefer to use a dental adhesive for this purpose. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a fixative?

The pros

Firstly, some people find that using denture adhesive increases their sense of confidence while they are getting used to their dentures. Although dentures should not move if they are properly made and fitted, a bit of extra help will not go amiss and can help you adapt without feeling insecure.

Denture adhesive can also be helpful for people who use their mouths more than usual — for example, singers or actors. Adhesive can also provide more bite if you want to eat harder foods, although you should discuss what is suitable with your dentist.

Adhesives can also be useful if you have a condition or take medication that leaves your mouth dry, as this can make it difficult for dentures to remain fixed in position. This is particularly common with elderly people.

The cons

You should remember that dental adhesive is unlikely to be necessary if the dentures have been well made and fitted in the first place. If adhesive is being used to cover up the fact that they don't fit well, you could be causing problems with the inside of your mouth — in particular, you could develop sores and ulcers. If you feel the dentures do not fit properly or do not stay in place, you should talk to your dentist.

Denture adhesive needs to be cleaned off before any new application, which can make cleaning the dentures more time-consuming and complicated. Simply re-applying the adhesive over the old layers can affect how the dentures fit in your mouth, and can also allow bacteria to build up, which can lead to gum disease as well as contribute to bad breath.

You should also be aware that some people are allergic to some of the ingredients in denture adhesives. You should stop using it if you experience any kind of reaction to the adhesive, such as inflammation or soreness.

Adhesive should not be necessary if your dentures have been properly fitted in the first place, but they can increase your confidence and help with certain conditions. You should discuss your options with your dentist, so you are sure that your dentures work as well as possible.