A set of perfectly healthy pearly whites can be a great asset for anybody, giving one a reason to smile. But there are times when one cannot help but settle for the next best thing – dentures.

While dentures can replace teeth lost due to periodontal disease, decay or injury, they cannot be as good as your natural teeth. While dentures may be valuable to keep your facial muscles from sagging and for other health reasons, they can also cause a good amount of pain and discomfort. Among the times when dentures can cause enough discomfort are during the adjustment phase (when the dentures are new) and after some years of using them (when they start to fit badly).

During the adjustment phase, you might find that your dentures have the tendency to slip as you talk and eat. At times, you might even develop painful sores in your mouth as a result of this adjustment period thing! Thankfully, you will find that after some time, you become more accustomed to your dentures and all goes perfectly well for several years.

However, the absence of natural teeth eventually causes the bony ridge of the gums to shrink due to lack of stimulation. Since the plastic dentures remain the same, you might find yourself in a painfully discomforting situation once again.

But why suffer from denture discomforts when you can avoid them? Here are some effective solutions that may help you prevent the problem from happening.

1. Try to keep your dentures clean. Keeping your dentures clean especially during the adjustment period is a must. During this time, it is very critical to keep the presence of bacteria at a bare minimum since they can delay the healing process. As you grow more accustomed to your new “chompers”, you can brush them at least twice a day. Using toothpaste or a special denture cleaner and clean water can be enough for this purpose. By the way, if you want to keep your dentures sparkling clean, you can also brush it with soap and water!

2. Don’t forget to brush your gums, too! Brushing the gums not only helps in the fight against plaque and bacteria. It also provides the needed stimulation to keep the tissues beneath the gums healthy.

3. Soft foods are the way to go. It is advisable to “baby” your mouth during the adjustment period. The gums are still undergoing a healing process and need time to adjust to the pressure exerted by the new dentures. Once your gums are properly healed, you can always go back to enjoy the foods you used to eat. Just avoid eating hard to chew food like apples and corn on the cob.

4. Take the sting out of the pain by taking pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen can effectively take away the soreness caused by new dentures.

5. Ease soreness by taking some time off: In most cases, you can ease your gum’s soreness by taking your dentures out for about an hour or two. If you find that you have developed a red spot, don’t put your dentures in for a day. If that still doesn’t do the trick, go visit your dentist.

6. Salt water magic: Whether you are in the adjustment period or have worn your dentures for quite some time, you can always benefit from a warm saltwater mouth rinse. Not only does it help ward off those nasty bacteria, it also helps toughen the tissues in your gums! For best results, take out your dentures and rinse your mouth with saltwater mixture (1/2 teaspoon of salt for every 4 ounces of warm water) every 3 to 4 hours.

7. Always have a professional hand to take care of the adjustments. Never ever make adjustments on your dentures by yourself. You can probably do more harm than good and it may cost you more in the long run. Adjusting the dentures’ fit using a pocketknife or filling the spaces between the denture and the gum tissues with over-the-counter adhesives is a big no-no! Always seek your dentist’s help when you need to readjust your dentures’ fit.

8. Go denture-less when going to sleep. Like any part of the body, the gums also need to take a rest so don’t forget to take your dentures out before you hit the sheets!