New Dentures and Difficulty Swallowing: Is There a Link?

Posted on: 15 January 2020

Just think of all the food you'll be able to eat with your dentures—or at least, be able to eat without difficulty. Your dentures will open up a new culinary world, although it can take a bit of time to get used to chewing food with them. But eating food is a two-step process. You chew, and then you swallow. What if you begin to experience difficulty swallowing that food once you start eating with your dentures?

Dentures and Dysphagia

A new set of dentures does not automatically mean that you will start to experience the symptoms of dysphagia (which is the clinical term for having difficulty swallowing), but there can be a link between the two, as outlined in an extensive study conducted in 2013. But why can dentures have the potential to create difficulty swallowing? This seems counterintuitive, since surely a new set of dentures would allow you to properly chew your food, perhaps for the first time in a long time.

Impaired Sensation

Although experiencing difficulties with swallowing might be unsettling, it can just be a simple case of getting used to the dentures. You might not be chewing your food properly, but this is something that will become a habit, without too much effort on your part. The study suggested that new dentures can result in an impaired sensation of the oral cavity, which is a way of saying that you will have less feeling in your mouth.

Getting Used to Chewing

This is kind of logical, if you think about it. New dentures will cover exposed gums, and the denture base will also fit over the roof or base of your mouth. So this impaired sensation can mean that you are no longer chewing food as you should. As mentioned, this is not something to be concerned about, and it can be as simple as chewing your food for a little longer than you might have thought was necessary.

When Help Is Needed

If your dysphagia is particularly problematic, you should see your dentist to ensure that there are no issues with the fit of your dentures. Your dentist might also refer you to your doctor for an esophageal examination, although if the onset of your dysphagia directly correlates to your new dentures, then this might well be the cause (and it's an issue that can easily be overcome with some minor adjustments to your dentures).

Some changes to the way you eat are to expected with new dentures, and some mild swallowing difficulties can be a part of this. It's something you will probably adjust to, but don't hesitate to see your dentist if you have any concerns.