Can Your Dentures Cause Bad Breath?
Hollywood movies can be all about creating an illusion, whether it's an ambitious plan to digitally resurrect James Dean to star in movies some 64 years after his death, to less elaborate illusions such as Clark Gable's teeth. The iconic star of Gone with the Wind began wearing dentures from the age of 32, and this reportedly resulted in breath so bad that his love interest in his most famous movie didn't much enjoy their kissing scenes. Does this mean that anyone who wears dentures is resigned to a life of bad breath and of having loved ones recoil from their kiss? Not necessarily, although improper denture care can certainly contribute to bad breath. You can easily make sure this doesn't affect you.
An Immediate (Temporary) Fix
Many people use sugarless chewing gum to immediately freshen their breath, but you've probably avoided this since the chewing motion can be problematic for your dentures. A sugarless mint will do the job, as will a mouth spray. This is fine for an instant, short-term fix, but your problem might require a more long-term approach.
Beneath Your Dentures
Anyone who wears dentures can be affected by denture-related stomatitis. This is a mild inflammation of your gum tissues directly beneath the dentures and results in the growth of a fungal infection known as candida. Candida can certainly contribute to bad breath, although proper cleaning is a way to minimise the issue. Consider changing your overnight soaking of your dentures from water to an antibacterial solution. You should also ask your dentist if you can reduce the amount of time you wear your dentures each day. They should still be removed overnight, but you can also periodically remove them during the day to reduce the buildup of candida. Denture relining (adding a thin layer of resin to the base plate for a better fit) can also be of assistance, so make sure this happens as needed.
Testing for Alternative Causes
If your breath is still bad after taking the necessary steps to minimise candida, it might be that your problem is not entirely due to your dentures. Ask your dentist about testing the level of oral bacteria in your mouth. There are a number of advanced testing methods available, and this can be helpful in ruling out your dentures as the source of the issue while allowing your dentist to treat the underlying cause of your bad breath.
Wearing dentures doesn't automatically mean that your breath will turn sour, but it can mean that you need to be more vigilant about the issue.