Because false teeth are perceived by the body as a foreign object in the mouth, it is not unusual for first-time denture wearers to develop an excessive flow of saliva, or hyper salivation.
This reaction is considered normal, particularly in the initial adjustment period. This can be a temporary side effect as your mouth adapts to the presence of the dentures, and reduces after a while.
That said, there are a few ways you can manage the excessive saliva, including proper oral hygiene and applying saliva control techniques.
Hyper salivation, also known as Sialorrhoea, occurs when the soft tissues respond to the presence of an artificial object in the mouth by changing the size and shape of Gingiva. Whenever you put something in your mouth, the brain automatically increases saliva production thinking that there is food in the mouth.
So, when you first wear dentures, their presence stimulates the salivary glands, increasing blood flow to the salivary glands. The result is increased flow of saliva. This is a short-term problem for first-time dentures wearers, and will usually resolve without any medication if there are no issues with your dentures.
Do dentures cause excess saliva?
Here are some ways in which dentures may contribute to excess saliva production:
Denture Fit and Adjustment
Improperly fitting dentures can cause irritation and discomfort, leading to increased saliva production. It’s important to ensure that your dentures are properly fitted and adjusted by your dentist to minimize any potential issues.
Salivary Glands Stimulation
The presence of a foreign object in your mouth, such as dentures, can stimulate the salivary glands, causing an increase in saliva production. Over time, as your mouth adjusts to the dentures, the stimulation may decrease, and saliva production should normalize.
Saliva Production Regulation
Saliva helps to lubricate and cleanse the mouth, aiding in digestion and maintaining oral health. When wearing dentures, the body may produce more saliva as a natural response to protect the tissues and maintain oral hygiene.
Many patients getting full dentures tend to experience fear and anxiety about how the new artificial teeth will change their appearance, and feel nervous about the success of the procedure. This can contribute to increased saliva flow. With time and practice, as you become more comfortable and confident with your dentures, your anxiety and its associated symptoms should diminish.
Dentures causing excess saliva in other ways
There are other reasons why a denture wearer may experience excessive salivation in the initial days, including:
- Higher VDO (vertical dimension at occlusion) – if the VDO recorded is higher than usual, then there excess pressure will be exerted – when the wearer bites – on the soft edentulous ridge tissue structures, stimulating nerve endings to the salivary glands and causing excess salivation.
- Improper registration of the centric jaw relation – when a patient with edentulous is asked to bite in their normal physiological position, he/she may mistake the rest position and make a bite that is a bit forward compared to the normal bite.
- Excess denture border thickness – is the denture border is in excess of 2mm, it can stimulate excess salivation.
- Increased pressure on nerves, gingiva, and buccal mucosa can also cause excess salivation
How to stop saliva with dentures
Because excess salivation is a normal process for first-time denture wearers, it helps to remain calm as you wait for it to subside with time.
Find distractions to prevent anxiety, drink plenty of water, and brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with mouthwash to dry it out. Also make sure to seek advice from your denturist if you feel like your dentures are ill-fitting.
To manage excess saliva while wearing dentures, consider the following tips:
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing of your dentures and cleaning your mouth, can help manage excessive saliva and keep your mouth feeling fresh.
Give yourself time to adapt to wearing dentures. Initially, you may experience increased saliva production, but it often improves as your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures. Be patient and consistent in wearing them as instructed by your dentist.
Behavioral modification and speech therapy
This can benefit people struggling with hypersalivation by improving their posture and head control, as well as learning techniques for tongue control, swallowing, and lip closure.
Anticholinergic medication is typically used to reduce saliva production, though you may experience an array of side effects including flushing, constipation, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, and urinary retention.
Saliva Control Techniques
Some individuals find relief by practicing techniques to control saliva flow. Swallowing frequently, sipping water, or discreetly spitting excess saliva into a tissue can help manage the issue.
Consult Your Dentist
If excess saliva production persists or becomes bothersome, it’s important to consult your dentist. They can assess the fit of your dentures, address any underlying issues, and provide guidance on managing the situation.
Ahmadbehbahani, Houman & Demeter, Tamás & Gótai, Laura & Károlyházy, Katalin & Márton, Krisztina. (2014). Effect Of A Denture-Adhesive On Salivation And Orofacial Sicca Symptoms.