Sleeping with Dentures Can You Sleep in Your Dentures


21 June 2022

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Getting new dentures often raises several questions in your mind. These are usually related to what you can and cannot do with your new dentures. You might have questions about eating and other activities while you are awake. However, what happens to dentures when you go to bed? Can you sleep in your dentures? This is one of the most common questions patients ask orthodontists. 

Apart from this, there are numerous other questions that pop up in your mind when you get new dentures. This article will be able to answer these questions. Especially the question of whether you can wear your dentures to bed or not. 




Is it OK to sleep in dentures?


There are opposing opinions when you ask, “Is it OK to sleep in dentures?” which creates a dilemma. The reason behind this is that several factors come into consideration. 

However, the lack of agreement between different professionals should not stop you from knowing the facts. Let’s check some factors that would help you decide if it is OK to sleep in dentures.

For instance, the hygiene, safety and aesthetic factors are prominent ones. Besides, you also need to consider comfort and the need to prevent the risk of infection. The type of denture – full or partial denture – will also determine if you can leave it in your mouth overnight. 

To make a better decision, let’s check out the results of some relevant research studies regarding dentures.


Dentures are increasing in numbers worldwide


According to the Australian National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017–18,  one person out of four have oral issues. Half of this population have opted for dentures, which include 60 percent of senior citizens. These are the facts as stated in the research studies conducted by this task force regarding denture use and maintenance.


Wearing dentures round-the-clock may not be good


The studies further stated that poor denture care could affect the overall health of the denture-wearer. These could be aesthetic effects, such as stains, bad breath, or tasting ability changes. Also, this could lead to more serious problems, including inflammation, gum disease and even dangerous conditions like pneumonia in the aged. 


Wearing dentures all the time can damage your teeth


Dentures are placed to put pressure on your gums and the bony ridges underneath the gums. This often causes a condition called “resorption.” In this, the bony ridges gradually begin losing  bone volume and density. This condition gets accelerated when dentures are worn round-the-clock. Besides, as the bony ridges get depleted, it also results in lessened support for the dentures. This causes the dentures to become loose, and they fall out more easily. Apart from this, resorption can also decrease the natural support for the cheeks and lips. It causes a dramatic change in facial appearance. 


Wearing dentures for prolonged periods of time can cause infections


If dentures are not properly maintained and worn almost all the time, the dentures can become a breeding ground for various types of infections. The underside of the dentures is especially prone and can cause oral fungi and bacteria to grow. 

Such an oral infection can lead to bad oral odour, irritation and even serious diseases. 


Wearing dentures while sleeping can cause plaque 


Studies have shown that people who wear dentures while sleeping at night are more likely to develop tongue and denture plaque. The habit can also cause an oral yeast infection, gum inflammation, and others. 

It is highly advised to take good care of dentures as this can help to avoid the risk of serious illnesses.


Wearing dentures for too long at a time can cause pneumonia in the elderly


A study was conducted involving 524 randomly selected elderly patients. It indicated that seniors who wear dentures while sleeping were 2.3 times more likely to die or get hospitalised from pneumonia than those who don’t. The cause behind this was the movement of pneumonia-causing bacteria from the mouth to the lungs through breathing.


Wearing dentures while sleeping can cause inflammation


Wearing dentures continuously, especially at night, when the salivary flow decreases, causes “denture stomatitis”. This results in gum inflammation. This affects the tissues under the dentures. Denture stomatitis usually causes the palate to get reddened, inflamed and infected with yeast. This may also cause another disease called “angular cheilitis.” This results in the corners of the mouth getting visibly cracked.

Denture stomatitis can be easily treated by not wearing dentures while sleeping. The oral infections can be treated using anti-yeast and antifungal medication. 


Are there benefits of not wearing dentures overnight?


There are several health benefits of not wearing dentures overnight, such as:

  • Ensuring a tighter fit – Your dentures may become loose and fall off easier if you suffer from gum resorption. This may also restrict the range of food you can eat because of loose-fitting dentures. 
  • Preventing bone loss – Bone resorption is quickly caused when you wear dentures round-the-clock, especially during the night. 
  • Preventing gum inflammation – Dentures in the mouth while sleeping can significantly reduce the flow of saliva. This can cause gum inflammation and thrush, a yeast infection. 
  • Preventing bacterial growth – The under-sides of dentures which touch the gums is an ideal place for bacterial growth. This can cause morning breath and eventually results in gum disease. 




After reading through the article, it is safe to believe that you should not wear dentures while sleeping. This habit can cause mild swelling to even fatal pneumonia in the elderly.

Dental specialists advise patients to clean your dentures properly by following the maintenance instructions provided by their orthodontist. When you take proper care of your dentures, you will be able to lead a comfortable and healthy life.

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