Last Updated on September 30, 2023 by Louise Carter
You may have complete or partial dentures. Regardless of the dentures you wear, you’ll be advised to keep them in at all times when they’re first fitted, including while you sleep.
False teeth can be uncomfortable initially, but wearing them 24/7 enables the mouth and gums to adjust. The mouth remolds around the false teeth, reducing the risk they’ll need to be remade.
If you only need partial dentures, you’ll likely be provided with dentures you can always wear. These will be much smaller false teeth designed to cover a small number of missing teeth (as few as one tooth).
Most experts recommend removing dentures before sleep once you’ve adjusted. This gives the mouth respite, lets the gums breathe, and lets you clean the dentures.
What Do You Do with False Teeth at Night?
Removing false teeth at night is recommended once you’re used to wearing them. By doing so and introducing denture care into your sleep hygiene routine, you can prolong their lifespan.
While preparing for bed, run a sink filled with warm water before removing your dentures.
Fill a glass with this warm water, add a pinch of salt if possible, and gargle. This will loosen any adhesive attached to your false teeth, ensuring they will be easier to remove.
If you have 2 rows of false teeth, start with the bottom dentures, then remove the top.
Rinse them under cool water to remove any trapped food particles, then brush your false teeth. Check if you can use a regular toothbrush for this or if you need a specialist tool.
Nonabrasive toothpaste is usually okay for cleaning dentures. However, specialist denture paste may be the best option for keeping your false teeth in optimum condition.
You must also brush your remaining organic teeth if you wear partial dentures. If you allow plaque to build on these teeth, the bacteria will multiply in your mouth.
Allow your dentures to soak in the warm water you’ve run. You can leave the false teeth in the sink overnight or purchase a specialist cleaning solution to douse your dentures overnight.
Alternatively, combine both approaches using a fast-acting cleaner and then soaking the false teeth.
If you’re opposed to leaving your dentures in a sink overnight, perhaps because you share a bathroom, use a large, sealed container where they can continue to soak.
Rinse the dentures in cool water upon waking in the morning, and return them to your mouth.
Can You Wear False Teeth to Bed?
New dentures should be worn 24/7, even while you’re sleeping. Once you’ve adjusted to false teeth, you may prefer to remove them at bedtime, although dentures can be slept in.
If you share a bed with a new partner who doesn’t know you wear false teeth, you may feel self-conscious. Equally, regularly removing and reapplying dentures can cause mouth soreness.
If you sleep in dentures, ensure they’re cleaned before bed or when you wake up. Leaving false teeth in your mouth for 24+ hours without cleaning will attract bacteria, leading to bad breath and gum disease.
Dentures don’t need to stand in the way of other bedtime rituals. Mouthpieces that hold the tongue in place are available for denture wearers, although you’ll need a specialist product for false teeth.
Remove your dentures at night if you find them uncomfortable, and they prevent you from sleeping. A dentist may need to reshape or reline your dentures.
Is it Better to Sleep with False Teeth In or Out?
If you can remove the dentures at night, it’s usually advisable to remove them before bed.
Is it safe to sleep with false teeth in? Here are the benefits:
- Dentures, especially partial dentures, can prevent other teeth from moving in your mouth overnight.
- Keeping dentures in place may prevent your existing teeth from rubbing against the gums.
- Even if you’ve had teeth removed, the bones that formerly supported them need stimulation and resistance. Without false teeth, the bones may be resorbed into the gums.
However, there are drawbacks. Unless a dentist or professional of similar standing advises you to leave your false teeth in place overnight, they should be removed until the morning.
Why Can’t I Sleep with Dentures?
Most dentists and oral health professionals recommend removing false teeth at night.
False teeth are a potential choking hazard. If dentures aren’t fitted properly, they may slip out of place. If they enter the throat, your airways may become blocked while you sleep.
One way around this is to bond your false teeth to your mouth with denture adhesive. This product is rarely toxic, but swallowing a chemical compound that oozes overnight isn’t recommended.
Sleeping with dentures also means you won’t have cleaned the false teeth for some time.
The Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology explains how the human mouth is home to over 700 species of bacteria, all of which may attach to your dentures.
Denture-induced stomatitis (DIS) is the most common complaint.
As the Journal of Dental Research explains, this infection is frequently caused by the fungi Candida and bacteria, including Streptococcus, Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Actinomyces, and Veillonella parvula.
DIS initially causes painful swelling in the gums and should be investigated at the first sign of symptoms. Left ignored, DIS can lead to ulcers and even small holes in the gums.
Additionally, sleeping without dentures is likely to be more comfortable. After a full day wearing false teeth, your gums will welcome the chance to rest and get a few hours of respite.
Can You Sleep with Partial Dentures in Your Mouth?
Partial dentures are clipped to existing teeth within the mouth, so removing and re-attaching them regularly may be uncomfortable.
However, similar risks and rewards apply to sleeping in partial dentures as a full set of false teeth.
The main issue with partial dentures is the risk of damage to your existing organic teeth. When you wear partial dentures overnight, saliva flow is blocked and reduced.
This means that plaque may build on your teeth. If you’re not careful, this may lead to more teeth being removed and the need for another set of dentures to accommodate further loss.
Partial dentures are also a more significant choking hazard than complete dentures.
If you wear dentures to replace just 2-3 teeth, the fixture is likelier to be smaller. This means it may slip into the throat without being blocked due to inaccessibility.
Follow the advice of a dentist concerning wearing dentures in bed, but the golden rule is to keep them in during waking hours and remove them before you sleep.