• It’s a common misconception that dentures are just for grandma and grandpa or a consequence of people who eat too many sweets. Denture wearers are actually an often over-looked and misunderstood portion of the population. In fact, in the recent Biting into Denture Care survey over half (53%) of respondents were 44-years-old or younger when they first got dentures. More so, nearly a third (29%) were younger than 34-years-old.

    The survey, commissioned by GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Polident® Denture Cleanser and Super Poligrip® Denture Adhesive brands, unveils the intimate behaviors and attitudes of denture wearers, their relationship with food, and how they care for their oral health.

    Wearing dentures is not a niche problem. Believe it or not, about 1 in 6, or 50 million Americans wear dentures, so it actually affects a large number of people in society. Yet, many don’t feel that they can live life to the fullest because of the barriers they face.

    Barriers that denture wearers face.

    When it comes to their social lives, denture wearers are intimidated. Just imagine trying to hide a part of you from someone you love. Sixty-three percent of denture wearers admit they have kept their dentures a secret from someone, including friends (32%) and even their spouse (7%). Some denture wearers even avoid certain social situations, like eating at parties (10%) and are reluctant to smile (20%).

    Denture wearers are self-conscious at work, too. Nearly two in five (38%) respondents admit that wearing dentures has affected their career. They often feel intimidated to network with other professionals (37%) and lack confidence in meetings (33%). Nearly a quarter have even avoided going on job interviews (23%).

    Odor and bad breath are often the reasons why denture wearers feel inhibited in their social lives or at work. Bad odor is actually caused by poor denture care and improper cleaning of dentures. That’s why proper care and cleaning is important, and while more than three-quarters of the denture wearers (78%) feel they take excellent or good care of their dentures, research shows that 89 percent of denture wearers are not cleaning their dentures correctly. Many patients create their own cleansing routines, often involving a mix of specific cleansing solutions combined with other substances including bleach, toothpaste, vinegar, mouthwash and soap. Some denture wearers even put their dentures in the dishwasher!

    These at-home remedies can alter the material and feeling of dentures – leaving them vulnerable to harboring odor-causing bacteria. Cleanser tablets, like Polident® Denture Cleanser, prove to be one of the best methods of cleaning dentures that do not obstruct the quality of the dentures.

    Everyday eating is no simple task. Besides the fear of having bad breath, it should come as no surprise that denture wearers have a complex relationship with food. The number one concern for more than half of denture wearers (54%) is getting food stuck in or under their dentures. Even people with well-fitting dentures can get little bits of food stuck between their denture and their gums and experience discomfort. Denture wearers are often afraid that if they eat certain foods their dentures will become dislodged. As a result, they tend to avoid eating certain foods, like corn on the cob (50%), apples (34%), nuts (33%) and steak (23%).

    Using a denture adhesive can help protect denture wearers from food getting stuck under their dentures. A denture adhesive cream strengthens the grip of dentures by up to 38% versus no adhesive. This helps improve the ability to eat difficult foods. Super Poligrip® Denture Adhesive can help seal out irritating food particles, reduce denture movement while eating and speaking, and strengthen the grip or hold. Even well-fitting dentures can feel more comfortable with a denture adhesive.

    As our population grows, wearing dentures will be an even more important topic in the future. Proper care of dentures and having the confidence to overcome denture-related inhibitions is essential to oral health and overall well-being.

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    Article by: Dr. Frank Gonser

    Frank Gonser, DDS, PhD, MBA, is Medical Director, North America Oral Care at GSK Consumer Healthcare, a position he has held since September 2011. In addition, Dr. Gonser is the North America Medical Lead for Skin Health at GSK. Prior to his current role, Dr. Gonser was Director of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research, as well as Medical Lead for GSK Consumer Healthcare Japan. He has held various positions at GSK since 1994, starting his 21-year career with the company in marketing and scientific information. Dr. Gonser is a well-regarded expert on dental topics and sought after speaker at medical and media conferences. He is the author of numerous national and international publications. Dr. Gonser is a member of the Task Force on Design and Analysis in Health Research, the American Dental Association, Deutscher Medienverband, a journalist and media association, and he is a Fellow of the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics. Dr. Gonser received a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, a PhD in Medical Dentistry from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

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    1. emilyjsmith2@gmail.com' Emily Smith says:

      Frank, it is crazy that over half of people who wear dentures are 44 years old or younger. I would not have expected that statistic! My Aunt is going to be getting dentures soon ans see is only 42. I thought she would only be the younger person wearing dentures but I guess not!