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Popular media and marketing have given us all lots to think about when it comes to dentures, for better and worse. If you’re considering getting dentures in Surrey or beginning to adjust to wearing dentures, some of the issues are probably pretty predictable — things like how to clean and soak your dentures, how to get used to speaking and eating with dentures, whether to wear your dentures overnight and how to get over the fear that your dentures are loose or slipping. Here’s an issue you may not have thought about in advance. Will dentures cause you to lose your sense of taste? Can you get it back?

How do dentures affect your sense of taste?

Dentures near you won’t cause you to lose your sense of taste. But they can affect how you perceive the taste of food. Many people getting accustomed to wearing dentures describe their food tasting newly bland. What is happening to you if you’re noticing that. There are three denture-related things going on that can be affecting how you perceive taste.

First, remember that your artificial teeth are supported by a physical structure that sits on your gums and, on your upper arch, covers your upper hard palate (the roof of your mouth). The roof of your mouth is covered with thousands of small taste buds — also called gustatory cells — that contain receptor cells that send messages about what you’re tasting to your brain. Because your dentures’ structure covers the roof of your mouth, your taste buds located there are not involved in tasting your food. Thankfully, the roof of your mouth is not the only place where taste buds are located. You’ll grow accustomed to tasting your food via the taste buds located on your tongue, soft palate (the muscular part at the back of the roof of your mouth), upper esophagus (the top of the tube connecting your throat and stomach, cheeks and epiglottis (the “flap” that prevents food from getting into your windpipe.

Second, the taste of your food may be being altered by the accumulation of food debris in your dentures. If your dentures are not regularly cleaned thoroughly, that accumulated food debris can produce an unpleasant taste. While that might seem like a minor contributor, it is exacerbated by the changes to how you taste now that your hard palate is covered. To improve the taste of your food, focus on keeping your dentures clean.

Third, you may be overusing your denture adhesive. Using denture adhesive can help to hold ill-fitting dentures in place. Using too much of those denture adhesives for too long, though, can affect your ability to taste food. Many people report a lingering metallic taste in their mouth that is attributable to those denture adhesives and creams.

How to deal with changes in your ability to taste?

If you are concerned about ongoing changes to your ability to taste your food completely, there are three steps you should consider taking:

  1. Clean your dentures to eliminate any food debris and to prevent the development of foul smells and tastes on the dentures themselves

  2. Make sure your dentures fit. If you find yourself relying on denture adhesives on an ongoing basis and even experiencing sores or soreness, these may be signs your dentures aren’t fitting properly. Take your dentures to a dentist in Surrey to adjust or reline them so that they’ll fit properly and you’ll be able to avoid taste-altering adhesives.

  3. Consider implants. To a certain extent, the taste-altering effects are unavoidable due to the physical shape and location of dentures. Dental implants, on the other hand, eliminate that problem albeit with a tooth replacement solution that is more invasive and expensive than dentures. Ask your dentist if implants may be a good option for you.

Keep in mind that the changes to the way you taste may have a cause completely unrelated to your dentures. Our sense of taste tends to weaken with age, which may also be a contributing factor. For help dealing with the denture-related causes of changes to the way you taste, ask the team at a dental clinic near you for advice.