A common, and fair question that surfaces when individuals are considering dentures is whether or not false teeth impact the taste. The simple answer to the question “Do dentures affect your taste?” is yes, but there is a lot more to this than that.
False teeth are not the primary reason why taste may be impacted by some wearers. In this article, we will explore this a little further.
How We Taste Things
There are roughly ten thousand taste buds inside the human mouth. As we eat food, the saliva produced inside our mouths dissolves chemicals contained in what we are eating. This permits those chemicals to enter the receptors that are part of the taste buds. However, the receptors are not strong enough to tell our brains what we are eating. This is accomplished through a partnership of our noses and mouths working together.
As our noses and mouths experience the foods we eat, our brains receive signals about the five different types of foods and identify which of these we are consuming. The five categories include salt, bitterness, sweet, sour, and savory. To test this process, close your eyes, pinch your nose and bite into a food item. Then try to identify what that is that you are eating. You should find your sense of taste does not work as well.
How Age Impacts Taste
As you can imagine, as we age, our senses weaken. Your food preferences may shift over time to where you would rather eat sweeter foods or saltier foods over milder ones. This is normal and depending on your taste buds, some flavors will only be half as strong as others and then change even more as you get older. This natural loss of taste will be noticed by elderly denture wearers and actually has nothing to do with the false teeth.
When Do Dentures Affect Your Taste?
There are three main ways in which dentures can impact taste. They are as follows:
Poor Fitting Dentures
False teeth that don’t fit snugly inside the mouth tend to shift position. Fortunately, denture wearers who are not prepared to replace their dentures with a new set can use something known as denture cream or adhesive. A denture adhesive will help stick the false teeth into place and hold them there securely.
However, the formulas used by manufacturers of denture adhesives are not always as pleasant tasting as they could be. Often, denture wearers complain about the taste of the adhesives, describing them as having a metallic flavor. As you can imagine, the taste of metal in your mouth will take away from any food tastes.
If your dentures do not fit properly and you don’t like the taste of denture adhesive, it may be worth looking into getting a denture reline or even a new set of dentures. Having dentures that fit well can minimize the usage of denture adhesive.
Too Many Food Deposits/Stains
Dentures are worn daily. As can be expected, the regular use of false teeth exposes them to all kinds of food particles and liquids. Certain liquids can cause staining and particles left in place can develop bacteria. These factors will affect your taste. Smoking stains will also alter food tastes considerably.
This is why it is so important to have a regular denture cleaning routine in place. It is easy to do and if you used to brush your natural teeth daily, it won’t be difficult to keep your false teeth looking their best either. Soaking them overnight in a cleaning solution ensures you have clean teeth for a fresh start each day.
Full Upper Dentures
The location of taste receptors is partly the reason why upper dentures may impact taste. The majority of taste buds are on the tip of our tongues, but others are located inside our cheeks, on our throats, and on the roof of our mouths. A full upper denture plate will cover a portion of the roof of the mouth blocking the taste buds there.
However, there is some good news about this. Over time, our brains get used to the fact that the taste receptors in the roof of our mouths cannot function properly with an upper denture in place. This means that the taste receptors in other parts of our mouths become slightly more sensitive and the sense of taste is restored.
In Conclusion – Do Dentures Affect Your Taste?
Dentures do not directly contribute to a loss of taste except for upper dentures. Our sense of taste is impacted as we age and individuals who wear upper dentures will notice over time that their sense of taste returns once the brain gets accustomed to taste buds being blocked by the upper denture plate.
However, wearing dentures can indirectly affect your taste. But this can be managed by having good-fitting, clean dentures.