Is It Better to Eat With or Without Dentures?

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For many individuals missing teeth, dentures offer a transformative dental solution. They not only restore your smile but also enhance your ability to chew and speak clearly. Yet, a common query persists: Is it better to eat with or without dentures? The answer is simple: eating with your dentures in is generally preferable.

Comfortably enjoying your favorite foods is vital for overall well-being and physical health. However, mealtime can present challenges for denture wearers. Whether you're contemplating dentures or already using them, it's essential to grasp the advantages and disadvantages of eating with and without them.

What are Dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic replacements for natural teeth, crafted from materials like metal (such as stainless steel) or acrylic (a type of plastic). They are meticulously customized to fit snugly in your mouth and replicate the appearance of natural teeth. While dentists prioritize preserving natural teeth whenever possible through optimal oral hygiene, some individuals may eventually require dentures for various reasons.

Tooth loss can lead to challenges with eating and speaking and may impact a person's psychological well-being. Regardless of the cause of tooth loss, dentures offer solutions to these issues. They provide support for lips and cheeks, improve facial appearance, and restore self-confidence.

Why Should You Avoid Eating Without Dentures?

Losing teeth, whether due to age or inadequate oral care, is more common than many realize. It remains a concern despite improved healthcare reducing adult tooth loss since the 1970s. Understanding the potential consequences is crucial if you've lost teeth and haven't replaced them.

Eating without dentures can pose risks to your oral and overall health. Many underestimate the importance of teeth and continue eating without them, which can lead to significant issues over time.

Pressure on Gums and Jaw

When you chew without teeth or dentures, your gums and jaw must work harder to process food for swallowing. Natural teeth exert about 200 to 250 pounds of bite force, whereas dentures offer around 50 pounds. Chewing without teeth can irritate gums and jaw, potentially leading to gum infections and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.

Bone Loss

Without teeth or suitable replacements like dentures or implants, the jawbone may deteriorate. This occurs because the jawbone no longer receives the necessary stimulation and pressure from teeth, leading to gradual weakening and possible fracture over time. Soft foods can be a temporary solution but are not ideal for long-term nutritional needs.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Proper chewing is vital for effective digestion. Inadequate chewing can result in swallowing larger food particles, which may hinder digestion and nutrient absorption. It can also contribute to bacterial growth, gas, and indigestion. Chewing initiates saliva production, which is important for lubricating food and beginning starch digestion with enzymes like amylase.

Lack of Saliva Production and Enzyme Issues

Chewing stimulates saliva production and signals the digestive system to release enzymes necessary for food breakdown. Without proper chewing (due to missing teeth or dentures), saliva production and enzyme release may be inadequate, impairing digestion.

Infected Gums and Dental Health Risks

Chewing with gums alone can damage gum tissue, potentially leading to infections. Continued gum chewing without teeth replacements can worsen gum health and increase the risk of gum disease. Additionally, the strain on the jawbone from inadequate chewing can destabilize the remaining natural teeth, leading to further tooth loss.

What are the Benefits of Eating with Dentures?

Dentures, while not as resilient as natural teeth, play a crucial role in improving your ability to chew effectively compared to having no teeth at all. Here's a detailed look at how dentures benefit your diet and overall oral health:

Enhanced Chewing Efficiency

Dentures enable better food breakdown, essential for easier swallowing and smoother digestion. By restoring the chewing function that is lost with missing teeth, dentures allow you to enjoy a wider variety of foods without the discomfort or difficulty often experienced when attempting to chew with gaps or missing teeth.

Improved Nutrient Absorption

Proper chewing with dentures is key to enhancing the absorption of essential nutrients from food. Dentures efficiently break down food particles, ensuring that your body can absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients more effectively. This contributes to overall better nutrition and supports your body's health and well-being.

Reduced Choking Hazard

Well-fitted dentures significantly reduce the risk of choking on large pieces of food that have not been properly chewed. This safety benefit is significant for older adults and individuals with dental conditions, ensuring a safer and more comfortable eating experience.

Maintains Jaw Strength and Structure

Chewing with dentures helps stimulate the jawbone, which is crucial for maintaining its strength and structural integrity. This stimulation is similar to the natural function of teeth and helps prevent bone loss in the jaw, which can occur when teeth are missing for extended periods.

Comfort and Adjustment

Initially, wearing dentures may feel awkward as you adjust to having a foreign object in your mouth. However, this discomfort typically diminishes with proper fit and adjustment over time. Modern dentures are designed to be as comfortable and natural-feeling as possible, allowing you to speak, eat, and smile confidently.

Long-Term Oral Health Benefits

Choosing to wear dentures not only enhances your immediate ability to chew and enjoy food but also contributes to long-term oral health. Dentures can help prevent further bone loss in the jaw and support facial muscle structure by enhancing your overall oral health and appearance.

Eating with or Without Dentures - Which is Better?

Eating with or without dentures depends mainly on individual circumstances, including oral health, lifestyle preferences, and personal comfort. For those with missing teeth, dentures offer a practical solution to restore chewing function and maintain facial aesthetics. However, it's essential to ensure that dentures fit correctly and are well-maintained to avoid discomfort and oral health issues.

On the other hand, individuals with healthy natural teeth may find eating without dentures more comfortable and enjoyable, as it allows for a more natural taste experience and avoids the challenges associated with denture maintenance.


Ultimately, whether it's better to eat with or without dentures depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Both options have advantages and considerations. Consulting with a dental professional at Springhill Dental Health Center can help you make an informed decision that prioritizes your oral health and enjoyment of meals.

Expert Advice from Springhill Dental Health Center

At Springhill Dental Health Center, our experienced dentists can provide personalized advice based on your specific oral health needs and preferences. Whether considering dentures or seeking alternatives, our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal oral health and comfort.

Explore your options today and discover how Springhill Dental Health Center can support your dental care journey. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about our comprehensive dental services tailored to meet your needs.


What happens if you don't wear your dentures all the time?

After losing teeth, your body starts reabsorbing bone. Not wearing your dentures can speed up this process. Over time, you might notice they no longer fit properly. Initially, wearing something foreign in your mouth may feel a bit awkward.

What is the average age at which to get full dentures?

As people age, replacing missing teeth becomes increasingly common, with many individuals receiving their initial set of dentures typically between the ages of 40 and 49. Regardless of age or circumstances, opting for dentures to replace lost teeth can significantly enhance speech clarity, improve eating comfort, maintain facial structure, and restore a confident smile.

What is the most comfortable denture to wear?

Flexible dentures are widely praised for their comfort. They conform snugly to the gums' contours and grooves, minimizing brushing or irritation of soft tissues. Their thin, pliable, and lightweight nature ensures they are far less bulky and cumbersome than traditional dentures.

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My visit was incredible. I had my “All on Four” appliances cleaned, and it was a painless and thorough experience. Dr. Scott and all his staff are very friendly. During the cleaning, Mary was gentle and let me know everything she was doing and how it would feel. She gave me tips on how to clean my implants/appliances better and gave me a small brush to do the underside more effectively. Dr. Scott and Mary suggest cleanings take place every 3 months so I will be back in December.

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Meet Dr. Byron C. Scott

Dr. Byron Scott is a highly-trained and accomplished dentist. He attended The University of Alabama School of Dentistry and subsequently completed numerous Advanced Studies and Trainings. Dr. Scott is Board-Certified by The Academy of General Dentistry and has earned Mastership status (MAGD), an honor shared by only 1% of dentists. He has numerous memberships and associations, including Diplomate status with The American Board of Oral Implantology (D-ABOI) and The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (D-ICOI). Overall, Dr. Scott has dedicated his life and career to helping patients improve their oral health through expert dentistry. His goal is to help each patient keep their smile healthy, attractive, and comfortable for the duration of their lifetime.

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