As we age, natural saliva production often diminishes. This can be more serious for denture wearers. Dentures can interfere with the natural process of saliva production, leading to either too much saliva or too little.

Proper denture fit helps with natural saliva production, but sometimes it’s not enough. When saliva production diminishes, low antioxidant levels can increase risk of gum disease and other serious health consequences.

selection of fresh vegetables

The Role of Antioxidants in Saliva

Saliva is not just water in your mouth — it’s a complex blend of chemicals that helps keep your mouth healthy. The most common and most valuable types of chemicals in your saliva are antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your mouth from free radicals.

Free radicals are naturally part of the environment of your mouth, and they can be released in excess if you have gum disease. They are chemicals that are unstable and will attack molecules in your mouth to try to stabilize themselves. They can attack many different parts of the cells in your mouth, including the surface as well as the DNA. Attacking the surface can lead to irritation and discomfort. Attacking the DNA is even more serious. This can lead to mutations, including those responsible for cancer.

It’s likely that dry mouth is an important link between poorly fitting dentures and cancer risk.

How to Manage Antioxidant Levels in Your Mouth

It’s important to make sure you’re getting a good supply of antioxidants by eating a varied diet that includes nutritious fruits and vegetables. But in order for these to get to your mouth, you need to manage dry mouth. If you’re not producing enough saliva, you won’t have enough antioxidants. There are many common causes of dry mouth, including:<

  • Dehydration
  • Medication
  • Radiation therapy
  • Illnesses
  • Poorly fitting dentures

Once you’ve identified the cause of your dry mouth, you can potentially address it. If you suspect that poorly fitting dentures are to blame for your dry mouth, we offer high quality dentures that can help.

If you can’t treat dry mouth directly, you may have to use a saliva substitute. To help protect your mouth, make sure that your saliva substitute contains antioxidants.

If you would like to learn more about how properly fitting dentures can improve your health and your quality of life, please call (803) 781-9090 for a consultation with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.