Recently, a man earned the reputation for doing the most disgusting thing on public transport when he took his dentures out of his mouth and began cleaning them with a knife. He used the knife to scrape food debris out of the denture and throw it on the ground.

Group of senior people enjoying a meal together.

This is disgusting and inappropriate behavior with dentures (plus, it’s a bad idea to clean dentures with a knife — it could damage them). But how should you behave with dentures?

Keep Dentures in While Eating

Ideally, your dentures are supposed to help you eat, so of course you should keep them in while you are eating. It’s a good idea to get used to eating with dentures at home before you try eating out with dentures.

If you are concerned about your ability to eat with dentures, stick to menu items that you know you can handle. If the menu is limited (such as at a reception where you can only pick from a short list), do the best you can and rely on your knife to cut difficult foods into small pieces. Chew these thoroughly before swallowing.

If You Have to Remove Dentures at the Table

Even with the best intentions, you might find that you have to remove your dentures at the table, perhaps because something painful has worked its way underneath.

If possible, excuse yourself to the restroom before removing dentures. If not, raise a napkin to your mouth to conceal your dentures as you remove them. If you practice and get good, you can often partially remove dentures with your tongue, making it a simple matter to get your dentures into your napkin.

Then excuse yourself at a convenient time, clean your denture, replace it, and return to the table.

If you absolutely cannot eat with your dentures and have to remove them before the meal, try to do so discreetly as above. Don’t put your dentures on the table — put them in a denture case. This is best for the denture anyway, as it can keep it from drying out during dinner. If you don’t have a case, wrap them in a napkin and put them safely in a purse or pocket. Putting dentures on the table can not only be unpleasant for others at the table, it increases the risk you will lose them.

Cleaning Dentures

Cleaning dentures after every meal is recommended. When you’ve finished eating, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to clean your dentures. You can clean your dentures at the sink using a denture brush. If you don’t have a good way to transport a denture brush, keep a travel toothbrush handy — these are very compact and easy to carry.

Some people clean their dentures with their tongue, which is acceptable in private, but not in public. If you don’t have a brush, use a cloth or paper towel, or even the tip of your finger if you keep your nails trimmed.

If Your Dentures Come Out Unexpectedly

With traditional dentures, there’s no way to keep them completely secure. They may come out unexpectedly while you’re eating, or if you laugh or sneeze. If this happens, simply say, “excuse me,” and put your dentures back in. There’s no need to make a scene or create a large apology, nor do you have to mention it again.

Hopefully others will also have the good grace to not bring it up again, too.

Dentures You Don’t Have to Worry About

Of course, it’s better to have dentures that you don’t have to worry about. If you have quality dentures, especially implant dentures, then there’s no need for special rules about how to act with your dentures. You can just sit at the table, eat normally, and brush your teeth later.

If you want dentures that don’t need special etiquette, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.