When you first get dentures, it can take a while to get used to wearing them and caring for them. One of the questions you may have -- especially as you walk down the oral care aisle -- is whether you need denture adhesive. Read on to learn more about these products, how they are used, and when to use them.

Who needs denture adhesive?

Not every person who wear dentures uses denture adhesive, so if you've been wearing your dentures without it for weeks or months, there's no need to worry that you're "doing it wrong." The adhesive is for people whose dentures do not stay in place properly when they chew or talk. If your dentures are new and well-fitted to your jaw, you probably don't really need it. However, over time, the shape of your jaw may change somewhat and your dentures may not fit as tightly. Then, you can begin using denture adhesive as an alternative to having completely new (expensive) dentures made.

Some denture wearers also like to keep denture adhesive on hand and use it when they want a little extra security. For instance, you may want to apply some before you go eat a big steak dinner or give a long speech -- even though you don't need it every day.

What are the different types of adhesive?

If you look through the selection at your local pharmacy, you'll notice a few kinds of products. Gels are usually the easiest to apply; you spread them onto the denture with a little brush and then insert the dentures as normal. If you choose a powdered product, you'll mix it with water and then apply it to the dentures. A new, travel-friendly type of adhesive is the adhesive pad, which sticks onto the dentures like a sticker. You apply a new pad each time you wear your dentures.

Are there dangers involved with using an adhesive?

Denture adhesives are safe for your dentures and for your teeth. However, if you are having to use one regularly, you may wish to see your dentist about your denture fit. They might be able to adjust your dentures so that they fit better without the need for adhesive. If even adhesive is not keeping your dentures in place, then your only option may be to have a new pair made.

If you have additional questions about dental adhesives or need help finding one that works well for you, don't hesitate to speak with your dentist.