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Can you swallow your dentures?

It is not impossible to swallow your dentures by mistake.

According to a research paper presented at the World Congress on Otolaryngology, held from March 02-03, 2020, in Edinburg, Scotland, there were 85 cases of ingested or aspirated dentures in the UK between 2009 and 2019.

Of them, two cases were fatal.

There may be many cases of swallowing dentures in developing countries that simply go unreported and unnoticed.

Who can swallow their dentures?

Small, one or two teeth dentures can be swallowed by anybody. It can happen when you eat your food or are relaxing in bed. You do not need eating disorders to fall victim to such a situation.

People swallow all sorts of things. For example, knives, toothpicks, let alone juicy fishbones.

A paper published in the Annals of Medicine Surgery talks about two instances of swallowing dentures, one related to a 54-year-old female and the other by a 31-year-old male.

The female swallowed a one-tooth denture, while the male swallowed a one-tooth prosthesis.

The paper states that ingesting dentures may be seen more in alcohol and drug abusers and those with nervous and mental problems than others.

Another paper, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2004, mentions three instances of swallowing dentures.

Case one mentions a man (46) who swallowed an impacted denture; case two mentions another man (60) who ingested his denture during a drug overdose without his knowing it.

Case three is about a man of 57 who swallowed his new denture while practicing biting with it. The denture was a lower partial one, and it entered his food pipe before his knowing it.

Point to Remember: A denture does not have to be small to be swallowed (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine).

Case Report published a paper in 2009 about a patient who accidentally swallowed her denture. The denture had eleven teeth on it.

The denture was extracted through surgery into her intestine.

What happens when you swallow your dentures?

A researcher at Head Neck Cancer Research established that the complications related to swallowing dentures remain within the limit if the dentures are removed within 4 days of the incident.

Still, swallowing dentures may come with one or more of the following:

  • The denture may enter your vocal chord.
  • A full denture may not enter your lung but can block the airway partially, creating respiratory problems.
  • A partial denture may make its way to your stomach. It is small enough to go down your throat but not small enough to pass through your digestive tract.
  • It may block the digestive tract, stopping any food you consume not to be processed.
  • It may cause inflammation in the upper part of the larynx.
  • Swallowed dentures may cause bleeding.
  • The denture may make small holes in your intestine or colon wall.
  • Nausea is a result.
  • Abdominal pain is a real possibility.

What to do when you swallow your dentures?

Ingesting your dentures is a medical emergency. There is no easy way out from such a situation. Seek help right away. if you do not want it to become fatal.

Medical practitioners recommend early diagnosis and treatment of the situation. That will save you from mucosal infection and the death of the body tissue.


  • Insight Medical Publishing: Head Neck Cancer Research
  • Annals of Medicine Surgery
  • Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • Case Report

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