The short answer is: Yes, you can snorkel with dentures. It doesn’t matter if they are full or partial. However, there are a few concerns and tips, which we’ll cover in this article.
How Do Your Dentures Fit?
The fit of dentures, whether full or partial, plays an important role when deciding to go snorkeling. Obviously, tight and comfortable dentures will stay in place much beter than (often older) loose ones.
Some people with loose dentures found their way to live with that. Over time, your mouth and surrounding muscles adapt. Your tongue “learns” to keep it in place. Therefore, if you’re trained to use them without a good fit, you may as well try snorkeling. Off course, there’s always the riks of losing them.
But what if this is not you? What if your dentures come off all the time? You’re so excited for your snorkel trip, but you’re also extremely concerned! Maybe you’re even a little scared to snorkel because of this reason. Don’t worry, take a few minutes to read through this article, and before you know it you’re all set to go.
Quick And Easy Solutions
Remove Your Dentures Before Snorkeling
If your dentures come off easily, for example whilst talking or eating, you could decide to take them out prior to your snorkeling adventure. If you have a comfortable snorkel, you should be just fine. You see, a snorkel is kept in place by your lips and gums, so it’s definitely not necessary to “bite” in them.
If this is how you approach things, make sure to never leave your dentures unattained at the beach. Take them with you in a waterproof bag or case, just to be on the safe side.
Use An Adhesive
If you don’t want to take our your dentures, for example when going on a snorkel tour where you prefer to speak clearly, you could use an adhesive. There are a couple of adhesives out there. “Cushion Grip” is one of the most popular products, however, you need to place the tube in hot water before using it. This will work great if you’re in a hotel room, but may not be an option when you’re already at the beach. In that case you could consider using “Fixodent”.
What Can Your Dentist Do For You?
In case there’s plenty of time before you plan to snorkel, maybe visiting your dentist can be of big help. Over time, your upper and lower jaw will shrink, especially throughout the first two years of having them. Therefore, it’s not uncommon that dentures start to lose their grip after a certain amount of time.
Have Your Dentures Relined
Maybe your dentist can fix that for you. Sometimes it’s possible to have your dentures “relined”, sometimes also called “rebased”. You get to keep the same dentures, however, the base will be replaced according to the changes in your jaws. I know that in my country, the Netherlands, this will just take a few days to realize.
Tighten Partial Dentures
Not always, but quite often, partial dentures contain a few metal clasps to keep them in place. These clasps can decrease in strength, which could be a reason for partial dentures to come off. Depending on the metal used, it’s sometimes possible for a dentist to tighten these clasps.
Get New Dentures
Off course, if there is enough time, new dentures could do the trick as well. However, keep in mind that this process can take up to a month, sometimes even longer. So inquire about that first. One of the downsides of new dentures is the fact that they often need time to settle. Many people experience pain and irritation from new dentures, and may need to re-visit their dentist a couple of times to fix that. In other words, maybe it’s not a good idea to get new dentures right before snorkeling.
Risk: Losing Your Dentures
The biggest risk is to lose your dentures. If they don’t maintain their position properly, there’s a chance they’ll come off. If this happens in the ocean, they may be gone forever. Please understand that you need to avoid this however you can. Without dentures you’re not able to eat properly, communication will be hard, and you’ll feel uncomfortable in many social aspects of life.
If you’re not able to eat properly you could become sick. Your snorkel holiday will turn into a big disaster and you probably want to head home sooner than expected.
Communication and feeling comfortable with other people is definitely not enhanced when you lose your dentures. You’ll end up talking with your hand in front of your mouth, and holiday pictures will most likely not include that beautiful smile you like to wear.
Bring Replacement Dentures
To be on the safe side, make sure you possess replacement dentures. Some people who bought new dentures decided to keep their old ones. Old ones usually won’t fit that great, but who knows you can have that fixed prior to your snorkel trip. Another option would be to get an extra pair (or a single one), but that’s a pretty expensive alternative.
Position Your Gear On The Beach
Another thing you could do, is to put on your mask and snorkel before entering the water. In case your dentures fall down, they’re still on the beach. If you’re comfortable to breathe through a snorkel, maybe this will help you out. The only problem is that you never know what happens out in the ocean. In case of emergency, you may still need to remove the snorkel from your mouth.
As obvious as this may sound, you can never be too careful. So let’s say you need to remove the snorkel from your mouth in open water. Try not to look down, but maintain an upright position. Dentures can fall out of your mouth much quicker when you look downward. Besides that, if possible, try to take out your snorkel slowly.
Stay In Shallow Water
Yes, I know, this may sound boring. Especially if you’re used to exploring outer reefs and all that good stuff. However, for some, this could be a great option. Loosing dentures in shallow water will increase your chances of finding them again.
Problems still arise when you snorkel in turbid water, like you will find in Costa Rica for example. Another problem could be snorkeling in the rain or when it’s cloudy (even though on cloudy days you could bring a snorkeling flashlight).
Choose Calm Waters
In case you have no real preference on where to snorkel, maybe opting for a calm sea could be beneficial. There are many snorkel locations to choose from. Some are quite calm, whilst others are wild. Strong winds and currents can make you panic. Panic could make you forget about your dentures, and your resolution to keep them in place.
Have Someone Help You
Snorkeling should always be a team-sport, so we hope you bring a partner or join a group. You can always ask someone to place their hands below your jaw whenever you need to remove your snorkel. Even though this doesn’t guarantee anything, at least it’s something.
The Full Face Snorkel Mask
Some people love them, some people avoid them. It’s a big debate that’s going on. I myself wear one from time to time, and I never had any problems. However, some people say that it carries the possibility of CO2 build-up. After all these debates, a whole lot of different versions were released. All trying to prove (and sometimes claiming) a healthy airflow.
Like I said, I never had any issues. But I would never allow my daughter to wear one, just like I explained in my “Giant Guide For Snorkeling With Kids“. Kids breathe much quicker than us adults, so I don’t want to take any chances with her. I definitely encourage you to do your own research. If you’re interested, I personally use the WildHorn Outfitters Mask (Amazon link) because it allows me to attach my GoPro on top.
Since this mask covers your whole face, breathing doesn’t require a separate snorkel. You simply breathe as you normally would. Dentures won’t be a problem, unless they are extremely loose. In the end, you’re looking downward most of the time. If dentures come off, they won’t go too far.
Tip: If you’re interested, and definitely before buying one, make sure to read our full face snorkel mask review.
It’s definitely possible to snorkel with full or partial dentures. There’s always a risk of losing them, but you can minimize these risks by being cautious. Bringing a back-up set of dentures that fits you well would be best. Losing your dentures may result in a whole lot of problems, so make sure to avoid that. The full face snorkel mask could be a great option too, however, make sure to do some research and ask a professional snorkel instructor. Or who knows, even your doctor.
Nowadays, it’s possible to snorkel under a whole lot of circumstances. Me and my wife wrote an article about snorkeling with glasses for example. It’s something many people are struggling with. Sure, contacts will do the trick, but what if you don’t have any? Others find it hard to snorkel with a beard, especially since it could be a shame to shave it off. Some women wonder whether or not they are allowed to snorkel when pregnant. Snorkeling is all about having fun, so let’s keep it that way whenever possible.