People with dentures may want to think again the next time they sleep with them in. A recent study determined that people who wore dentures during sleep were at a higher risk for pneumonia when compared to those who removed them prior to sleep. The study was published by the International and American Associations for Dental Research and appears in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Dental Research.

Poor oral health and hygiene are major risk factors for pneumonia among the elderly. That’s why they research team from Nihon University School of Dentistry in Japan opted to do this study.

There were 524 randomly selected seniors with an average age of 87.8 who were analyzed in regards to their oral health status and oral health behaviors. This was done until hospitalization or death resulted from pneumonia. There were 48 incidents (20 deaths and 28 hospitalizations). The research also showed that among the 453 denture wearers, 186 wore them at night and were at a higher risk for pneumonia as a result.

This higher risk of pneumonia was comparable to the higher risk of cognitive impairment, history of stroke and respiratory disease. The denture wearers during sleep were also more likely to have tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation, positive culture for Candida albicans and higher levels of circulation interleukin-6.
This study shows that it’s important for senior citizens or people who wear dentures to have oral hygiene programs that focus on pneumonia prevention. More importantly, it’s important for geriatric patients to be aware of the harmful effects of wearing dentures while sleeping.

Original Source: Dentistry