Dental Tribune Asia Pacific

Sleeping with dentures could double pneumonia risk

By Dental Tribune International
January 22, 2015

TOKYO, Japan: Poor oral health and hygiene are major risk factors for pneumonia among the elderly. Now, Japanese researchers have found that those who wear dentures at night are also at an increased risk of pneumonia. They have thus recommended that denture wearing during sleep be discouraged in geriatric patients.

The researchers examined 228 men and 296 women aged 85 and over annually in terms of their oral health status and oral hygiene behaviours for a period of three years. Overall, 20 deaths and 28 acute hospitalisations related to pneumonia occurred. According to the study, patients who wore their dentures during sleep were at a 2.3-fold risk of pneumonia compared with those who removed their dentures at night.

In addition, the researchers found tongue and denture plaque, periodontal inflammation and Candida albicans in the participants who wore dentures during sleep, which was not the case for the control group.

“This study provided empirical evidence that denture wearing during sleep is associated not only with oral inflammatory and microbial burden but also with incident pneumonia, suggesting potential implications of oral hygiene programs for pneumonia prevention in the community,” the researchers concluded.

The study, titled “Denture wearing during sleep doubles the risk of pneumonia in the very elderly”, was published online on 7 October 2014 in the Journal of Dental Research ahead of print. It was conducted by researchers at Nihon University’s School of Dentistry and Keio University’s School of Medicine in Tokyo in Japan.

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