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October 15th, 2014

Wearing Dentures During the Night Increases Risk of Pneumonia

Wearing dentures during the night increases risk of pneumonia

Oct 13,2014

When elderly people also wear their dentures during sleep, they have a higher risk of developing pneumonia.  Japanese scientists arrive at this conclusion in their study published in the "Journal of Dental Research".  Oral inflammatory markers were also higher.

Researchers at the Nihan University School of Dentistry in Tokyo examined the oral health and oral hygiene behaviours among 542 elderly persons (228 males, 296 females) with an average age of 87.8 years. 453 of the participants were denture wearers, and of these, 40.8 per cent also wore their dentures at night.

During the three-year observational period, 48 events involving pneumonia were identified, of which 20 were fatal.  The analyses showed that wearing dentures overnight as well as swallowing difficulties significantly increased the likelihood of developing pneumonia - in fact, the risk was 2.3 times higher.

Moreover, those who wore dentures while sleeping had more tongue and denture plaque, higher inflammatory markers on their gums and exhibited increased levels of the fungus Candida albicans as well as higher circulating IL-6. According to the authors, elderly patients should therefore be urged to remove their denture during sleep.

Journal of Dental Research (abstract)

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