Oral Hygiene and Dentures | How to Prevent Disease

Dentures are essential in the field of dentistry today. These are prosthetic devices designed to act as replacements for missing teeth. Undoubtedly, the dentures do their job well by bringing back the natural smile to your face, but there are certain areas where considerable care needs to be taken to avoid oral health complications. Dentures are usually made up of acrylic powders that provide them with enhanced durability. So, the constant use of such acrylic devices without adequate cleaning can cause a variety of bacterial and fungal diseases. This article aims to inform the readers about the various infections and diseases that can be caused due to the use of dentures and the ways of preventing and treating them. Read on to find out more about the diseases associated with the use of dentures. Remember, good oral hygiene should always be your top priority when it comes to dental health.

oral hygiene

Oral Hygiene and Dentures

The primary reasons for most of the diseases caused by the use of dentures are associated with poor oral hygiene and improper cleaning of the dentures. The following is a comprehensive list of various infections and diseases that one can suffer from the use of dentures.

1. Denture stomatitis

This is the most commonly faced infection associated with the use of dentures. Denture stomatitis is an infection caused by a type of fungus candida albicans and can also be caused by yeast or bacteria. The symptoms of the infection include painful inflammation of the gum tissues, bad breath, dry mouth and reddening of the areas below the denture. The infection may also cause white blisters or thrushes to develop inside the mouth and tongue due to the irritation triggered by the constant use of the dentures. Hence, denture stomatitis is also called as “oral thrush”.

2. Nerve damage

Burning Mouth Syndrome is a symptom indicative of denture stomatitis which causes painful inflammation of the tissues on the tongue and can affect the lips as well. Fungal infection is not the only cause of this syndrome, while there are other factors like poor sizing and placement of the dentures that can result in damage to the sensory nerves of the tongue. This can lead to numbness of various areas on the tongue and cause the patient to feel a burning sensation in the affected areas.

3. Angular cheilitis

The condition commonly referred to as “chapped lips,” angular cheilitis is an infection that can be caused by wearing of dentures of improper size leading to fungal or bacterial growth in the corners of the lips causing them to “chap”. It is important to get the dentures fitted perfectly to avoid this infection. The symptoms of cheilitis include redness of the corners of the mouth, ulceration around the lips and itchiness. Patients suffering from angular cheilitis often find it difficult to eat and speak.

4. Mouth Ulcers

A wide variety of bacteria, fungi and yeast strains can cause an eruption of painful ulcers and sores in the mouth. These ulcers can be the result of using dentures without adequate cleaning and poor sanitation. Common symptoms of mouth ulcers include inflammation and burning of the affected areas. It often makes it very difficult to eat due to the ulcers causing considerable pain and discomfort. Chronic or severe ulceration can be indicative of an initial stage of oral cancer. It is highly recommended to consult your dentist immediately to rule out such condition and ensure thorough cleaning of the dentures you are using.

5. Periodontal disease

Gum diseases can weaken teeth and cause severe damage in the long run for those who are using partial dentures. They can lose their natural teeth due to gum infections. Plaque accumulation and bacterial growth due to the use of unclean dentures can cause mild to severe periodontal infections, affecting the gums and weakening them. This impacts your overall dental health adversely, and make your natural teeth prone to decay. Strong gums mean stronger teeth!

6. Bruxism

This is not a disease, but a disorder to be precise. Bruxism is a disorder in which the patient grinds their teeth by clenching their jaws frequently. The medical term for bruxism is “grinding of teeth” and can be caused due to the wearing of dentures. The disorder does reflect any significant symptoms, but it may indicate a “bad bite” which means the dentures are causing a hindrance in the “normal bite”. Improper fitting is the major cause of bruxism, while other factors can include anxiety and stress.

The symptoms of the diseases and infections caused due to the usage of dentures have much in common. The common symptoms users would experience while using dentures may include soreness, dry mouth, inflammation, ulcerations, pain and itchiness. These symptoms are mostly indicative of a fungal or bacterial infection and can be dealt with using various treatments and preventive measures discussed further in the article.

Most of the patients who had their dentures fitted reported having experienced one or more of the symptoms stated above as a result of infections caused due to lack of proper denture care and poor oral hygiene. The most popular method to prevent such infections is to soak the removable dentures overnight in a solution. This way, around 99% of the germs are killed, keeping the nasty infections at bay. Some also suggested brushing the dentures as one would brush their natural teeth with toothpaste to effectively clean them.

Dentures can cause significant discomfort and pain if not cared for properly. The infections and diseases are purely a result of carelessness and poor oral hygeine. Here is a five-step checklist you can follow to keep your smile beautiful and infections at bay:

  1.  Remove and clean the dentures with fresh water after each meal you have.
  2.  Use solution or wipes to clean the dentures and kill the germs and bacteria that might have grown.
  3.  Do not wear them at night. Keep them soaked in solution overnight to keep them clean and germ-free. Use antiseptic solution if you have  signs of infection.
  4. Use towel or cloth while using the sink in order to prevent the dentures from breaking in case of a drop.
  5. Thorough cleaning of all sections of the dentures is a must. Do not leave any portion of the denture unclean.

There is a wide range of antibacterial and antifungal medications available to treat the infections caused due to wearing dentures. Many of the below-discussed products could offer symptomatic relief only, hence it is important to consult your doctor/dentist before use.

Iglu Mouth Ulcer Gel

is a good option to relieve pain and inflammation caused due to ulcers. The gel can provide a highly effective solution for denture rubbing and sore gums. Iglu Mouth Ulcer gel is available on Amazon. Users have given a great feedback and are satisfied with the results.

For the patients suffering from oral thrush, clotrimazole lozenges are good enough to alleviate the infection and the symptoms associated. The lozenges can be put in the mouth until they dissolve. Use as directed by your dentist. Mycelex Troche lozenges is a good option to treat denture stomatitis.

Patients suffering from angular cheilitis can use Neosporin antifungal cream to alleviate the infection associated with the corners of the lips. There are a wide variety of topical antifungal and antibacterial creams available at medical stores near you. It is highly recommended to consult your doctor before use of such medications and maintain oral hygiene.

Excellent oral hygiene and habits are essential in order to keep those nasty infections at bay. Stay happy and keep smiling!

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