A recent study on the effects of sleeping in dentures has revealed that doing so may put the elderly at a higher risk of pneumonia.
The study, conducted by the Nihon University School of Dentistry in Japan, followed a group of more than 500 senior citizens who averaged 88 years of age for three years. Of the over 500 participants, 453 wore dentures, and 41% of those who wore dentures kept them in all night.
Throughout the course of the study, the volunteers were given routine checkups for oral hygiene and general health each year until they were either hospitalized or had passed away due to pneumonia. By the end of the study, 28 of the volunteers had been hospitalized and 20 had died from pneumonia.
The results of the study showed that the 41% of denture-wearers who kept their dentures in throughout the night were more than twice as likely to contract pneumonia than those who took their dentures out before bed. This group was also more likely to develop plaque on the tongue and dentures, as well as gum inflammation. Researchers also noted that the risk of developing pneumonia from wearing dentures at night was the same as the risk in people who have a mental impairment, history of stroke or history of respiratory disease, according to Health Day.
For years, dentures have provided a solution for people who have lost either all or some of their teeth, and when patients follow the advice of their dentist on proper usage and care of their dentures, they are a safe and long-lasting cosmetic device. When dentures are worn to bed at night, however, there can be some risks involved.
The bottom line of the study on oral hygiene and health among geriatric patients was clear: wearing dentures at night puts this group of people at a greater risk of developing pneumonia. Researchers from the study stress the importance of dentists and doctors telling their older patients not to wear their dentures at night.