Your dentist has told you that you should take your dentures out. We’ve included it in our list of scientific denture care recommendations. Hopefully, you already take your dentures out at night to clean them, but if not, maybe this new study will change your mind.

Researchers in Japan have determined that sleeping in dentures more than doubles the risk of contracting pneumonia among the very aged (age 85 or more).

A Susceptible Population

The study was looking at more than 500 community residents who had an average age of 87.8, 453 of whom had dentures. Of these denture wearers, 186 did not remove their dentures at night. That’s 41% of the denture wearers, which seems a really high proportion given the number of admonitions they’ve probably received to the contrary. Among this community, there were 48 serious pneumonia events, which included 20 deaths and 28 hospitalizations. Compared to those that took their dentures out at night, denture wearers who slept with their dentures in were 2.4 times more likely to develop pneumonia. This makes it one of the higher risk factors in this population, higher than cognitive impairment (2.2 times more likely to develop pneumonia) and a history of respiratory disease (2.3 times more likely to develop pneumonia).

Oral Bacteria and Pneumonia

This study comes after another study that showed oral bacteria might play a role in pneumonia. In the past, it was thought that the appearance of oral bacteria in pneumonia cultures was due to contamination of samples, but this study showed it was likely that oral bacteria actually can infect the lungs and grow there, causing pneumonia.

If that’s the case, then it would explain the mechanism behind this study’s findings. Not cleaning your dentures properly allows bacteria (as well as fungus) to grow on them into large colonies, which might then easily spread to your lungs, causing pneumonia.

Keep Healthy with Proper Denture Care

This is another reminder that proper denture care isn’t just about keeping your dentures in top shape, it’s about protecting your health. Pneumonia is a potentially deadly condition, and if it can be prevented with proper denture care, that seems an easy and intelligent approach.

If you would like to talk to a denture dentist in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment at Smile Columbia Dentistry.