If you sleep with dentures, this might be something you want to reconsider. A recent study showed that a combination of poor oral health and sleep with dentures increased the chances a patient; in particular, a senior citizen may contract pneumonia. Other risk factors included cognitive decline, stroke, and other common health problems associated with patients with advanced periodontal disease.
This seems primarily to be an issue with patients who are remiss in their oral hygiene, which is common among the elderly, as they may forget to regularly clean their dentures and attend to their self-care. Proper hygiene can eliminate a number of these risk factors, but it goes without saying that even the most conscientious of us can be lax from time to time.
If you plan to wear your dentures to sleep, I advise that you clean them regularly, as well as brush and floss thoroughly, in particular if you have gotten fixed dentures. It may seem like a hassle, but it could very well keep you from getting a life threatening illness.
Senior citizens are much more susceptible to pneumonia due to their age and other factors that come with aging. The bacteria that grow between our teeth, around our gums, and our dental appliances can contribute to pneumonia as they are breathed in while the patient is sleeping. This is why maintaining high dental self-care standards and regularly seeing your dentist, especially if you have prosthetic teeth, such as dentures, bridges, and implants is so important.
If you plan to sleep with dentures, or you forget to take them out on a regular basis (i.e, you fall asleep reading, watching TV, etc.), then these tips may be helpful.
- Brush and rinse your dentures daily. Even though your dentures and other appliances may not be as susceptible to decay and other problems faced by natural teeth, treat them exactly as you would your original teeth. Rinse your dentures after every meal.
- Use a denture cleaner, as some toothpastes can be too abrasive for dentures and wear them down over time. Hand soap or gentle dishwashing liquids can be used in a pinch, but I personally recommend getting an ultrasonic cleaner and use the cleaning solution. This does not replace brushing, however. Never use bleach to clean your dentures as it may whiten the pink portion and certain reactions may warp your dentures.
- When cleaning, a denture brush might be better than a regular toothbrush, as they may be too stiff or hard for your dentures.
- Rinse with mouthwash after cleaning your dentures.
This will help prevent bacterial growth, denture odor, and allow you to sleep with your dentures safely. It is still recommended that you sleep without your dentures, but this is not always practical. If you have any questions about denture and oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist or give us a call at (310) 273-2020.