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Wearing Dentures to Bed Increases Risk of Pneumonia in Elderly

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 02:25 PM EDT
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Elderly who wore their dentures to bed were at increased risk of pneumonia infections new study from Japan has shown.

Oral health problems like plaque formation and gum inflammation were known problems in elders who wore dentures to bed, but the new study shows a 40 percent risk of pneumonia as well. Based on research involving 524 randomly selected elderly people with an average age of 87.8 years, researchers made their conclusions.

This study provides empirical evidence that denture wearing during sleep is associated not only with oral inflammatory and microbial burden but also with incident pneumonia, suggesting potential implications of oral hygiene programs for pneumonia prevention in the community, a press release pointed out.

"Over a three-year follow-up period of the study, 48 events associated with pneumonia were identified (20 deaths and 28 acute hospitalizations). Among 453 denture wearers, 186 (40.8%) who wore their dentures during sleep, were at higher risk for pneumonia than those who removed their dentures at night," the press release reads.

 According to Zee News the study also pointed to higher levels of circulating interleukin-6, commonly seen when the body is generating an inflammatory response. Tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation, positive culture for Candida albicans, it was reported.

"Perceived swallowing difficulties and overnight denture wearing were independently associated with approximately 2.3-fold higher risk of the incidence of pneumonia, which was comparable with the high risk attributable to cognitive impairment, history of stroke and respiratory disease," the study shows.

"These findings lead to a simple and straight forward clinical recommendation-denture wearing during the night should be discouraged in geriatric patients," Frauke Mueller, University of Geneva, Switzerland, commented.

The findings were published in Journal of Dental Research.

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