How Ignoring Denture Cleaning Could Increase the Risk of Pneumonia
Posted on 12/21/2020 by Dr. Hallas
The elderly are already at an increased risk of developing and dying from pneumonia. Seniors who wear dentures could be even more likely to contract pneumonia if they neglect their oral hygiene and do not clean their dentures properly.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms. Pneumonia can affect just one lung or both lungs, and symptoms include a wet cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, and chills. Elderly patients with pneumonia might also experience confusion or be less alert than normal. Pneumonia is very serious in elderly patients; the death rate for seniors with severe pneumonia is a staggering 20 percent. Elderly patients with pneumonia are also at risk for developing serious complications such as a lung abscess, bacteremia, pleurisy, and respiratory distress.
How is Denture Cleaning Related to Pneumonia?
You should always rinse your dentures after eating and remove them every night for cleaning. Cleaning your dentures thoroughly with a specialized denture cleaner and letting them soak in a cleansing solution overnight is crucial for getting rid of food particles and bacteria that can cause infections including denture stomatitis, gum disease, and even pneumonia. In fact, a 2015 study of elderly denture wearers in Japan showed that those who kept their dentures in overnight while they slept were more likely to develop pneumonia than people who removed their dentures at night.
For most people, pneumonia can be treated with rest, fluids, and either antibiotics or antiviral medication depending on the type of infection. However, since older people have a harder time recovering from pneumonia and are also more likely to develop serious and potentially fatal complications, prevention is key. If you wear dentures, removing them at night and cleaning them properly will reduce your risk of contracting pneumonia. Contact our office to learn more.
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