(RxWiki News) For some seniors, taking proper care of dentures is an important part of good oral health. While dentists advise taking out your dentures at night, many seniors may not know the best way to store them.
A recent study found that storing dentures overnight in water with a cleanser tablet led to a significant decrease in bacterial species on the dentures when compared to dentures stored in plain water and those left dry.
"Speak to your dentist about proper overnight storage of dentures."
This study was led by Joke Duyck, DDS, and Katleen Vandamme, DDS, in the KU Leuven BIOMAT Research Cluster & Prosthetics section in the Department of Oral Health Sciences & Dental Clinic at KU Leuven & University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium. The research team compared the effect of different overnight storage methods for dentures on the bacterial (and ultimately plaque) growth on dentures.
Study participants were selected by two dentists (two of the study authors) and included 51 patients who were toothless and wore removable dentures.
The participants were randomly assigned to store their dentures overnight in one of three ways: 18 participants stored their dentures in tap water, 16 participants left their dentures dry and 17 participants stored their dentures in tap water with a cleanser tablet (alkaline peroxide-based Corega Tabs anti-bacterial tablet).
The study period lasted for 14 days. Before the study began, all of the dentures were cleaned and disinfected with water and toothpaste.
All of the dentures were stored overnight in tap water for the first week, and then stored according to their group assignment for the following week.
Bacterial samples were taken on day seven to collect developing bacteria and day 14 to collect maturing bacteria. The researchers checked for the amount of bacterial growth and for the growth of specific bacterial species known to be associated with oral conditions.
The researchers chose specific regions of the dentures to sample for bacterial growth, and cleaned all other areas of the dentures for the participants daily. Participants and their caregivers were asked not to clean the dentures themselves during the study period.
The average age of the study participants was approximately 86 years.
The researchers found that fewer bacterial species developed when the dentures were stored in water with the cleanser tablet when compared to those stored dry or in plain tap water. Specifically, the researchers found that overnight denture storage with the cleansing tablet decreased the total bacterial level of developing and maturing bacteria by about 14 percent.
The researchers also found a lower count for six different bacterial species in dentures stored in a tablet-based water solution compared to dentures stored in a different manner.
Not taking out dentures at night and poor denture cleaning habits can lead to increased bacterial growth and conditions like stomatitis (inflamed and sore mouth). Bacterial growth on dentures also has been associated with other serious health conditions such as pneumonia and COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — a group of diseases that makes it difficult to breathe.
Dana Fort, DDS, a general dentist with a private practice in Chicago and Hinsdale, Illinois told dailyRx News, "It is not surprising that dentures stored in a cleaning solution will exhibit fewer bacteria … However, it is important to remember that this practice alone is not enough.
"The bacteria that grow on dentures does so in a biofilm, much like soap scum that accumulates on a shower wall. This biofilm must be … scrubbed off daily to ensure the proper health of the denture wearer over time," said Dr. Fort, who was not associated with the study.
This study appears online in the Journal of Dentistry.
The authors reported no competing interests.