Denture wearing during sleep is associated not only with oral inflammation and microbial burden but also with pneumonia, showed the study, suggesting potential implications of oral hygiene programmes for pneumonia prevention in the community.

The researchers also found that those who wore dentures while sleeping were more likely to have tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation, positive culture for Candida albicans and higher levels of circulating interleukin-6.

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

To identify modifiable oral health-related risk factors, lead researcher Toshimitsu Iinuma, from the Nihon University School of Dentistry, Japan, and a team of researchers investigated associations between a constellation of oral health behaviours and incidences of pneumonia in the elderly (85 years of age or older).

Among 453 denture wearers, 186 (40.8 percent) were at higher risk of suffering from pneumonia, as they wore their dentures during sleep, than those who removed their dentures at night.

Both, perceived swallowing difficulties and overnight denture wearing were independently associated with an approximately 2 or 3 fold risk of the incidence of pneumonia.

The findings were published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR).

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