Approximately one-quarter of all adults in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from complete edentulism. This is a reality that we, as dentists, have the challenge of assisting with everyday in our practices. Oral health and comfort play a significant role in quality of life for the edentulous patient and oral bacteria in denture patients have proven to produce systemic medical pathology. Recently, denture adhesives have been in the news and I thought it would be beneficial to pass along evidenced-based recommendations from the American College of Prosthodontists in regards to denture care. These recommendations came from retrospective analysis of research studies with specific criteria for inclusion.
My summary of their most important recommendations are:
1. Dentures should be thoroughly cleaned by soaking and brushing with a non-abrasive cleaner (not toothpaste) on a daily basis to remove biofilm. Soaking with an effervescent cleaner did reduce biofilm over brushing alone. Soaking in a bleach solution has been shown to be bacteriocidal but should be limited to 10 mintues to avoid damage to the prosthesis. Toothpastes can be abrasive and will increase biofilm accumulation.
2. When out of the mouth, dentures should be soaked in water to avoid warping. Ideally, dentures should be left out over night to reduce stomatitis. The combination of smoking and leaving dentures in continually, significantly increases the rate of stomatitis.
3. Denture patients should be seen by a dental professional on a yearly basis for a thorough oral examination combined with ultrasonic cleaning and mechanical repolish of their dentures.
4. Denture adhesives can be beneficial even to well-fitting dentures, but should be limited to 3-4 pea-sized dollops. Dentures requiring more adhesive should be reevaluated by a dental professional. Adhesives should be completely removed on a daily basis and zinc-containing adhesives should be avoided. Although zinc-containing adhesives have been implicated as having neurologic side-effects, these studies also identified chronic overuse.
Makers of zinc-containing adhesives, such as Fixodent, have maintained that proper use of their products, does not lead to such side-effects.
These details on dentures can be very important for our patients and their health. As always, please know that I am here as a resource for you. I thoroughly enjoy helping the patient who has chronic difficulty with their dentures.
All my best,