A global taskforce of academic experts assembled by the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) has announced guidelines for addressing the needs of an aging population and tackling inconsistent and contradictory advice for the best care of dentures.
OHF expects the need for dentures to increase dramatically over the next 30 years as the population increases. By 2050, it says, about 2 billion people worldwide will be over the age of 60, which is more than double today’s figure.
The taskforce called current recommendations on denture care “confusing” and “unreliable,” adding that many claims lack valid evidence. As a result, it has launched a series of simple and effective guidelines for patients to use in looking after their dentures.
“We have found that people with dentures do not know how they should be cleaning them. Our report shows that denture wearers use everything from soap and water to toothpastes, bleaches, and commercial products,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, OHF chief executive.
“But with the variety of recommendations available online and from other sources, it is no surprise that people are confused,” Carter said.
“The amount of inconsistent and often unproven advice about cleaning and maintaining dentures is frightening. Incorrect denture care can pose a real threat to both the oral health and general health of denture wearers,” Carter said.
The project, which received an educational grant from GSK, featured a panel of independent and internationally recognized experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
The wide-ranging risks associated with poor denture care include inflammation of the mouth, staining, changes in taste, and bad breath. It also has been linked to wider health problems such as pneumonia, particularly in the frail elderly.
The new advice has been summarized in four steps:
- Brush your dentures daily: Use a toothbrush or denture brush along with a non-abrasive cleaner, not toothpaste, as some have been previously instructed.
- Soak your dentures daily: Use a denture cleanser to remove more of the bad bacteria and disinfect your dentures.
- Take your dentures out at night: Unless there are reasons for leaving dentures in, taking them out overnight will help relieve any soreness and prevent infection.
- Visit your dentist regularly: Appointments will help make sure that dentures are being kept in good condition and the mouth is still healthy.
The guidelines were launched at the FDI World Dental Congress in Argentina early in September.
“We will now be working with the National Health Service, local authorities, dental practices, and general practitioners to help adoption of these guidelines across the UK,” said Carter.