What is Denture Stomatitis?

What is Denture Stomatitis?

Denture stomtatis is a generalized inflammation of the area underneath your denture, usually the palate. It is sometimes also called, ‘denture sore mouth’ even though it very rarely causes soreness.

It is a common problem found in 30-60% of full denture wearers. Denture stomatitis affects women four times more than men and is much more likely to be found under the top denture than the bottom. It can be found under both partial and complete dentures.

What Causes Denture Stomatitis:

It is generally the result of an overgrowth of a fungus called candia albicans (90%), which grows with poor denture hygiene and from the pressure of an ill fitting denture.

These factors may also contribute:

  • Night time denture wear. If you wear your dentures all day and all night, your gums rarely get a chance to breathe giving the perfect environment for the canidida to grow undisturbed.
  • High sugar diet. This provides food for the candida, allowing them to grow and multiply.
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia). Your saliva provides natural protection against infection and lubricates your mouth to stop dentures from traumatizing your gums. Without it you are more prone to getting problems. There are various things you can do to help improve the situation, though it will depend on the cause of the problem.
  • Systemic problems. The following systemic problems, (those affecting your whole body) may make the condition more likely to occur, or make it more severe:

(i) Diabetes

(ii) Medication- broad spectrum antibiotics

(iii) Steroids

(iv) Cytotoxic drugs (cancer drugs)

(v) Nutritional deficiences- iron, vitamin b12, folic acid

The longer the denture stomatitis is left untreated, the more of the fungus that grows, the more toxins are released and the more inflamed your tissues get. It is a cycle that needs to be broken.

What is the Treatment for Denture Stomatitis?

It is treated by tackling the cause:

  • Pop your denture in a mild hypochlorite solution for up to twenty minutes. If you dilute some with water, make sure the water is cold because warm/hot water could bleach the colour of your denture. This solution is most effective at killing plaque and cleaning your denture. If you have a chrome denture, then don’t leave it for longer than 10 minutes as there is the potential for corrosion of the metal. This also should not be done if your denture has a soft lining.
  • Leave dentures out at night- I know a lot of you don’t want to, but it does the world of good for your mouth.
  • Try to watch the sugar in your diet and eat a little less.
  • If trauma from an ill fitting denture is a problem, then your dentist may need to adjust your bite and reline the denture.
  • An antifungal, such as amphotercin B, nystatin or miconazole can be useful, but it is important that the underlying causes are treated, or when the drug therapy is stopped, the denture stomatitis will re-occur.
  • If it is suspected that you have systemic factors contributing to the problem, then you may need to see your medical doctor to get these investigated.