3 Tips for Treating Denture-Related Stomatitis

Posted on: 30 November 2016

Denture-related stomatitis is a common condition affecting up to 70% of denture wearers. It is characterised by redness, soreness and inflammation of the gums under the dentures and is generally caused by a build-up of Candida, a fungus that is usually harmless to healthy people at normal levels. Many denture wearers are unaware that they have denture stomatitis, with the condition only discovered during a routine examination. However, for others, the infection can be painful, and for this reason, it is often termed 'denture sore mouth'. If you suspect you may have denture stomatitis, here are three tips you can follow to treat the condition.

1. Denture hygiene

The most common cause of denture stomatitis is poor denture hygiene. Luckily, most cases of the condition can be easily treated by implementing a good denture care regime. Dentures should always be removed overnight and soaked in the antiseptic solution recommended by your dentist. According to the Oral Health Foundation, many denture stomatitis infections can be treated without intervention in just two weeks by simply following this step.

Dentures should also be physically cleaned at regular intervals, either by using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste or an ultrasonic dental cleaner.

2. Topical treatments

For denture stomatitis that does not respond to two weeks of regular denture cleaning, your dentist can prescribe topical gels and mouth washes to help reduce the instance of the Candida fungus in your mouth. One common treatment is nystatin, a mouth wash that should be used for at least two weeks for best results. Your dentist may also prescribe an anti-fungal gel, such as ketoconazole or miconazole, to apply to your dentures before you put them on each day.

It is important to let your dentist know about any medications you are taking, as this may affect the course of treatment they prescribe. For example, miconazole can magnify the blood thinning effects of warfarin and should be avoided in patients taking the anticoagulant.

3. Consider a whole-body approach

If you are suffering from stubborn denture stomatitis that does not respond to anti-fungal therapy, talk to your dentist about the possibility that other underlying conditions may be exacerbating the fungal infection. For example, recent studies have shown that type 2 diabetes may put denture wearers at increased risk of developing a stomatitis infection. Other factors that place patients at an increased risk of the condition include immunodeficiency (such as that caused by HIV) and iron deficiency. 

The presence of other conditions is often not the first thing dentists think of when treating denture stomatitis, so if your infection will not go away despite your dentist's best efforts, consider taking a whole-body approach and asking for tests for other conditions. You may uncover something more important than a simple fungal infection!

Denture stomatitis is asymptomatic in most people, but for those who do experience symptoms, the inflammation can be very uncomfortable. By following these three steps, you can work on treating your condition and ensuring the infection does not reoccur.


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