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Sleeping in dentures doubles risk of pneumonia in elderly, study says

6 June 2021

A new study on oral health and hygiene has found that elderly patients who wear dentures during sleep are at a higher risk for developing pneumonia than those who removed them.


The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, focused on a group of more than 500 adults over the age of 85. The volunteers were screened for oral health status and hygiene as well as medical issues, and reexamined each year until first hospitalization or death from pneumonia, according to a news release.


Over a three-year period, researchers recorded 48 deaths and hospitalizations associated with pneumonia, and found that among the 453 denture wearers, 186 who did not remove them before sleep were at a 2.3-fold higher risk for pneumonia than those who did.


Researchers also found overnight denture wearing was likely to lead to tongue and denture plaque, gun inflammation and other oral issues.

The researchers concluded that clinical physicians should discourage their geriatric patients from wearing dentures through the night.