Dentures and Angular Cheilitis: They Can be Mutually Exclusive

As a natural substitute for teeth, dentures can provide several benefits: It assumes the chewing function of teeth, enabling you to eat the foods you want; it allows you to keep talking and smiling confidently; and it even keeps facial muscles from sagging, preventing a haggard appearance. But there are negatives to wearing dentures, and one such disadvantage, may include a propensity for it to create conditions, such as angular cheilitis. In fact, dentures are often cited as a cause of angular cheilitis because older people who wear dentures are statistically more inclined to develop this mouth infection that their non-denture wearing counterparts.

The primary problem arises because too many people do not maintain proper oral health and are not careful about keeping their dentures spotless. Denture wearers should be cognizant of biofilm, a thin covering of goo that builds up over the dentures. Folks may think that this is perfectly natural as it may feel as though saliva is just migrating over the dental plate, but biofilm actually poses major health risks. Indeed, this is a breeding ground for a host of baneful bacteria, and drug-resistant germs, such as MRSA, can even take up residence. And compared to MRSA, angular heilitis may not seem so threatening.

These warlike bacteria strains can easily undermine one’s immune system, especially if natural defenses are already compromised. Fungi may also be present, assaulting the immune system as well. As you may know by now, bacteria or fungi are causal agents of angular cheilitis so in order to avoid this condition or more serious conditions, it is essential that dentures remain in a pristine state which you may think is easier said than done.

This is where research comes in handy. It appears that there are two recommended ways to kill the germs found on dentures. First, you can actually nuke them. Specifically, you can microwave the dentures (assuming the dentures don’t have metal parts) for about 3 minutes. Wait until they cool down, of course, before placing them back in your mouth. The radiant energy/heat of the microwave should obliterate those dastardly microbes.

Alternatively, you can soak dentures in a solution of chlorhexidine gluconate (brand name, Peridex; Periogard) for at least 10 minutes. This is an oral rinse that is antiseptic and anti-bacterial that decimates bacteria by binding on to their cell walls.

Of course, you should discuss any denture cleansing routine with your orthodontist. You cannot be cavalier about this topic because dirty dentures can easily foster angular cheilitis and more serious bodily afflictions.

While you’re doing everything within your power to keep dentures as clean and germ-free as possible, ensure that they fit well in your mouth. Poor-fitting dentures cause chronic irritation, and can contribute to perleche as well, not to mention its potential to adversely affect bone or gum tissues. Moreover, ill-fitting dentures may lead to a steady stream of saliva, and an undercurrent of bacteria. This saliva flow may more readily find the corners of your mouth and foment conditions ripe for angular cheilitis to develop. Again, don’t hesitate to make another appointment to see your orthodontist if your dentures are out of place.

Regardless of the dentures you wear, partial or complete and everything in between, make certain that they’re dirt and goo-free and are properly fitted. Dentures do not have to cause angular cheilitis or even more debilitating conditions. Now that’s something to chew on.