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Dental Hygiene Newswire

News and research for Ontario dental hygienists

Denture stomatitis – An interdisciplinary clinical review

Denture stomatitis is a common condition, which refers to diffuse or localized erythematous inflammation of the denture-bearing area. Between 20% and 80% of denture wearers are affected worldwide, with some studies suggesting a slightly higher incidence in females. It is also more likely to occur in smokers, older adults, and denture-wearers with older prostheses.

Factors contributing to the development of denture stomatitis include:

  • Poor oral and denture hygiene;
  • Full-time denture wear, particularly night-time wear;
  • Contamination of the dentures with Candida-containing polymicrobial biofilm; and
  • Traumatic fit of the denture against the denture-bearing area.


Purpose: An interdisciplinary clinical review on denture stomatitis formulated by experts from prosthodontics, oral medicine, and oral microbiology is presented. The review outlines the etiopathogenesis, clinical features, and management strategies of denture stomatitis from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Materials and methods: English-language articles relating to the definition, incidence, gender distribution, geographical distribution, etiology, pathogenesis, symptoms, signs, treatment, and prognosis of denture stomatitis were retrieved via electronic literature search. Relevant articles were summarized for this manuscript with a view toward providing pragmatic information.

Results: Denture stomatitis represents a very common, multifactorial infectious, inflammatory, and hyperplastic condition which is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, poor denture hygiene, and full-time; mainly night-time denture wear, bringing about the emergence of advanced Candida-containing polymicrobial biofilms in close proximity to the host’s mucosal tissues. Denture stomatitis shares clinically relevant associations with dental caries, periodontitis, median rhomboid glossitis, angular cheilitis, aspirational pneumonia, and associated mortality.

Conclusions: Effective, long-term treatment of denture stomatitis relies upon sustained client-driven behavioural change which should focus on daily prosthesis-level cleaning and disinfection, removal of dentures every night, engagement with professional denture maintenance, and when required, denture replacement. Antifungal medications offer limited benefits outside of short-term use due to the emergence of antifungal resistance. For frail, older, medically compromised, and nursing home populations, treatment of denture stomatitis lowers the risk of aspirational pneumonia and associated mortality.

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