Poor denture hygiene tied to greater odds of pneumonia in elders

  • Kusama T & al.
  • Sci Rep
  • 24 Sep 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Infrequent denture cleaning by community-dwelling older adults (aged ≥65 years) is associated with a higher probability of pneumonia, according to a population-based cross-sectional survey in Japan.

Why this matters

  • The mechanism might be build-up of a microorganism-rich biofilm (denture plaque) that is aspirated, causing aspiration pneumonia.
  • First study of its kind suggests that more frequent denture cleaning could prevent pneumonia.

Study design

  • Population-based cross-sectional survey in Japan of community-dwelling elders (n=71,227).
  • Funding: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan; others.

Key results

  • Among all participants, the incidence of pneumonia within the last year was 2.3% among those who cleaned their dentures daily and 3.0% among those who did not clean them daily.
    • Nondaily (vs daily) cleaning was associated with a 30% increase in pneumonia risk (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.01-1.68).
  • Among those aged ≥75 years, the incidence of pneumonia within the last year was 2.9% among those who cleaned their dentures daily and 4.3% among those who did not clean them daily.
    • Nondaily (vs daily) cleaning was associated with a 58% increase in pneumonia risk (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.15-2.17).
  • No differences between groups among 65-74-year-old patients.

Limitations

  • Cross-sectional, observational design.
  • Self-reported incidence of pneumonia may cause reporting bias.