Author(s): Gendreau L, Loewy ZG
Denture stomatitis, a common disorder affecting denture wearers, is characterized as inflammation and erythema of the oral mucosal areas covered by the denture. Despite its commonality, the etiology of denture stomatitis is not completely understood. A search of the literature was conducted in the PubMed electronic database (through November 2009) to identify relevant articles for inclusion in a review updating information on the epidemiology and etiology of denture stomatitis and the potential role of denture materials in this disorder. Epidemiological studies report prevalence of denture stomatitis among denture wearers to range from 15% to over 70%. Studies have been conducted among various population samples, and this appears to influence prevalence rates. In general, where reported, incidence of denture stomatitis is higher among elderly denture users and among women. Etiological factors include poor denture hygiene, continual and nighttime wearing of removable dentures, accumulation of denture plaque, and bacterial and yeast contamination of denture surface. In addition, poor-fitting dentures can increase mucosal trauma. All of these factors appear to increase the ability of Candida albicans to colonize both the denture and oral mucosal surfaces, where it acts as an opportunistic pathogen. Antifungal treatment can eradicate C. albicans contamination and relieve stomatitis symptoms, but unless dentures are decontaminated and their cleanliness maintained, stomatitis will recur when antifungal therapy is discontinued. New developments related to denture materials are focusing on means to reduce development of adherent biofilms. These may have value in reducing bacterial and yeast colonization, and could lead to reductions in denture stomatitis with appropriate denture hygiene.