More than 35 million people in the United States are considered totally edentulous, and this means they are missing all of their teeth. About 15% of toothless Americans choose to have dentures made each year to replace their missing teeth. Dentures can help to provide structure to the mouth, and they also provide working teeth. This means that the false teeth can assist with both aesthetics and nutrition. While dentures are considered highly beneficial, you may experience some issues with the teeth. The formation of dental stomatitis or oral thrush is one common issue that you may experience. To understand this problem and to also learn how to prevent it, keep reading.
What Is Dental Stomatitis?
Dental stomatitis or oral thrush is a condition that can develop when a specific type of fungus grows in the mouth. This fungus is similar to yeast and is called candida. Candida lives throughout the body, much like bacteria. In fact, candida and bacteria live in the same environments within the mouth and intestinal tract. The fungus helps the body absorb nutrients and minerals in the foods you eat, and it also helps to keep bacteria from reproducing in an uncontrolled manner. While candida is considered beneficial, it can become harmful if it starts to take over and overgrow in parts of the body. Serious intestinal issues can occur where the fungus eats through the lining of the intestinal tract.
Candida can also grow uncontrollably in the mouth and produce a condition called dental stomatitis. The yeast infection is sometimes called oral thrush, and it causes lesions in the mouth. You may also see a buildup of a white material around the gums that has a cottage-cheese appearance. When you have dentures, the fungus is likely to become trapped underneath the false teeth. Since saliva is unable to rinse away the candida, the yeast infection may remain for some time. Sores are likely to form underneath the dentures, and you will likely find it very uncomfortable to wear them.
How Can Thrush Be Prevented?
The overgrowth of candida will often occur if you take medications that kill bacteria in the body. When bacteria is killed off in the mouth, the fungus will have an open environment to grow. This often happens if you take antibiotics or are undergoing cancer treatments. Also, medications that suppress the immune system can allow thrush to develop. Your immune system keeps bacterial and fungal activity in check by destroying a number of microorganisms in the body before they can overgrow and cause any infection issues.
If you are taking medications that kill bacteria or that suppress the immune system, then it is essential that you keep your mouth and dentures as clean as possible to prevent stomatitis. It is wise to use oral care products that have both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This will help to keep candida and bacteria from taking over your mouth. You can purchase mouthwashes from your local pharmacy that contain antifungal and antibacterial ingredients. Use the rinse two times a day. Also, remove your dentures at night and soak them in the rinse solution. Brush your dentures with a mild antibacterial soap twice a day as well.
If you want a more natural approach to controlling candida, then you can make your own rinse with essential oil. Tea tree oil and peppermint oil both have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and you can use both oils to safely rinse your mouth. Place about two cups of water in a small container and add five drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of peppermint oil. Shake the bottle to mix up the solution and take a large sip of the fluid when you want to rinse your mouth. Move the oil mix around your mouth for about one minute and spit it out.
For more information on avoiding dental stomatitis and taking care of your dentures, contact a local dental clinic like Milner Dentistry.