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Gerodontology. 2008 Dec;25(4):222-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2007.00247.x. Epub 2008 Jul 26.

Denture contamination by yeasts in the elderly.

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Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Department of Dentistry, Erasme CHU, route de Lennik 808 (CP 621), 1070 Brussels, Belgium.



The aim of this study was to investigate yeast carriage in healthy denture wearers by swabbing and to evaluate the effect of denture hygiene habits.


Denture wearers (n = 87) without evidence of denture stomatitis or any other oral disease were investigated by separately swabbing the fitting surface of the upper denture and the corresponding palatal mucosa in contact with the appliance. In a group of volunteers, a gel without any active compound was spread on the palatal side of the denture once in every morning for 2 weeks.


Screening showed Candida colonisation of upper prosthesis in 75.9% of individuals. The most frequent species isolated were Candida albicans (77.9% of the positive cultures), Candida glabrata (44.1%) and Candida tropicalis (19.1%). Carriage of more than one yeast species was found in 48.5% of the contaminated dentures. There was a statistically significant association between denture contamination and palatal mucosa colonisation (chi-squared test: p < 0.0001). Repeated swabbings after 1 week as well as during a weekly follow-up for 1 month confirmed the denture contamination and its degree of severity. A daily gel application produced a yeast-count decrease to 10% of the initial value after 2 weeks (chi-squared test: p = 0.0134 and p = 0.2841 for prosthesis and palatal mucosa, respectively).


This study documented the reliability of oral swabbing when investigating yeast carriage in healthy denture wearers. Moreover, just a diagnostic tool, sampling upper dentures for Candida could be the opportunity to verify the patient's compliance to hygiene advice.

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