A global taskforce of academic experts brought together by UK-based charity the Oral Health Foundation has announced new guidelines to address the needs an ageing population worldwide and tackle the wealth of inconsistent and contradictory advice on the best care of dentures.
The need for people to have dentures is expected to increase dramatically over the next 30 years as the elderly population increases. It is predicted that by 2050 an estimated two billion people will be over the age of 60 – more than double today’s figure.
The taskforce labelled current recommendations on denture care ‘confusing’ and ‘unreliable’, adding that many claims lack valid evidence.
As a result, the group of experts including representatives from the Oral Health Foundation and King’s College London, have launched a series of simple and effective guidelines on how to look after dentures.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation believes the new guidelines will help end confusion about how dentures should be looked after.
Dr Carter says: “We have found that people with dentures do not know how they should be cleaning them. Our report shows that denture wearers use everything from soap and water to toothpastes, bleaches and commercial products. But with the variety of recommendations available online and from other sources, it is no surprise that people are confused.
“The amount of inconsistent and often unproven advice about cleaning and maintaining dentures is frightening. Incorrect denture care can pose a real threat to both the oral health and general health of denture wearers.
“We hope these new recommendations can reassure people about the best way to look after their dentures.”
The project, which received an educational grant from GSK, featured a panel of independent and internationally-recognised experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and the UK.
The risks associated with poor denture care are wide-ranging and include inflammation of the mouth, staining, changes in taste and bad breath. It has also been linked to wider health problems such as pneumonia, particularly in the frail elderly.
The new guidelines were launched at the FDI World Dental Congress, held in Argentina.
“We will now be working with the NHS, local authorities, dental practices and GPs to help adoption of these guidelines across the UK,” adds Dr Carter.
“The older you get, the more likely you are to have dentures. With an aging population, the demand for correct and trustworthy information on how to look after them becomes even more important.
“Unclean dentures can have serious consequences to health. Please adopt these guidelines, whether you wear dentures, are a carer to someone that does, or you have a family member that wears them.”