Over half of Americans 65+ wear some form of dentures, approximately 57% as of 2012. Many dislike their dentures because they’re hard to eat and talk with and frequently cause gum irritation, among other issues.
Scientists in India have now discovered that there may be a new issue with dentures. Researchers from the Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, conducted a systematic search of several medical databases, including MEDLINE, PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Web of Science.
They used search terms such as “oral cancer,” “mechanical irritation,” “risk factor,” “dental irritation” and “dental trauma,” among others, finding 22 relevant studies to their research.
The literature review showed an association between ill-fitting denture use and subsequent cancer formation. In one Swedish study, it was determined that defective or malfunctioning complete dentures were significant risk factors for the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma. Another study found that 44% of patients examined showed a correlation between the site of oral cancer development and the site of some form of chronic dental irritation.
The study concluded that chronic mucosal irritation resulting from ill-fitting dentures may be considered a risk factor for the development of oral cancer.
Board-certified prosthodontist Dr. David A. Felton, who is the current editor-in-chief of the Journal of Prosthodontics, notes that while research suggests a correlation between ill-fitting dentures and oral cancer, there is currently no known process through which ill-fitting dentures cause oral cancer.
Early Detection is Key
If you wear dentures, be sure to attend your annual dental check-ups. In your appointment, the dentist will perform an oral cancer screening as part of your check-up. This is also an opportunity for us to check the fit of your dentures and make adjustments if needed or suggest alternative options.
Give us a call to find out more or schedule your check-up. You can call us at [phone] or email us at [email].