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Keywords:

  • Denture plaque;
  • aspiration pneumonia;
  • pharyngeal microflora

Abstract

Objectives: The morbidity and mortality of the dependent elderly that result from aspiration pneumonia are recognized as a major geriatric health problem. Most cases of bacterial pneumonia are initiated following colonization or superinfection of the pharynx by pathogenic bacteria, followed by aspiration of pharyngeal contents. A recent study revealed that bacteria, that commonly cause respiratory infection, colonized the dentures of dependent elderly. This suggests that denture plaque may function as a reservoir of potential respiratory pathogens to facilitate colonization on the pharynx. The purpose of this study was to determine the possible correlation between denture and pharyngeal microflora. Study Design: The denture and pharyngeal bacterial flora of 50 dependent elderly were examined, and the microorganisms identified by culturing. The agreement between the bacterial species in denture plaque and pharyngeal microflora was investigated using the Kappa method. Results: The microorganism species on the dentures and pharyngeal mucosa of the subjects had an agreement rate of 68.5%. The agreement rate for each of the bacterial species of the dentures and pharynx was also demonstrated to be high.

Conclusions: Dentures should be considered an important reservoir of organisations which could colonise the pharynx, and the importance of controlling denture plaque for the prevention of aspiration pneumonia cannot be overemphasized.