Because of their poor function and difficulty to clean, traditional dentures have been linked to many health problems. But soon dentures may also be responsible for helping to cure conditions.

A researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell is developing a new coating for dentures that will allow them to deliver medications. Initially, it is envisioned that the dentures will be used to treat Candida infections, but perhaps the medication selection could be expanded to help with many other conditions related to denture wear.

Denture close up

A Special Coating for Dentures

Candida infection is also known as stomatitis. Candida is a kind of fungus found in most people’s mouths, but usually isn’t a problem. With denture wearers, the Candida can infect the gums, causing redness and irritation. If denture wearers have poor or compromised heal, Candida infections can be a real threat. In some cases they may even be fatal.

Although proper care of dentures can help reduce the risk of Candida infections, people who have the hardest time cleaning their dentures may also be those who are most at risk from Candida infections.

There have been attempts to make antifungal dentures in the past. Often, the dentures are infused with medications at the beginning. This helps, but after a little while, all the medication has diffused and the dentures lose their infection-fighting benefits. Although silver-infused dentures may retain their properties longer, they’re still only limited to one kind of medical benefit.

However, this new strategy may help dentures keep fighting infections for their entire functional life. Instead of putting the medication in the dentures themselves, the medication is infused into a solution of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PNVP), a water-soluble polymer. This coating is then applied to the denture, where it remains effective for an extended period, up to about 30 days.

This new approach offers many benefits. First, it means that the medication can be renewed every 30 days as necessary to achieve a particular effect. And it means that there’s a potential for many different medications to be applied this way, basically anything that is stable enough and can be mixed with the PNVP. Perhaps best of all, it means that the new technique could be extended to all people with dentures, including FOY® Dentures and implant dentures.

Veterans Will Benefit First

The research on the new coating is still in the early stages. It will likely be years before the coating is ready for commercial use. But in the meantime, researchers are hoping to use the testing phases for the coating to benefit veterans, who often have serious oral health problems.

Veterans have sacrificed much in service of their country, often including their oral health. Many lost teeth in combat, while others have experienced tooth loss after leaving the service. They may have difficulty caring for oral health because of physical and mental disabilities and/or homelessness after service. That’s part of the reason why the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has cofunded the research and expects veterans to benefit as part of the early trials.

If the trials are successful, the FDA could offer approval in just a few years.

Are you looking for dentures that help protect your oral health in the meantime? Properly fitting and supportive dentures can dramatically help maintain your oral health and avoid problems like Candida infections.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of quality dentures, please contact a local FOY® Dentures dentist.