Denture Stomatitis: What Is It And Can Probiotics Help?

Denture stomatitis is the name given to a fungal infection of the mouth brought on by the wearing of dentures. The word stomatitis means inflammation of the mouth. It occurs in 11-67% of complete denture wearers and is more common in women than men1.

The most common position for the fungi to grow is on the palatal mucosa1 - that is the roof of the mouth where it is covered by the dental plate. It is a fairly common infection caused through the wearing of false teeth.

Biofilms of a particular fungi, Candida albicans, are well known for forming on indwelling devices such as dentures, catheters and heart valves.

The biofilm starts as a single cell of candida attaching to the denture and grows into a biofilm containing a mixture of yeast, hyphae, and pseudohyphae. Once the fungi have attached to a surface then "persister cells" develop. These are fungal cells that are highly reistant to antimicrobial treatment.

This is what makes the biofilms so difficult to kill.

Symptoms of denture stomatitis can include redness underneath the plate, red sores, white patches and pain.


Probiotics That Can Reduce Biofilm

In 2014 a study3 was done on four commmon probiotics - Accuflora, Align, Culturelle and Sustenex - to see how well each could inhibit the biofilm that forms when candida gets out of control with denture wearers.

The good news is that all the probiotics reduced the biofilm with Accuflora and Culturelle being the most successful.

Ths study was done in vitro (test tube) so the probiotics were not taken orally but a similar recent study applied the probiotic to the underside of the dental plate - the surface that will be against the skin.


Tips on treating denture stomatitis

Leave your dentures out as much as possible, certainly at night. Some people have cured this oral thrush simply by never wearing their dentures to bed.

Always clean the underside of dentures with a brush. This is where the biofilm talked about above develops.

Ensure your dentures fit well. Rubbing can be cause of injury to the mouth.

Make sure that any cracks or damage to your dental plate is repaired by a professional. Biofilms enjoy the protection that cracks or imperfections in your dental plate provide2. No "home made" repairs - and don't laugh, I know an elderly gentleman who repaired his own false teeth with polyfiller!

Stop smoking. Smoking encourages the growth of fungi. Smoking a pipe is particularly likely to cause this problem.

Clean and rinse the mouth after meals.

Eat foods such as acidophilus yogurt and aged cheese, both of which have had success against oral thrush. See Oral Thrush Treatment for more details on these probiotic foods and supplements that have helped.

Clotrimazole lozenges 10mg. eg Mycelex Troche. These take about 30 minutes to dissolve in your mouth and will inhibit most species of Candida for up to three hours. The usual dose is one lozenge five times a day for fourteen days.

Give Them Dentures Some Love!



1. Arendorf TM, Walker DM. Denture stomatitis: a review. J Oral Rehabil. 1987 May;14(3):217-27.

2. Gordon Ramage, PhD, Kelley Tomsett, DDS, Brian L Wickes, PhD, Jose L Lopez-Ribot, PharmD, PhD, Spencer W Redding, DDS, ME. Denture stomatitis: a role for Candida biofilms. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontology Volume 98, Issue 1, Pages 53-59 (July 2004)

3. Ujaoney S, Chandra J, Faddoul F, Chane M, Wang J, Taifour L, Mamtani MR, Thakre TP, Kulkarni H, Mukherjee P, Ghannoum MA. In Vitro Effect of Over-the-Counter Probiotics on the Ability of Candida Albicans to Form Biofilm on Denture Strips. J Dent Hyg. 2014 Jun;88(3):183-9.