Denture Stomatitis

Denture stomatitis, or chronic atrophic candidiasis, as it is sometimes called, is a very serious condition, and requires special attention from numerous oral health experts, possibly simultaneously. The disease is characterised by a candida infection on the actual denture, which spreads to the roof of the mouth, as this almost only occurs on upper dentures. The dentures will leave a soft, sensitive, denture shaped imprint in the roof of the mouth, and this will be infected with candida, the same fungus that causes yeast infections, oral thrush and a host of other infections in the human body. 

The main problem with denture stomatitis is that it is difficult to spot, and you may not know you have a problem until you are severely infected. Many times the infection is completely asymptomatic, but the patient will still carry the candida fungus in their mouth, meaning they can infect others, and cause thrush in loved ones, and the patient will almost always have a greatly weakened immune system, due to the fact that the immune system is always busy fighting off the candida. But many times, there are symptoms, and they can become quite painful and bad before long. If you have denture stomatitis, this is considered an emergency, and you need to see a dentist.


As they are easy to ignore, here are some of the signs that indicate you have a problem:

- If you have a raised patch underneath the denture that is the shape of the denture. 

- If you have a swelling near and around the denture that is sore.

- If you have a white patch underneath the denture. 

- If you have a red patch underneath the denture.

- If you have petechial haemorrhage underneath and around the denture (a petechial haemorrhage is a bunch of raised purplish blisters). 

Please be aware that this disease almost only occurs on the upper denture, and it is extremely rare for the lower denture to also become affected by this condition. It can occur though, especially if you have a compromised immune system from diabetes, AIDS or other systemic diseases. 


A course of antifungal medication, taken orally is the only way to get rid of candida albicans and the many other varieties of candida that infect the human body. Sadly, topical ointments like star anise extract, peppermint extract and extra strong mouthwash will kill only the fungus in the immediate surface, and even boiling your denture will not be quite enough, as the fungus will live on in the folds of your gums and underneath the gum line in the roof of your mouth.

Please also be aware that this infection usually occurs on old dentures, and getting rid of your old ones for a pair of new dentures may help improve the situation drastically, but will not lead to an end of candidiasis. Only antifungal treatment can do that.

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