Deadly MRSA bacteria could be lurking on grandma's DENTURES, say scientists
13:37 GMT, 7 April 2012
Scientists have warned false teeth could be infected with killer bugs like MRSA – and have advised wearers to microwave them.
A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found putting infected in an oven for three minutes makes them safe.
Dentures are known to get covered with thin layers of bacteria known as biofilms which can lurk until they're breathed into the lungs.
Give us a kiss, love: Scientists have warned many old people's dentures may not be as clean as they look – and in fact be infected with MRSA
An estimated 20 million people in the U.S. wear full or partial dentures often infected with MRSA, or drug-resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
The team of scientists from Brazil who carried out the research also suggested soaking them in a germicidal mouthwash solution of two per cent chlorhexidine gluconate for 10 minutes.
Either method is enough to disinfect dentures coated with the toughest MRSA biofilms for up to a week, according to the study.
The research was led by Karen Tereza Altieri, a dentist at the Araraquara Dental School at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Sao Paulo.
She said: 'To our knowledge, we are the first investigators to report the effectiveness of this method in killing MRSA.'
Leaving dentures in a glass overnight may not be enough to keep them clean, scientists say. Microwaving them for three minutes would be better, a study found
MRSA, full name Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics and often found on false teeth, scientists say
Experts in the U.S. told Msnbc they
may recommend the methods to improve the oral hygiene of their patients
following the study's results.
San Antonio dentist, who specialises in the repair and replacement of teeth, Victoria Vickers said: 'We do know there are links between the bacteria in the mouth and systemic effects throughout the body.'
Concern about biofilms on dentures is growing as researchers continue to identify links between oral bacteria and heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, and respiratory diseases, including aspiration pneumonia.
Experts believe bacteria form self-sustaining microbial communities that fix themselves tightly to surfaces and multiply.
When people get cuts or lesions in their mouths, the bacteria from the biofilms can migrate into those tiny wounds, leading to systemic illness.
About a quarter of people in the U.S. between the ages of 65 and 74 have no teeth, and many of those people wear full or partial dentures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.