A recent article cited evidence that patients can show improvement in with dentures compared to no dentures.
Prosthodont Res. 2010 Jan;54(1):42-7. Epub 2009 Oct 9.
The effect of complete dentures on body balance during standing and walking in elderly people. The study showed that “With denture wear, the locus of center of mass was significantly shortened, and the gait velocity and harmonic ratio of the vertical angle rate were significantly increased” and that”Complete dentures produced an effect on the stability of edentulous patients under both static and dynamic conditions”
This brings into focus the effects of the masticatory system on the entire body. Recently the Makkar PPM Pure Power Mouthguards have been in the news due to the success of the New Orleans Saints who use thes appliances to increase balance , strength and flexibility. This same Neuromuscular Dental techniques used for the PPM Mouthguard can be utilized to increase balance in denture wearers. This principle can be applied for treating TMJ disorders and Headaches (http://www.ihateheadaches.org)
The Lancet has previously reported that patients who removed their dentures for sleep had greatly increased sleep apnea compared to patients who wore their dentures during sleep. The importance of the masticatory system and the trigeminal nerve is underestimated by most physicians and rehabilitation specialists who rarely understand either neuromuscular dentistry or the intricacies of the masticatory system.
Untreated sleep apnea effects cardiac function,vascular fuction, the endocrine systems, memory, blood pressur and the auditory system. TMJ disorders were originally called “Costen’s Syndrome”. Dr Costen was an Otolaryngologist in St Louis who recognized the disorder in denture patients who were not wearing dentures or who had lost significant vertical dimension. TMJ symptoms include headaches, migraines, dizziness, feelings of disequilibrium, sinus pain, ear pain, ear itching, ear stuffiness and other problems. See “Suffer No More: Dealing with the Great Imposter in Sleep and Health.
Additional information on Neuromuscular Dentistry is available in Sleep and Health, at http://www.ihateheadaches.org and at http://www.delanydentalcare.com/neuromuscular.html
PubMed Abstract for your convenience is below
Okubo M, Fujinami Y, Minakuchi S.
Complete Denture Prosthodontics, Department of Oral Masticatory Function Rehabilitation, Division of Oral Health Sciences, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8549, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
PURPOSE: To investigate the influence of wearing complete dentures on postural control in standing and walking. METHODS: Thirty-four edentulous patients participated in this study. All the subjects were wearing complete dentures, and the dentures were adjusted or replaced with new dentures when necessary. Measurements were performed under two conditions: wearing dentures and not wearing dentures. Standing stability was evaluated by the locus of center of mass, and gait stability was evaluated by the gait velocity, stride and gait cycle. In addition, gait stability was also evaluated by the maximum acceleration, maximum angle rate, lateral equilibrium, root mean square and harmonic ratio with a tri-axial accelerometer at a sampling rate of 66 Hz. Differences for the locus of center of mass, gait velocity, gait cycle and stride length were assessed with the paired t test (P<0.05). Other outcomes were compared with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test (P<0.05). RESULTS: With denture wear, the locus of center of mass was significantly shortened, and the gait velocity and harmonic ratio of the vertical angle rate were significantly increased; though other parameters showed no differences. Complete dentures produced an effect on the stability of edentulous patients under both static and dynamic conditions. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that wearing complete dentures may be an effective aid to maintain and improve balance and control for elderly people.